If you suddenly found $8800, what would you do with it? That’s the cost, it seems, to be different – the gap between the new X5M and new X6M.
Aside from the fact its C-pillars look like they’ve caved in, the X6M is practically identical to the X5M. It’s got the same 423kW and 750Nm from a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 and though the X6M weighs 10kg less (it’s still a hefty 2265kg) the 0-100km/h sprint is the same: a mildly berserk 4.2 seconds.
The driving experience is the same, too, as we discovered during an extended blast through Tasmania. Like the X5M, the X6M feels physically huge. You’re aware you’re inside a huge mass of a car.
And yet the X6M hammers in a way that’ll have you squeaking unsolicited expletives. Its eight-speed auto connects to the engine via a torque converter, though you would swear it was a DCT, such is the rapidity of the gear changes.
Unfortunately, while the thrust is manic and tirelessly addictive, the engine noise could be disappointing to an enthusiast’s ear. Like the M3 and M4, BMW artificially sweetens the noise and perhaps some will find it a little too PlayStation-like.
Tip into your first corner and you’ll notice there’s not much coming through the steering wheel. True, the ratio is spot on, and the resistance is about right, but there is a distinct silence of information coming into your hands. It’s all numb, even in the hardcore Sport Plus mode.
Which is a shame because the X6M is a truly talented corner carver. It resists body roll impressively, to the point where, in fact, it feels more like a heavyweight hot hatch – inhaling whatever road you throw at it. The grip from the 285/40 front and 325/35 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sports is immense. You’ll be trying hard to make a tyre squeal in understeer.
The X6M has a slightly lower centre of gravity than the X5M, but driving both cars closely back-to-back reveals little. Perhaps the X6M feels a poofteenth more willing to change direction.
BMW says the X6M can direct 100 per cent power to the rear axle and that turning the electronics off is “an open door to controlled drifts”, although such shenanigans in a car this heavy, with this much grip, are perhaps best saved for a track. Certainly in the ESP half-off mode (MDM) it felt like the gripped-up X6M would need serious provocation to wriggle its bum with the throttle.
Doing the urban dawdle the X6M rides well, is quiet and perfectly comfortable. The steering might be a bit numb and the soundtrack a little fake to the educated ear, but they’re downsides smothered by the X6M’s sheer straight-line speed.
By god it’s fast. And should you find yourself on a bendy road, you’ll discover just a big, heavy car with lots of grip, and grunt, and while there’s not much scope for play, its cornering ability is peculiarly well polished.
Is it worth $8800 over the X5M which does literally the exact same thing? What’s the price you put on being a bit different?
4 out of 5 stars
Engine: 4395cc V8, DOHC, 32v, twin-turbo
Power: 423kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 750Nm @ 2200-5000rpm
0-100km/h: 4.2sec (claimed)
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