Brutish SUV

If you find the Porsche Cayenne a little commonplace, BMW's updated X6 could be an alternative

WHAT'S NEW?

In an effort to make the X6 look appealing at mid-life, BMW Thailand is offering an M Sport version of its trendy SUV.

Bespoke M details include the steering wheel, pedals, door sills and huge 20-inch wheels shod with supercar-wide rubbers: 275/45 and 315/35 section-bit tyres at the front and rear respectively. The mid-life refresh itself also includes a bigger kidney-grille up front, adaptive LED lights, three-seat rear bench and eight-speed automatic in place of the previous six-speeder.

In the xDrive30d version, the 3.0-litre diesel-turbo remains the same (detuned from 245hp down to 219hp for Thailand where there's that dated 220hp tax barrier).

BMW claims a 13.6kpl average economy which is around 10% more frugal than in the pre-facelift X6.

The M Sport is 400,000 baht dearer than the SE variant, which is priced at 6.899 million baht.

WHAT'S COOL?

Although interior is starting to age in looks, it uses nice materials and is well made.

Since the X6 was always about a brutish-looking SUV, those mega wheels really seal the deal. Good, too, is the ride that still remains sufficiently comfy despite those extra-low tyre profiles.

While the inline-six diesel yields the usual merit of punchy performance at all kinds of real-world speeds, the new transmission seamlessly deploys the power to the tarmac.

Supporting this is the so-called Dynamic Performance Control 4x4 drive system that can additionally apportion torque between the rear wheels. You can feel the enhanced traction and handling balance when powering out of corners.

True, the X6 is not meant to be as practical as its family-orientated X5 brethren, but it still has enough cabin room and boot versatility.

WHAT'S NOT?

Because of the heavily raked rear end, vision for the driver isn't good. And this isn't helped by the lack of rear-view parking camera system.

While the 13kpl-plus economy rating is quite good for a barge of this size, it would have been nice if there was a stop/start system which is becoming a common feature in new BMWs today in Thailand.

BUY OR BYE?

Although the X6 can remain a pointless SUV among the numerous practical alternatives, it still scores highly on emotional ground due to its unique looks. Plus, the performance, handling and comfort levels are quite admirable.

And with such a macho appearance, the X6 M Sport has managed to secure its distinctive position in the luxury 4x4 market.

Costing 7 million baht, you could consider this X6 is as a fine alternative to the Porsche Cayenne, which is becoming a little too commonplace (okay, not as populous as a Toyota Fortuner) on Thai roads.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor