Short Take Road Test: 2009 BMW X6 xDrive50i
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Tony Quiroga of Car and Driver
Maybe it was an Oktoberfest-fueled decision, or maybe it came after a particularly trying meeting, but the volks at BMW seem to have said to themselves, "The gents at AMC really got it right in the early '80s. Herr Bangle, make the X5 look more like a 1983 AMC Spirit, bitte, and we'll call it the X6."
At least when you're driving the X6, you don't have to look at it. And after driving the X6, it's likely that the styling will be forgotten or, at the very least, forgiven.
It's a prettier picture, mechanically. Despite its rhino-like 5241-pound weight, the X6 drives like a much smaller sports sedan. Steering effort is heavy and requires a deliberate hand, but the X6 responds quickly and without drama. Part of the credit goes to the xDrive all-wheel drive and a torque-vectoring system that can vary the power between each of the rear wheels to stabilize the X6 — or engage in lurid power slides if you turn off the stability control. Grip from the wide Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires registers 0.89 g on the skidpad, which will send passengers reaching for overhead grab handles that aren't there. That the X6 achieves these numbers with a supple ride is even more remarkable considering the stiff and heavy run-flat tires on 20-inch wheels.
Aimed in a straight line, the 400-hp, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 launches the X6 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds — a tick or two slower than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Infiniti FX50. Power is delivered smoothly and massively throughout the rev range. Turbo lag is absent, and the V-8 gives no audible hint that it's being force-fed air.
Cabin materials and interior design are lifted directly from the X6's progenitor, the X5. The clues giving away that you're in an X6 xDrive50i and not an X5 xDrive48i are the restricted rear view, the two-person accommodations in the back seat, the additional brawn from the turbo V-8, and the extra $10,450 missing from your bank account.
Thanks to the, um, unique styling, the rest of the world will have no doubt that you're not in an X5. A few might even think AMC is back from the grave.