By on April 7, 2008

x6a.jpgTo understand the new X6, you must go back a few years to the 2001 X Coupe Concept. This was the first time the world got a look at BMW's vision of a jacked-up sports car that "deliberately questioned existing preconceptions." Nothing whatsoever made it from the concept to the production X6– save a bit of flame surfacing and the chutzpah necessary to give well-heeled motorheads what they didn't know they needed: a jacked-up five thousand pound, four-door, four-seat, all-wheel-drive sports car.

It sure doesn't look like a sports car. Nor does the X6 ape the "Patton invades Sicily" SUV template. In fact, the X6 is from The Mars Rover School of SUV design. From certain angles, this futuristic Bimmer is downright ugly. Or worse. And whoever signed-off on those rear three-quarter windows should sign-out of the car designing biz.

x6h.jpgFrom other angles, depending on the sun's position, the X6 has genuine presence. There's no mistaking this mamma for anything else; in a cognitive dissonance, supermodel in the supermarket kinda way. Of course, a lot of the X6's curb appeal stems from its sheer scale. The X6 is enormous. The top of the spoiler is at chest level. The roof is 18 inches higher still. Jeep Liberties are dwarfed while Ford F-150s are cut down to size.  

As Mercedes calls the chop-top four-door CLS a "coupe," BMW refers to their quad-portal X5-derivative as one, too. Bimmer's "Sports Activity Coupe" (SAC for short) offers supremely comfortable rear seats for two. Despite the X6's sharply-raked roof, a brace of non-slouching six footers have more than merely adequate headroom. The roof's slope continues to the hatch, yet the X6's trunk can easily hold all four occupants' stuff. Or as the X6's press team translated it from the mother tongue, "Gear for unusual sports." In your face, Xterra.

x6l.jpgConsidering the fact that the X6's exterior is nothing short of bonkers, the parts-bin interior is a let down. From iDrive (which is getting better), to willfully counter-intuitive turn signals and windshield wipers, to the world's most annoying gear lever, all the crowd (un)favorites are accounted for. Luckily, the SUV's perfectly-executed steering wheel and the sporty seats (with adjustable side bolsters) draw attention away from the haptic haplessness.

Let us not forget the killer interior app: on either side of the transmission tunnel you'll find knee pads. Although they're as soft as you'd expect from the Germans (i.e. rock hard), the pads demonstrate BMW's faith in their two-and-a-half ton whale's on-road performance.  As do the donuts; the X6 sports the fattest rubber ever offered on a production SUV (315/20 at all four corners).

x6k.jpgWide tires on a big, heavy vehicle usually mean nothing more than axle hop and long, lurid skids. BMW attacks Newtonian physics with a beer stein full of acronyms: xDrive (all wheel-drive), ICM (integrated chassis management), DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and DPC (Dynamic Performance Control). The latter, DPC, is the one to watch. In essence, the system shifts rear-wheel torque left to right, all but eliminating understeer and oversteer.   

Houston, we don't have a problem. Wet, dry, rocks, dirt, mud, whatever. No sky-high hunk of lard should feel this confident and secure across mountain two-laners. While only auto journos (hi mom!) would take an X6 onto a wet race track, the SAC's intelligent driveline allowed me to drift through corners. Yes the X6's steering is all but D.O.A., making its massiveness hard to plant with inch-perfect accuracy. Yet the soft-roader rewards smooth and gentle inputs with genuine finesse.

x6d.jpgThe X6 offers sports-oriented SUV drivers two ways to boogie: the beloved twin-turbo I-6 from the 335i or an all-new twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8. The xDrive50i's monster motor generates 407hp and 442 ft-lb of torque (@1750 to 4500 rpm). So equipped, the X6 bellows from zero to 60mph in 5.2 seconds. The xDrive35i takes a bit longer (6.4 seconds) to make the same sprint.

If bragging rights and stop light fights are your bag, by all means choose the double-blown V8. It's one hell of a mill and I look forward to BMW dropping it into any of their sedans. However, the lag-free I-6 gets the X6 closest to the Ultimate Driving SAC. Despite being down on power, the 3.0-liter is plenty punchy. More importantly, the lighter engine shaves 264 lbs. of ballast off the X6's front end, creating a much nimbler and more balanced machine.

Did I just say that?

x6c.jpgOn the downside, the X6's six-speed slushbox constantly hunts for gears. And I feel obliged to report an observed 12.5 mpg– though I did drive the X6 as if BMW were buying the gas. However, if you've ever been wowed by how well an Infiniti FX or Porsche Cayenne handles, the xDrive35i is going to blow your mind. If you hate sporty SUVs, look away now.

[BMW paid for JL's airfare, accommodation, meals, gas and insurance] 

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132 Comments on “2009 BMW X6 Review...”


  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    What’s next? X8 SAR? (Sports Activity Roadster)

  • avatar
    foolish

    Encouraging review, but I guess I still don’t get it.

  • avatar
    NN

    Nice review…very intriguing vehicle. Only a company as awash in confidence and cash such as BMW could take such a gamble and really introduce something so, uh, different.

    Something that caught my eye…the mileage numbers vary widely. 16/27 for the 6-cyl? If one could really achieve nearly 27mpg on the highway, then that is really, really good…especially for a 5,000lb vehicle. Are these the EPA 2008 numbers? C&D just did a test of “econo” cars and the 1st placed VW Rabbit averaged a dismal 22mpg.

    I would expect 16 in the city from a vehicle as heavy and powerful as this. I would not expect 27 on the highway.

  • avatar
    John R

    The Uncanny X-Car. The only official BMW mutant of the X-men.

  • avatar

    If technology can make the X6 handle so well, how about applying it to the 3-Series wagon?

    I think next we add an SUV rear end and AWD to the 6-Series and have a 650xi Sportbak, or maybe an X8 xDrive50i…

    Mix and match, mix and match.

    This thing shares so much with the X5 I’ll probably combine the samples in TrueDelta’s research. Not that I expect to have many of these in the panel, but I could be wrong.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Sounds like a nice ride for those that can afford it.

  • avatar
    mxfive4

    Sounds like a compromise for those who like them and can afford it.

    Having said that – what is the tow rating? Just curious at what BMW’s Aztek is capable of.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    That steeply sloped rear glass must make for interesting (read: nonexistent) rearward visibility. I expect to be dodging these right and left across suburban parking lots soon. Make no mistake: this thing will sell (er, lease). Within six months all the junior execs that have been yupping around in their Cayenne S and Turbos will have traded for one of these.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I definitely don’t get it either. Why pay $60k plus for a heavy pseudo-SUV that handles well courtesy of a soup of alphanumerical security nannies, guzzles gas, and looks ugly, while losing the appeal of SUVs (Off-roadiness and room in the back)?

    Interestingly, Edmunds tested it as well (sorry Jonny!) and their review was the most negative I’ve read in a while on their site…for any vehicle, let alone a BMW.

    I can’t wait for sport to be associated with lightweight again…

    Oh, and it keeps reminding me of the unholy Subaru outback Sedan. Not a good thing….

  • avatar

    The styling at BMW is increasingly reminding me of Pontiac’s 1995-2000 era. Really, strap some cladding to the doors and you’re a grill away from the Aztek at this point.

    A few more design liberties and we’re looking at the ultimate frightening machine, I think.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Brian E: Excellent point — the rearward view out the hatch is laughable — like, Countach laughable.

    Luckily there’s a backup camera and gargantuan side mirrors.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    This review would have made sense a week ago.

    Sadly, a monstrosity such as this isn’t an April Fools Joke.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    I’ve read 4 reviews on this vehicle as of today and I still don’t get it. As if the X5 SAV wasn’t enough, now we have an X6 SAC which, for all intents and purposes, is a more sporting X5 with a chopped off rear roofline. I admit, the blown V8 is tantalizingly delicious (especially if BMW drops it into the 5 series) as is BMW’s ability to make this 2 1/2 ton monster dance on a track but my question would be: who would really buy this vehicle? Matter of fact, are people REALLY going to cross-shop the X6 against the far prettier Mercedes CLS?

    Nice review…always keep coming back to this website. But I’ll be damned if I’ll ever understand what missions this sports uti…err SAC has in life.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    i really like the look. buts that’s it.

  • avatar
    brownie

    I don’t get what’s so “different” about this – it’s a big crossover with lots of power and decent handling. Very similar to some other crossovers, but perhaps better executed. It will appeal to the same people that other such vehicles appeal to. What’s so special, and what’s so controversial?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    brownie: Not “decent” handling — reality warping handling.

    That’s the difference. Oh, and lots of folks are allergic to the way it looks.

  • avatar
    doktorno

    Aztek CLS coupe, by BMW.

  • avatar
    RoweAS

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Morticia Addams step out of it.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I like it!

  • avatar
    brownie

    Jonny: Okay, fine – “reality warping handling.” Still, so what? Maybe it’s an interesting exercise in physics, but it’s still (to me) just the next evolution of the “crossover with sporting pretensions” segment.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Pictures 2 and 5 translate into quasi Azteck. BMW design jumped the shark a while ago, but you’d think they’d course correct by now. I guess they’re just relying on those that can get past/ignore the exterior and for those that just have to have the roundel on the hood. They’ll sell a lot, but they’ll still all be ugly.

  • avatar
    Orian

    Ok, I’m the odd duck here. I like it.

    It’s definitely not even close to the Aztek in looks IMHO, and the V8 would be fun to play with.

    There’s no real practicality to it – it’s a toy – and it sounds like a fun one at that.

  • avatar
    TwoTwenty

    While I understand the comparison to the CLS on its face, at least the CLS is based on a car (and weighs 1200 pounds less than the xDrive50i), and the sacrifice of practicality for styling is much easier to swallow. But I am definitely overanalyzing this thing – it wasn’t designed to make sense.

    I’ve seen this thing in person, and while I cannot justify its existence nor would ever buy one, I can see this thing doing well. It has presence – it’s HUGE – but it just highlights how impractical it is. But people won’t be buying this thing for practicality, and probably won’t care about milage or anything relating to the environment.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    looks like a 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4

    http://www.american-motors.de/en/gallery/pr/eagle-sx4/

    at least the AMC had no pretention.

    w/b jonny!

  • avatar
    Pete_S4

    I still don’t get this vehicle. It’s absurdly heavy, very thirsty, and has little space for such a big vehicle. Like many recent German vehicles it’s all justified by a pile of electronics. Briefly I can feel the seduction of such vehicles. But it only takes a weekend at the track to remind why we like to turn off all of these electronics.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Before I pass judgement on this vehicle, tell me, besides poor gas mileage and room for only four people, what compromises to practicality are made?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    B-Rad: uh… no third row?

    What do you mean?

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    One of the reasons that German made cars became so popular in the 1970s in the USA was because they were precieved as “serious” in a manner that Detroit iron could never be considered.

    German cars were supposed to be; well built, excellent driving, no-nonsense cars with minimal styling made for folks that took the art of driving seriously.
    Flashy, silly, oximoronic cars that served no true purpose were what those other manufactures could concerntrate on because they could not make cars like the Germans.

    First of all WTF is a X6? If the X6 were a pair of shoes it would be a pair of high-heeled hiking boots with an adjustable sneaker sole. Yes, a pair of shoes that do not make any sense, being made with the sole purpose of selling to people that also lack any sense.

    I guess it is time to start collecting all of these abominations from the SUV era. We have that Suzuki two seat thing from the 90s, along with that Izusu “VeriCross” Monster, lets now add in a Sabaru Baja and a Chevy SSR.

    It look like the X6 is meant to find the middle ground between those vehicles mentioned above and that crop of “over the top” Uber-Idiot mobiles like the Cayenne Turbo and AMG G-Wagon.

    My prediction is that BMW and MB are going to look back at this era with much regret in about 10 years. Vehicles like the X6 only serve to hurt a brand that refers to its cars as “the ultimate driving machines”.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Well, whenever I thought about this vehicle before I read this review I always thought that there would be no rear headroom and very little cargo space. I figured it would be an impractical vehicle to own and would just be a fashion statement/ego booster. But it seems like, except for the fact that you can only take your three best friends with you, this isn’t an all too impractical car (sorry, SAC).

    Either way, I don’t like it and wish BMW would kill it now and I suppose I want to be able to justify that.

  • avatar
    beetlebug

    I’ve only got a few words about this vehicle: Horrible, stupid, ugly, fat, horrible. OK..that about sums it up for me.

  • avatar
    TwoTwenty

    B-Rad: I’ve sat in this thing, and I fit in the back (I’m 6’3″), but it was not nearly as spacious as an X5 (thanks to the sloping roof). It’s not that the X6 isn’t practical at all, it’s the fact that you get most of the drawbacks of an SUV (weight and mileage) without one of the few advantages of an SUV (space). The shape of the tailgate itself impedes on cargo room, and for a vehicle that’s longer than the X5, it’s down 15 cubic feet of cargo room.

    But then again, people won’t be buying this thing for practicality. If this were a consideration, they would be in a 535xi sedan or – wait for it – a 535xi wagon. It’s all image. I think we all need to step back and just realize this thing makes no sense, and was probably never designed to make any sense.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    X-cruciating.

    A Bangle-butted, flame-surfaced Aztek.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    I heard in the old days, some creative folks would make their Pony cars etc with tall rear wheel that needs a ladder to climb up.
    Is kind of Deja Vu again.

    Wonder how these machine corners? Will it still pulls 1.0Gs on cornering or Thank God the gaurd rail prevented her from going into the infield.

    None the less with 0-60 in 5.2 is no slouch, makes real good sop light Grand prix. As long as no turning involved. IE race with a Hemi Cuda, rendered a 440 6 pack Road Runner into a Road Chicken.

    Next thing they need is a Vacuum fan installed under the car, just like the old days Chapparall
    ( i forgot who did it, some Can Am car, it was out lawed soon enuf) The suction aids cornering ability so until Kingdom come nothing is going to tip this baby.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review and it’s good to see BMW has gotten over its vagina phobia and is once more providing press vehicles for TTAC.

    As for the X6 – I also don’t get it. Doing something well that shouldn’t be done in the first place is a hollow achievement. A 5,000 lb sports car strikes me as a triumph of engineering over common sense.

  • avatar
    cRaCk_hEaD_aLLey

    kitschig

    Adj. 1. tacky – tastelessly showy; “a flash car”; “a flashy ring”; “garish colors”; “a gaudy costume”; “loud sport shirts”; “a meretricious yet stylish book”; “tawdry ornaments”

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Jonny: “Jeep Liberties are dwarfed”

    X6 height: 66.5″; Liberty height: 72″

    You must have been feeling tall in the saddle, eh?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Paul Niedermeyer: Width-dwarfed, you nitpicker.

    I really can’t stress the size of the X6 enough.

    Massive.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Anyone who buys one of these better be in it for the long haul or be leasing. Depreciation will be huge. As in MB R-class huge.

    If you want to combine functionality and performance make a beautiful wagon. As in better than an RS6 wagon in looks for less monely.

    Audi wagons are probably the best looking ones on the market. The only thing I like as much is the new JDM Mazda 6 wagon. Put the TT V-8 in a 3,700lb awd wagonish form and you have a great combination of performance and utlity.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Ok, so maybe I’m over-analyzing a bit much. The loss of practicality, as someone said earlier, would be easier to swallow if it were a CLS I was looking at. That being said, I’d rather take the new FX over this monstrosity. And yes, the tail-end does remind me of the late (Rest In Hell) Aztek. Non too attractive that butt is.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    The I6 in the BMW 335i is a BI-turbo, not a TWIN-turbo.

    In a BI-turbo setup, each turbo is responsible for pressurizing HALF of the cylinders. In a TWIN-turbo setup, the turbos are sequential, and pressurize ALL of the cylinders.

    The Truth About Turbos.

  • avatar

    @carguy: As for the X6 – I also don’t get it. Doing something well that shouldn’t be done in the first place is a hollow achievement. A 5,000 lb sports car strikes me as a triumph of engineering over common sense.

    Well said. The twin turbo V8 in *cringe* an M version of the X5 seems like less nonsense than this. Room for 4 and what amounts to “just a trunk” sounds an awful, awful lot like a sedan to me. When I first heard about this car, I was under the impression it was going to be a sexed-up 5 series wagon. Thanks for assuring us that pictures just don’t do it justice, as I can’t see where the extra 1200 pounds over the 550i went, other than AWD and turbo hardware.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    The rear three-quarter windows are the Hoffmeister Kink, which every BMW has had for the past 50 years or so.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Yuppie: The I6 in the BMW 335i is a BI-turbo, not a TWIN-turbo.

    In a BI-turbo setup, each turbo is responsible for pressurizing HALF of the cylinders. In a TWIN-turbo setup, the turbos are sequential, and pressurize ALL of the cylinders.

    The Truth About Turbos.

    Bi-Turbo and Twin-turbo are the same thing. There is nothing that indicates a “twin-turbo” is sequential, unless it is stated so by the manufacturer.

    “Twin-turbos” have been around for decades, but only recently have sequential set-ups become practical, and to my knowledge, so far only (or mostly) on diesel engines.

    The Truth about Turbos

    So far, from memory, but now confirmed by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin-turbo

  • avatar
    racebeer

    Definition of the X6 from Webster’s ….

    Answer to question no one was asking.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    So, what is this car?

    The ultimate “I enjoy driving and I have a chalet in the mountains” statement? Or is it just another tiresome expression of useless excess?

    I spent a few days in the mountains the other week, in Switzerland. Nobody drives a SUV down there; it’s just Subarus, old Volvos and 4×4 Toyota sedans. The fatso vehicles are driven by city folk and by Russian or German tourists. Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Corporate toads with executive ambitions will buy them like hotcakes. They will use them for 5-mile commute home. The only time they will taste gravel is in parking lots of trendy yuppie restaurants.

    BMW is going for the kill with the X6, tired of being outdone by the Lexus RX (which serves the exact same market). Since the X6 is going to be $20K more expensive, it will automatically be more desirable.

    BMW will make a lot of money on these.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    If they put a BMW logo on a six ton dump truck and called it a SDT it would sell.

    This monstrosity is a vivid illustration of Mencken’s dictum that no-one ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the American people.

    I am hoping that the peak oilers are correct and that oil goes to $200/bbl soon. It is the only possible justice for a country that is willing to buy these things.

  • avatar
    crc

    Since it is a SAC, I assume Truck Nutz are a standard feature.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    If BMW would just remove about a horizontal 3 inches from the midsection, this would be a great looking car. But this just looks like a 3 Series with down syndrome.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    I like it. I can’t afford it, but I like it.

    I’ll also admit that I like the Bangle-designed BMWs. I also have no problem with i-Drive. I don’t think it’s that bad. I have driven several BMWs at the Ultimate Drive and have had no problem adapting to it quickly.

  • avatar

    Something about the X6 makes it a modern day Lamborghini LM002. I agree with JL on everything, including how great the next M5 will be once it gets the X6’s goods.

  • avatar

    My prediction is that BMW and MB are going to look back at this era with much regret in about 10 years. Vehicles like the X6 only serve to hurt a brand that refers to its cars as “the ultimate driving machines”.

    You’re absolutely right. The day of reckoning is coming, though very few people see it today.

    It’s difficult to walk the line between cutting edge and mainstream well enough. As BMW increased sales, it became more and more mainstream.

    Everytime my (automotively uneducated) boss comes to see me telling me he’s contemplating an X5 to haul his family, it makes me want to buy a BMW a little bit less.

  • avatar
    billydean

    [BMW paid for JL’s airfare, accommodation, meals, gas and insurance]

    …after all of the discussion about TTAC remaining impartial, and going out of your way to remain so by testing cars off of dealer lots, etc, the above comes as a bit of a surprise. But, here is one of your columnists, writing a glowing review about a very strange BMW after a fun-filled weekend of presumably nice accomodations, good food, and probably a round of golf or two. (Four stars, huh? I’m not saying it’s a bad car, but it seems to be an answer to a question that nobody has asked.)

    None of this would have bothered me, if TTAC had not taken such a strong stand against such a thing in previous podcasts, and particulary if TTAC had not taken a shot at Jean Jennings (who in my book remains one of the best automotive journalists extant).

    I’m still a loyal reader, but let’s keep the focus where you intended it to be – being an impartial source of news, editorial content, and therefore something we (your readers) can trust. If you start eating out of the carmakers’ hands now, then how long will it be before you write your own “pimpatorial”?

  • avatar

    Not sure who needs a 5-thousand pound sedan that can go off road. Sounds like a Jeep Eagle, based on the late ’60s AMC Hornet. In fact, it kinda looks like one too! Rip out all that electronic crap that keeps the beast on the road, and you are there. But I bet you could get better mileage with the Hornet/Eagle…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    billydean: The food was actually fantastic.

    As was the free booze.

    Additionally, I don’t golf.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Jonny

    Didn’t TTAC hava an anti-press-junket policy?

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    If your car(?) has four doors, it ain’t a freaking coupe. Period.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Something about the X6 makes it a modern day Lamborghini LM002. I agree with JL on everything, including how great the next M5 will be once it gets the X6’s goods.

    How unfair to an LM002! An LM002 actually was a “REAL” 4WD off-road vehicle that was designed and built at a time before anyone ever heard the term “SUV”. The LM002 actually made sense for Lamborghini (the Tractor Company) to make, it did manage to combine or merge together the sportscar and tractor.

    The X6 is at best a bad joke! It makes BMW look like a cheap whore willing to entertain any silly whim of the marketplace. This is not the approach to busineess that I would expect from a company that claims to pride itself on making cars for “serious” drivers. Just because the X6 is packed full of high-end technical driving aides and a powerful engine does not make it any better for BMW than the Compass is for Jeep.

    What this products does for BMW is to pull the brand closer to Lexus and Infiniti. BMW is only helping to close any gap between the up-start Japanese brands that make anything and everything and the German brands that were supposed to concentrate on making vehicles that maintain a edge with their on-road performance and handling.

    No one drives an X5 harder than the next dude with a FX. Any performance advantage is all but academic. With that said any extra “tech” included in the BMW vehicle is a waste of time and effort and the extra cost is just a waste of money. These vehicles are all about styling and if Lexus or Infiniti comes to market with a less expensive low-roofline RX/FX it will dig right into the sales of this thing quite easily.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Mirko: No, the manufacturers had/have an anti TTAC policy when it comes to junkets.

    At least, that’s what I thought.

  • avatar
    JJ

    The food was actually fantastic.

    As was the free booze.

    Sweet…

    Anyway, as much as I dislike this car in some ways, I could still buy one (if I had the funds).

    For the ones who ask who it is intended for; it’s just an option for most people who would buy an (high-end) X5 but like the design of this one better. Practicality will rarely be an issue, because who really drives an X5 with more than 4 people in it anyway on a regular basis? The cargo space is more than enough for most people too, so it’s a design option for an X5 buyer. And maybe it will attract some Cayenne buyers as well.

    And if you compare it to the rediculous Sclades (real life competition for buyers) it gets a pretty decent mileage if you opt for the Xdrive35i. In Europe it’s even attainable with both a single and TT 3.0 I6 diesel (231/286HP respectively + more torque than China), so it’s all good homies, put some 28″ chrome rims on it to make it ride crashy and uncomfortable and your good to go.

  • avatar
    billydean

    So, when it seemed that “the manufacturers had/have an anti TTAC policy when it comes to junkets”, it was inconcievable for TTAC to partake in the interests of fair and ethical reporting. But now that TTAC is recognized as part of the automotive media well enough to be invited along, that excuse (and all the moral posturing that went with it) no longer applies. Why should your readers continue to consider TTAC a source of credible information?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    billydean: I think you’re reading into something that isn’t there.

    In fact, I’ve been on several junkets for TTAC in the past.

  • avatar
    burgermind

    billydean: My understanding is that TTAC is not anti junkets, they are for disclosing them in the review, as they did.

  • avatar

    BMW’s Holden Ute/Pontiac G8 ST – either really good or really bad depending on your point of view.

  • avatar

    @billydean: While they tend to beat that horse (nope, not dead yet!), it is in the context of a glowing review without disclosure that the author received compensation from the manufacturer. They have done several reviews on manufacturers’ dimes.

    However, 4 stars? While the handling is mind-bending, the review’s tone sounded like 3.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Keep in mind Jonny also like quirky. Remember he gave props to the Mustang GT vert in grabber orange even if the brake pedal went to the floor.

    Reviews are still one man or women’s opinion and we each like different things.

  • avatar

    I understand and enjoy the quirks of the writers; I just saw got a 3 star feeling from the review, and when I saw 4 I was a bit surprised. I guess the emphasis on how good the driving experience was got disproportionally downsized in the 800 word condensation process :)

  • avatar

    billydean :

    So, when it seemed that “the manufacturers had/have an anti TTAC policy when it comes to junkets”, it was inconcievable for TTAC to partake in the interests of fair and ethical reporting. But now that TTAC is recognized as part of the automotive media well enough to be invited along, that excuse (and all the moral posturing that went with it) no longer applies. Why should your readers continue to consider TTAC a source of credible information?

    To keep this comments section focused on the X6, I have responded to your post in the podcast thread.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I think making 5k plus pounds dance like a sports car is awesome. Its like a Thick legged, big chested and butt girl playing sports with composure. Its awesome. I’d like a ride. Although I’ll likely feel a little intimidated when the going gets kinky, I’m mean twisty.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Joshvar: As my co-driver Wes Siler said over on Jalopnik, the X6 handles better than a Jaguar XKR.

    We/He might be crazy, but he ain’t lying.

    Hence, 4 stars.

  • avatar
    BTEFan

    Saw this thing at the Vancouver Auto Show this weekend. Its sort of the answer to the question nobody asked. My 6’5″ friend I saw the show with couldn’t fit in the back comfortably.

    Its not pretty for sure. And, yes, it sort of gave me an Aztek flashback. And that isn’t a good flashback.

    mg

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Wow… I was expecting lots more comments about the horrible MPG, the lack of headroom, the high MSRP, etc… except this review ignores the topics that were used to bash “moribund” large SUVs and jumps on board the BMW bandwagon because it’s a BMW. The every day pragmatism of this X6 is rivaled by 4×2 GMT900 SUVs; neither are pragmatic for every day use schlepping groceries.

    If I told you that I paid $60K for a vehicle with a V8; gets 15mpg; can’t do serious off roading; barely seats 4 comfortably; and was difficult to see out of, you’d probably think I was talking about some lame SUV. But since it’s a BMW it gets 4 stars because in spite of all these shortcomings it makes up for it in extreme high-priced driving dynamics. You’ve demonstrated that a vehicle that executes its design intent very well can actually get good marks here… in spite of overt surface problems.

    Really, I don’t even own a large SUV because I don’t have the need for one. In fact, I dislike having to deal with them on the roads. But to just pan them unequivocally as flawed vehicles is taking things too far. And thus, I fail to appreciate the double-standard where this BMW car/thing (in spite of existing alone in its own market segment) gets a glowing review because its exorbitant price makes it so absurd that it has to be special.

    For the money here, you could get a Lancer Evo, a Jeep Wrangler, and a Mazda Miata… and you’d have all on and off road bases covered… and each to a better degree.

    And how is this X6 actually a step up from an X5? The X6 commands a premium, but what are you getting for the leap?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    holydonut:

    A few points.

    1) $60K is for the twin-turbo I6 — which gets slightly better mileage than you mentioned. The base price is $52,000 for the Drive35i — I guessed at the actual price of the white car in the pictures. It was a Euro-spec press vehicle, etc.

    2) Either X6 seats four very, very comfortably. Just not 5, as there is no 5th seat.

    3) Forward viability is excellent. The A-pillars are actually quite thin. Rearwards, not so much. But, the side mirrors are double-wide.

    4) It can’t climb rocks, but it sure as hell can go through mud. Please check out the picture of us doing donuts.

    5) It doesn’t get high marks because it’s a BMW. If anything, I held back stars because I can’t stand BMW ergonomics. In fact, iDrive is the best thing about the controls.

    It gets good marks because it drives exceptionally well. On freeways, two-lane mountain roads and even race tracks. Especially racetracks.

    6) It’s a step up from the X5 because of the trick rear axle (aka DPC) and the brutal engines.

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    We have an expression for this in my line of work: “Technology for technology’s sake.”

    Did the marketplace actually ask for something like this? There’s no way. I’m dying to know how the pitch to engineer this thing went down.

  • avatar
    gsp

    1. If people have not experienced driving the combination of BMW dynamics with a large vehicle they have no right to pan this article. BMW simply do a great job of leading the way.

    2. Good to see iDrive get some good reviews. My 2008 X5 iDrive is excellent (aside from navigation – all OEM software seems to suck.

    The big question is why does it weigh so much. Does anybody know??? I have an X5 and I could list many items that are used to save weight, but why does it weigh so much compared to similar sized vehicles? Is is BMW over engineering? Aluminum suspension, no spare tire, magnesium dash frame, small displacement engines for the power output…

    Why do the X5 and X6 weigh so much???

  • avatar
    p00ch

    What’s their next move: an Outback Z4? Or maybe an El Camino-theme on the 3 series?

    Kudos for being brave enough to launch this but why-oh-why couldn’t they use their powers for good?

  • avatar

    “A few points.

    1) $60K is for the twin-turbo I6 — which gets slightly better mileage than you mentioned. The base price is $52,000 for the Drive35i — I guessed at the actual price of the white car in the pictures. It was a Euro-spec press vehicle, etc.

    Is $52k that much different than $60k? It is still expensive

    2) Either X6 seats four very, very comfortably. Just not 5, as there is no 5th seat.
    A SUV type thingy that only seats four?

    3) Forward viability is excellent. The A-pillars are actually quite thin. Rearwards, not so much. But, the side mirrors are double-wide.

    I think that you can apply this comment to U-Haul trucks too

    4) It can’t climb rocks, but it sure as hell can go through mud. Please check out the picture of us doing donuts.
    I will look for a muddy desert and then truly appreciate this vehicle, being aware that the first pebble in its path should be avoided, as it does not pretend to be an SUV, and $52k buys a mudmobile with a beemer badge. Pity I live in the High Sierra, which is all snow, rocks and desert

    5) It doesn’t get high marks because it’s a BMW. If anything, I held back stars because I can’t stand BMW ergonomics. In fact, iDrive is the best thing about the controls.
    Ah, someone that likes iDrive!

    It gets good marks because it drives exceptionally well. On freeways, two-lane mountain roads and even race tracks. Especially racetracks.
    Pretty useful, the race track capability I mean, I tend only to drive on racetracks, avoiding freeways, urban streets and other black top. What really wows me is that I can now drive on muddy racetracks. This car-SUV-tonka toy thingy is now looking like a terrific bargain

    6) It’s a step up from the X5 because of the trick rear axle (aka DPC) and the brutal engines.
    The DPC which has an effect that most will not notice (read Edmunds take on this)

    My summary on this car, is

    Looks like “Son of Aztek”
    Is not useful to the few who do not drive on muddy race tracks
    Is damned heavy and thirsty, give me the Aztek and I can look like a moron…on the cheap.

    However, I can see that this thingy will appeal to the Real Estate Agent set (all cache and presence), and might even be the next Escalade toy for the sports star. However I doubt that any of the aforementioned will actualy press any of the buttons besides those on the sound system.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Oooh… Sarcasm.

  • avatar
    boosterseat

    Does this review strike anyone else as conflicting mightily with the Expedition King Ranch review of a few days ago?
    According to this review, the X6 is a $52k+ 5,000lbs+ vehicle that seats 4, handles well, looks goofy, has a weak interior, great motor and lousy trans. It also got a pass on its 12mpg and received 4 stars.
    The Expedition review was far more positive – its a $48k+(less $5k rebate) 5,000lbs+ vehicle that seats 7, has a great interior, looks OK, handles OK, has a good engine but also gets 12 mpg and was nailed for it. It received 3 stars.
    What gives? -either mpg matters on 5,000lbs vehicles or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways, esp on back-to-back reviews.

    Exert some consistency please, because it seems the Expedition review was largely decided before the car was driven, and the BMW seems to have received a huge mpg free ride, in this context. I wonder how this 12mpg 4-seater would fare if reviewed by the same person who nailed the Exp??

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    People seem to keep missing a major point.

    Handles FANTASTICALLY.

    Also, I would’ve dinged the X6 if it sat 7.

  • avatar
    Adonis

    Make sure you put that caveat at the end of every review where you get a press car. I don’t want “The Truth About Cars” to turn into “The Truth About Car and Driver” or some other such nonsense… Not that I think TTAC would turn into another advertisement for new cars with pretty pictures, but it could happen.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Jonny these guys are killin’ you my man! (theswedishtiger gave me some chuckles though.)

    But I hope this beast handles as well as you say it does… otherwise I hear they’re thinkin’ about giving you the chair if you’ve in any way exaggerated its handling dynamics.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Uh oh Jonny, you just pissed off the anti-SUV global warmers that thought TTAC was a bona fide, banner waving, card carrying member of their religion. While they’re just beating on you at the moment, suggesting that a SUV could possibly be desirable (GASP), now that could get you crucified. You are aware that the consensus among the liberals on TTAC is that SUV’s are EVIL, aren’t you? Was your editorial peer reviewed? How secure is your auto reviewresearch funding? It’s amazing how funding can dry up if you don’t join the “consensus”…

    Better be careful just how much truth you let slip out Jonny.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Well, about the 4 stars, on Jalopnik Jonny gave it 3 stars, so let’s say it’s 3.5 then.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    So Jonny, you say it is commendable when a two-ton car handles well, even when it has little room and is not pretty.

    A lot in life is about drawing a line in the sand and saying: anything beyond this line is not for me.

    For my transportation needs (4 seasons, fun, high-speed mixed-urban / transcontinental transport), I draw the line at 1500KG. Obviously, that’s subjective and personal.

    But where do you draw the line? Would you find a three-ton car great if it just handled well? How about a four-ton behemoth? If BMW bought Hummer and applied all its electronic and suspension trickery to the H1, would you say: this elephant is great, because it can dance?

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Martin
    Well said… but what do you drive?

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Yo JL –

    I didn’t mean to say your review was a problem; I believe it’s executed well. The car was tested as it was meant to be used and you derived positives that outweighed the very obvious flaws in the vehicle when you analyze it on paper. I don’t necessarily agree with you, but at least you gave the car an evaluation based on its intentions.

    However, my gripe is with the inconsistency at which such an approach is applied to vehicles. Some other reviews sound as if they were written by an individual who had to suffer reviewing horrible pedestrian automobiles that never inspire anyone. So crappy boring cars get poked at because they’re defenseless. But for most of us, such cars exist because we need to buy them. That is in contrast with this BMW review where the only individuals who get to drive them have extremely high incomes and can’t find enough to blow their money on.

    For example, read the review of the Acadia. In spite of the vehicle being one of the longest and cavernous 7 passenger CUVs, it took hits because it couldn’t seat 6 or 7 comfortably. The reviewer recommends the far shorter Rav4 for those who only need to haul 5 – and cites that you could do better to haul 7. Except the review doesn’t doesn’t offer examples of better 7 passenger vehicles.

    But, it does turn out the large body on frame SUVs out there seat 7 way more comfortably than any car-based minivan or CUV. But then those vehicles are panned for being fuel hogs. Did I miss the memo on how to logically approach the star rating on large vehicles? The Hybrid Tahoe attempts to cover all the bases, and still gets dinged because it costs too much. Wow.

    Maybe the underlying message is towards large families to tell them they need to use birth control. Maybe the point is if you aren’t interested in sporty cars, then avoid reading the reviews. Who knows. But one thing is for sure, they’re not consistent in the message.

    It seems you experienced the vehicle properly because BMW gave you a chance to thrash the vehicle. Except no dealer will let you pile teenagers and rugrats into a vehicle on a test drive while you go try to hook up to a boat. Maybe we need the Griswolds to offer some input.

  • avatar

    I have a strong feeling that someday a derivative of what we call a crossover will be the default vehicle that people buy for transportation if that isn’t the case already. I think that it makes sense for any car company that wants to be relevant in 10-20 years to build the best crossover they can and develop a positive reputation for it early on. When these X6s start flying off the showroom floor, that will be a good time to check out the inventory of aging 5 series’ on the dealer lot.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    holydonut:

    The other day I was sort of thinking about what you were saying, but I never got quite as deep as you did (my thoughts had no relation to this review, though).

    One thing I thought of was that when a reviewer goes to evaluate a vehicle the first thing he needs to do is establish the purpose of that vehicle is, and competitors there are and how it stacks up compared to that competition, and what is the target audience (i.e. corporate executives, 20-somethings).

    Thus, all ratings are relative to that one vehicle and its few competitors. So an X6’s rating can’t really be compared to an XTerra’s because they are evaluated differently. I guess that’s why reviews are sometimes seemingly inconsistent.

  • avatar
    Matthew Potena

    This car sums up all that is wrong with BMW.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Martin:

    There is plenty of room. Lots and lots in fact. It’s just that BMW purposely made the back seat for two. Lots of room for those two, but only for those two.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I read about a guy once who installed a massive high-tech-suspended side car on a Harley.

    Just because you can make a motorcycle with the same load-carrying capacity as a one-ton truck doesn’t mean you should.

    There must be someone out there who thinks a Wrangler Rubicon can be made to turn 1 G on the skidpad.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    It is a given that if anyone really wanted to put the time and effort into it they could actually make a couch bus handle like a go-cart. It might require some serious computer power, a very advanced suspension, some very expensive specialized tires, and a budget in the range of a few million dollars but where there is a will there is a way. They could also stuff a 2000hp engine into the tail of the bus, add a 6×6 drivetrain and end up with a 20,000lb vehicle, that gets 1/4 mpg, can do 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds, top out at 120mph and is also capable of holding on up to 0.80gs in a turn.
    Why dont we also add a adjustable air suspension to raise the ride height about a foot and some gyroscopically controlled struts to allow our couch bus to truly travel off-road.

    Now that we have our super advanced drivetrain and chassis lets now design a a cab/cabin that serverly limits our passanger and cargo capacity for the sake of “styling”. Let now paint our faux all-terrian bus in a beautiful expensive color and trim the exterior in a fashion where we are now loath to even run our bus up against some bushes for fear of getting a “scratch”.

    This hypothetical bus like the X6 could best be described as Oximoronic.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Some other reviews sound as if they were written by an individual who had to suffer reviewing horrible pedestrian automobiles that never inspire anyone. So crappy boring cars get poked at because they’re defenseless.

    No, it’s because most of the stuff written here is written from the perspective of enthusiasts.

    Enthusiasts are not prone to enjoying the experience of piloting big mushy boxes, any more than chefs are inclined to rave about Big Macs and Taco Bell. Enthusiasts tend to like cars that handle well. Acceleration is nice, too, but handling is often a top priority among car buffs, especially the younger ones who grew up lusting after German cars that are designed to handle well at high speeds.

    So SUV’s aren’t going to get a lot of love from enthusiast magazines. If you want to see an emphasis on the practicalities, consumer magazines do a respectable job of sorting those out.

    That, and individual writers have individual opinions. I don’t necessarily expect a writer to hold identical opinions to every other single writer on the staff. It’s just one guy’s opinion, and my world doesn’t fall apart when some auto journalist doesn’t share mine.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I can’t resist adding my voice to the chorus of critics. This bloody thing is HIDEOUS, especially from the back. At least the Aztec carried a lot and was cheap to buy.

    There are few vehicles I can think of as pointless as this one. The previously mentioned Suzuki X-90 and the Chevy SST spring to mind. I think what they need to do is flatting the back out, make it into a little cargo bed, and make it like a high end Avalanche.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    NickR:

    This thing reminded me of the SSR. And GM managed to sell a few. Considering that this is an import, and a BMW at that, I KNOW this will sell, too, but it is a shame, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Will it fit a coffin in the back seat?

    I just wondering why did BMW made this car,
    for who and for what? Not for me I won’t drive this SUV or CUV or what ever you call it.

    I mean even rich kids will not buy this car.
    Why? looks boring,another soccer mom’s car,they don’t shop for groceries,they like fast and smaller cars that are easy to drive.

  • avatar
    p00ch

    I’m just surprised they didn’t give it the same dimensions as the X3. The profit margin would be smaller but I think they would sell more… No wait, bad idea.

    In Johnny’s defence, access to press vehicles isn’t easily won and therefore, some diplomacy/political correctness may be needed for such reviews (IMHO). In any case, my BS detector was not overly active when reading this review.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    p00ch:

    For the record, Robert allows us to write whatever we want about the cars we review. He has never, ever told us (me at least) to alter our tone to meet or match some editorial bias. And trust me, that’s beyond rare in this business. Much rarer in fact than you think.

    Moreover, as much fun as junkets are (about 51% fun, 49% boredom and indigestion), I was not being PC for the sake of securing future BMWs nor as repayment for their ludicrous hospitality.

    I wrote what I wrote because I honestly felt that way. Still feel that way, as a matter of fact.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    NickR,

    Ditto 100%. This vehicle is just nasty. I love German cars, the previous gen 5 Series was perfection, but I think BMW has been lost for several years. Still flawless handling, but disjointed, buggy engineering and clumsy styling. Rarely do I ever say that a car looks “stupid.” But the only intelligent looking cars in the BMW showrooms these days are the 3 Series and the X5. The rest are visual trash.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Jonny Lieberman:
    He has never, ever told us (me at least) to alter our tone to meet or match some editorial bias. And trust me, that’s beyond rare in this business. Much rarer in fact than you think.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought TTAC *does* have an “editorial bias” which is to be truthful and objective. If that’s actually not the case, then I’ve been foolishly misled.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Johnson:

    Red herring alert.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    http://www.miata.net/skidmarks/images/ericoffroad.jpg

    just sayin’

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Re: Pch101 :
    So SUV’s aren’t going to get a lot of love from enthusiast magazines. …

    I actually view this site as a harbor of automobile fans. That is – they respect and admire all things automotive.

    A Hyundai Azera is as interesting as a Toyota Supra because they’re both part of the auto biz. And those who made this website go through great lengths to discuss all facets.

    But if I am mistaken, then things become illogical. It seems like they’d be better served just ignoring the large cars because there’s no point in reviewing them. They don’t want to review them. They seem to loathe having to interact with the large cars. So based on your food critic example, why would such an individual (one who feels he is above dining at Taco Bell or Wendy’s) actually bother writing a review of fast food?

    Anyway, my point isn’t that I agree or disagree (trust me, I read this site because I tend to disagree; and that’s way more fun). The point is I don’t understand what is going on. A review based on preconceived notions seems against the theme of the website. I believe the initial motivation for the site, the editorials, and these vehicle reviews is grounded with the notion that it is valuable to form an objective understanding.

    But off topic now – I wonder if it would benefit some of the writers here to actually try to get a job (I mean a real one) in the auto industry. I don’t mean one where they write critiques and commentary after digging up news stories. I mean a job at a tier 1, some tool and die shop, as an engineer in a powertrain division, etc. It’d really help get the point across that their observations of the industry get evaluated with a first-hand understanding of nuts and bolts that make things work. I guess my concern is that if an evaluation is contrived soley on the inferences of what news is available on a newswire; then the personal intuition may not be effective in filling in the blanks. Just like a review written about a vehicle that the author really doesn’t want to drive.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    A review based on preconceived notions seems against the theme of the website.

    Some people might call those by another name: standards. Having benchmarks is appropriate, just so long as the benchmarks are fairly applied.

    I guess that you could review a vehicle by two standards, namely by its in-class performance and as compared to the overall market. Personally, I think both are valid. The former makes sense for obvious reasons, but if you rely on it too much, it allows the automakers to justify subpar products by dumbing down the class. As the review suggests, it actually is possible to make an SUV that handles well, so it’s fair to ask why others don’t.

    You could compare it to a plate of liver. If you come across a well-prepared plate of liver, it’s fair to say that it’s pretty good for what it is, but that liver still sucks. (I might be in the minority here, but I can’t stand liver.) If there was a universal standard or two for beef among beef enthusiasts, I believe that many would say that filet mignon is usually preferable to liver, and that a mediocre filet on the menu is preferable to the best liver in the restaurant. I only hope that we can all agree that steak sauce is an abomination, and leave it at that.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “I believe that many would say that filet mignon is usually preferable to liver, and that a mediocre filet on the menu is preferable to the best liver in the restaurant.”

    You’ve obviously never visited Great Britain?

  • avatar
    gsp

    People love to bash BMW. This is because they are the standard in many ways. Nit pick all you want, but it is true. Hate Bangle styling? BMW sells more cars as a result and other manufacturers start to emulate it. Hate iDrive? BMW sells more cars as a result and other manufacturers start to emulate it.

    BMW are more often right than wrong. This is the BMW stab at a new market. I think that they will make it a new market.

    Our preconceptions about cars do not always make sense. A three box car, from a practical sense, makes no sense at all. The future of cars is a combination of the two box style.

    Like it or lump it, but this is the future guys. (But maybe not soooo big!)

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Pch101 : So SUV’s aren’t going to get a lot of love from enthusiast magazines.

    I think of the magazines as being caught between a rock and a hard place. They have to cater to their advertisers and they have to cater to their readers. Whatever the case I see the whole establishment as as a herd of “sheeple” following each other around.

    The benefit of the web forums like this one is that there is two way communication and for the most part everyone gets heard. Here too there is sometimes a herd mentality but the situation is inherently much better than with magazines.

    I like the BMW SUV very much. I would rather have the body style on a car chassis with AWD instead. Not Volvo or Subbie style jacked up wagons but just a normal car with AWD. We don’t have deep snow here in TN so I realize this limits it’s usefulness with some customers.

    I like their attention to detail but like with any car based SUV it is going to suffer from compromises – traction vs road manners vs clearance, weight vs performance, etc. BMW like some of the other car manufacturers do a very good job getting the most out of every category.

    I definitely like this much more than the body on frame domestic style SUVs.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Busbodger: I think of the magazines as being caught between a rock and a hard place. They have to cater to their advertisers and they have to cater to their readers.

    That’s a good point. And why Top Gear is such a great show on the BBC but probably won’t work too well on NBC.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    By the time the “adjust” Top Gear for American consumption it won’t be TopGear anymore. I like it in it’s full British version with it’s sharp edges and all.

    That has often been my complaint about imported cars (mostly by Ford and GM). Once they “adjust” them for the US market they often lack what made them great in the home market. Now they are too heavy, content removed (Euro-market lighting for example), too slow with the extra US builk added, etc.

    BMW is one of those car companies that generally still have a good product even after conforming to the DOT regs. There is style and performance left. There are exceptions I’m sure.

    Would be happier if all cars and all TV was available in the USA at no extra cost. Let the market forces determine which one languish and which ones prosper. I’m sure folks would quickly point out the cars unsafe for mere mortals to drive and our TV parental controls would improve.

    I’ll take a big dose of Brit or Aussie TV (famiyl friendly of course) with both a new and old Fiat 500 in the garage – and they’ll fit too.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “People love to bash BMW. This is because they are the standard in many ways. Nit pick all you want, but it is true. Hate Bangle styling? BMW sells more cars as a result and other manufacturers start to emulate it. Hate iDrive? BMW sells more cars as a result and other manufacturers start to emulate it.”

    The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme used to be the standard in the 70s and early 80s. GM sold a bunch in the 70s and 80s and everyone emulated them. BMWs are today’s Cutlasses. Mostly tacky styling, overwrought and disjointed details, undeveloped technology, and almost universally disliked by those who choose not to own them. Not a good marketing strategy.

    As for British TV shows, I like the domestic version of The Office a little bit better than the British one. Both are hilarious though.

  • avatar
    gsp

    The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme used to be the standard in the 70s and early 80s. GM sold a bunch in the 70s and 80s and everyone emulated them. BMWs are today’s Cutlasses. Mostly tacky styling, overwrought and disjointed details, undeveloped technology, and almost universally disliked by those who choose not to own them. Not a good marketing strategy.

    To compare these two companies shows you know little about BMW.

    I will give a few oddball examples of where BMW build a good car:

    1. Engines. I don’t need to say more here.
    2. Door hinges. Beefy, solid, safe.
    3. Wheel rims. 15 year old rims are still driving around here in Canada with no damage due to salt. Other manufacturers, Toyota, Honda, Audi… corrosion all over.
    4. Fiber optic bus system to each wheel computer in the X5 with Adaptive Drive. Only car on the market with this system right now. All cars will have this in the future.
    5. Xenon lights. Try driving at night without them once you have had them. Now they have been around for years, and BMW still install the best OEM lights.
    6. Aluminum suspension parts. Costs more to design and build. Works better.
    7. 50/50 weight distribution, RWD. For years, and now finally everybody else is getting on board.

    If somebody can give more than vague “i hate the way they look” or “they got their branding all wrong” comments about what is wrong with BMW it would be of great interest to me.

    Now a BMW does cost more. I am willing to pay more for the way they do things. I also would rather own a Swiss watch than a Jap watch. Some of the Jap watches are technically superior to Swiss watches but they don’t have the whole package. Why is that? And this is the crux of my arguement here:

    BMW STILL LEAD EVEN THOUGH OTHER MANUFACTURERS ARE GETTING VERY CLOSE. BUT THE FOLLOWERS DON’T HAVE IT IN THEMSELVES TO PICK UP AND LEAD THE INDUSTRY THEMSELVES.
    THEY WILL TAKE YEARS TO LEARN HOW TO DO SO. LIKE ALL DYNASTY EXAMPLES BMW WILL FALL. BUT WE ARE A LONG WAY FOR THAT POINT YET.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Mirko: I can’t tell, because everybody would laugh.

    gsp: the problem with BMW is that the company and its products have a tendency to appear arrogant, mean, callous. (On good days Clarkson uses the expression “soul-less”, on bad days he calls them SS staff cars). My opinion doesn’t matter, but for me the X6 is the ultimate yuppiemobile: a SUV that wants to get ahead, but doesn’t want to schlep. Your post, with its upper-case lettering and its insult against a fellow commentator, sounds exactly like what a BMW fan might write.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Martin:

    I don’t even have a car right now. Spending a lot of time in rentals that way…

  • avatar
    gsp

    Sorry if I come off as arrogant, I don’t mean it that way although I see what you mean. I just think that BMW owners are labeled that way inaccurately simply because they are confidant with BMW product. The yuppie thing is a bit of a joke though. Lets just say that BMW mostly sell to yuppies like you allege. Just because a yuppie buys something that they perceive is good doesn’t not detract from the product itself. Its like the hottie chick with an attitude. She might be a bitch, but she is still a hottie.

    I think that BMW are arrogant too. In fact, that is my biggest beef with them. I just imported a BMW to Canada and had to actually deal with their arrogance full force. However, they still make a great product. My father in law avoids BMW for that reason. He is worth big cake, but the snots at BMW don’t seem to want to treat him with a iota of respect, so he says, screw BMW. But since I like to drive their products, and see that they do things differently and often better, I am not prepared to let their attitudes prevent me from enjoying their product. I have to live with the car, I don’t live with the service adviser and sales staff at BMW.

    I read an article in Bimmer magazine this year where Tom Purves (BMW NA Pres) actually defended their arrogance!!! How’s that for arrogance!

    BTW I don’t think BMW do everything right. They don’t have an answer to the Audi A8 for example. But the Audi A8 was built to blow people away. On the other hand the new Audi A4 is still mostly a FWD car. It is not in the same class as a 3 Series. The E60 5er is not as good as the E39 in many respects. Etc Etc.

    I talk to my brother quite a bit about the auto business because he is in it. He worked for BMW a few years back and in spite of working for their competition, he still thinks that they have a design and engineering ethic that other manufacturers are going to have a hard time to replicate. Without that ethic, leading will be hard.

    In spite of the repeated comments about BMW just trying to raise profits with X6 products, BMW need products like the X6 to share the immense developmental costs of products like the new X5.

  • avatar
    oracle

    huge outside – small inside
    1 seat missing
    heavy drinker
    poor rear view
    expensive

    those are all undisputable facts that lead most people who are using their brains for logic thinking in the direction of other cars.

    the X6 looks (I think that most of you who have seen one live agree with me that there is a hell of a difference between a 2 dimensional one and one in 3D) quality, driving performance and a likely low production volume stopped me from signing up for another cayenne. can’t wait to get my new X6!

    ….and oh, the likes of 911s and 460s are unfortunately not big enough for the kids to fit in.

  • avatar
    p00ch

    Can’t wait for the M X6 version…

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “To compare these two companies shows you know little about BMW.”

    You completely missed the point. Skip it. I concede… I am totally uninformed, BMWs are all fantastic and everything else sucks.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    gsp: Thank you for your civil reply to my rather harsh words. I appreciate it, and I understand your position much better now.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    gsp: your point about the engineering, particularly the engines, layout and weight distribution, is undoubtedly correct. However, it may not be germane to the issue at hand.

    The problems BMWs possess regarding their styling, image, purchasers and dealers are insurmountable in my book. Moreover, how may purchases of BMW are based on their engineering? Sadly, it would appear, very few…

    A colleague recently “upgraded” a 3-series to a “better” 3-series. Upon asked why, he responded that it was a “better” vehicle, as it had a sunroof, PDC, different rims and metallic paint. He neglected to add that he had changed from a gas/petrol to a diesel version. I think that encapsulates my view on the subject.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Folks, the problem with this vehicle is the exact same problem BMW has for all their models at this point.

    Money. The X6 is simply way too much money for what they offer. This vehicle will be compared with others that sell for $10,000+ less in the marketplace, and they will lose that debate.

  • avatar
    BMWMan2002

    BMW makes the best cars in my opinion. They make the best sports cars, luxury cars and crossovers like the X6. I would only consider BMW cars ever. Lexus cars are boring and lack soul and Infiniti's are gussied up Nissan's. Mercedes is a bad company (look at their involvement in World War II). BMW is like perfect and sticks to their goals and values. I mean the X6 is hot and drives like a BMW should.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    BMWMan2002:

    And what exactly was BMW doing during WW2?

    Baking cupcakes?

    I’m sure they would have been the fastest and best performing cupcakes of the 1940s, but…

  • avatar
    khoolw

    BMW has found a niche that Porsche has: A soccer dad’s sports car! My wife drives a Volvo XC90 which drives like a supermarket trolley. And we dont need another 7 seater. I want a fast car which doesnt get stranded when it goes over a speed hump or mounts a curb. Neither do I want to be at the same eye level as a biker’s ankle. And I definitely need the luggage space to accomodate my weekend bag and golf equipment. I also need the comfort of driving 500 miles w/o needing a bum massage after. I’d buy this car!

  • avatar
    Howler

    The truth about X6? Here’s the tough love lol.
    I love hearing the justification by “men” as to why these cars makes sense. Here’s a few pointers guys. What are you buying thats so large? have you ever heard of having something delivered? People with 70k for a car who cant afford delivery. So you need to transport the family. Do you really think this type of performance is advisable while your 4 kids are in the car? If your kids are impressed I’m sure they’ll repay you when they reach 16, if your wife is impressed, her head is probably filled with nitrogen, from the dealer where you picked her up. So you need something for offroad? On 22 inch rims?

    After a long enough duration marketing studies are effective. People with money tend to be the most insecure human beings, especially the newly wealthy. Don’t you think luxury goods makers have figured this out? These types of people need wealth and huge phalic symbols because nothing else about their character is interesting or attractive. This is where these cars really shine. Nothing is more predictable than this evolution. As we progess through a media filled information age these people need more and more ego accessories as hundreds of comparisons are made daily via tv, movies, or a day at the mall. I wonder how many shallow marriages these cars save yearly.

    “Real” men drive a sports car for fun, a family car with a family, and get a truck when absolutely necessary. Oh and ladies, you want an armored car? you’d do much better spending 70k on driving lessons. You want to look attractive? Lose the car, a few pounds, and learn how to be more courteous and confident.

  • avatar
    khoolw

    people with money shldnt spend $70K on a sports SUV but shld buy 3 cars- one for each purpose? no wonder the earth is running out of resources..

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    No, you buy a car and when you would normally trade it off for another you buy something from another “class” or type and keep the first car. You don’t have to buy 3 cars at once. Because they are driven 1/3 of the time they last that much longer.

    Of course for the people who still insist on buying new every two or three years, it’s going to get way more expensive.

    I think this concept best works for someone like me who keeps a vehicle 200K miles regardless of how long that takes. I’m someone who doesn’t mind driving a 12 year old vehicle if it is well maintained inside and out and if it is reliable.

    If I drive 15K miles a year and divide my time equally among 3 vehicles that is only 60K miles in twelve years. Nice resale condition too. Works even better if I buy 30K miles used cars.

    Downsides: if you think new cars are much better than their 5 year old cousins then you will not be happy using this method. If you think the newest technology is the most green technology you won’t be happy. I don’t worry about either.

    You’ll be paying insurance on three vehicles vs one. The questions is will the higher resale value or long life of the vehicles offset this cost. These standby vehicles get ugly fast if they aren’t garaged. They also need rubber parts sooner (mileage wise) b/c the old hoses will start to dry rot after a decade or two.

    FWIW We use the three vehicle “method”. Wife drives the 34 mpg convertible. I drive the CUV on a much shorter commute and we have a van on standby.

  • avatar
    Without Prejudice

    i’ll bet 98% of the people have not driven the x6 because they can’t get over the exterior look.
    Has everyone forgotten that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”?
    U look the way u look, yet your spouse loves u, & vice versa. Someone may think you’r both ugly!Go ahead hate it for it’s looks, better yet, don’t buy it, the x6 car club have just gotten more exclusive!
    Porsche owners said the same thing about the Cayenne when it first came out.”Those blasphemers! should stick with what they do best…” But I digress.
    Few autos in the last hundred years, look beautiful from all sides & angles.
    I chuckled thru the Lieberman review,& thought it’s great. To pan & praise within the same phrase, i find quite entertaining.
    Once u’ve driven the x6 ( & i have, twice), u’ll get over it’s shortcomings. u’ll wonder why it took so long for someone to execute the logic behind the Dynamic Performance Control.Tanks & ships have been turning with independent left/right side power since the dawn of the industrial age. Acura’s version, aka, Super Handling All wheel Drive in the ’08 MDX, is similar, but i think bmw has done it better in that it continues to function during braking, whereas SH-awd does not. W/this feature, BMW is at the cutting edge much like ABS was 20 yrs ago!
    Some day soon, all cars will have it!
    The x6 is BMW’s interpretation of a go cart, disguised as a SAC!
    Practically, nobody should be driving on this planet anymore!
    Don’t talk about practicality & cars in the same sentence. Is the x6 more practical than a v12 Ferrari, w/ seating for 2?

  • avatar

    The BMW X6 is reminiscent of the first Ford Mustangs with the fast back, Barracuda, Challenger, or the Porsche 928 fastback sort of the SUV with the fastback look with a shorter window. Defiantly a performance car, by any standard. Almost a muscle car that handles like a sports car.

    The detractors just don’t get the marketing genius of BMW. I am a Porsche fan and the Cayenne has been a favorite of mine, with the ability to go off road and still have some excellent qualities of a sports car. The BMW X6 would be a sports SUV that would be cutting into the market of the Range Rover Sport with performance second only to the Cayenne turbo in the V8 category. You can’t compare the BMW X6 to any of the Japanese utility cars, Lexus, Honda, or up and comers like the Hyundai SUV’s. They are not performance driven autos, as the Germans have produced. The Japanese and Koreans have produced practical trouble free autos, which is a beauty unto itself, though they don’t have performance and handling perfected as the Germans. At least in the Sports SUV’s yet.

    As for gas mileage, the Germans will catch up with the rest of the field as soon as diesel, hydrogen and other alternative fuels come to the mass commercial market in the U. S. Gas mileage of 12-16 mpg is not an issue yet, and may not be with buyers in this class of cars even at $200 a barrel for oil.

    The ability to move four in a sports SUV is acceptable, though the typical golf equipment for two, snowboards, surfboards, with the rear seats folded down may be the ideal set up in the BMW X6. You may not fit your Marshall stacks and rock band equipment easily in the trunk, but there might be enough room for a lead guitarist’s gear. The lack of rear visibility is always important, and BMW designers failed in this aspect. They need to upgrade the next year’s models with better window views to the rear.

    The remarkable ability for the BMW X6 V8 Twin Turbo to go head to head with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo is simply amazing. Styling points still goes to the Cayenne, though the BMW X6 comes very close in performance. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo still wins with regards to storage space because the BMW X6 is a coupe. At the end of the day, can the BMW SUV beat the Porsche SUV in handling? I think…………..NOT.

  • avatar
    jstnspin82

    When the X6 first was being discussed and I saw the concept photos and then it finally came out, I was not sure what to think. The X5 was in its second generation and the lines were similar. Sporty and elegant yet muscular and the look was like the front of the 5 series which says “get out of my way” I am an admirer of the new X5 which is an improvement from the first X5. The X6 is sort of a low slung X5 kind of like the X5 and M6 collided and out came something out of this world. I like it though, while it does not appeal to some, I think its a automotive work of art in it’s own right. Smooth lines, plenty of power, amazing X drive, room for 5. It’s almost as if its a BMW station wagon / Sports car so you can get your groceries very fast and do a little off roading on the way. I just hope BMW engineers there SUV’s both the X5 and X6 with more off road capabilities which they will, when BMW sets out to engineer something it simply gets done and done properly. They are the experts and would not just toy around off road SUV’s or SAV’s

  • avatar
    justaguy

    “Bimmer’s “Sports Activity Coupe” (SAC for short) offers supremely comfortable rear seats for two. Despite the X6’s sharply-raked roof, a brace of non-slouching six footers have more than merely adequate headroom.”

    Ummm…I suppose a six footer may have headroom. Someone who is 6’1″ (like me) does not. My head literally hits the ceiling, which has never happened to me in any other Sport-utility anything…ever. The back seats may be comfortable for about 60 seconds, but the backs are concave, so that any longer than a few minutes and your back starts to hurt and you start feeling like quadimodo. Also, if you’re able to enjoy the the adult rides at amusement parks, you probably won’t be amused by how little leg room there is in the front seats even when they are moved as far back as they can go. I am usually a Bimmer fan, but this car is humongous on the outside and TINY on the inside. I’m glad my roommate bought it before I did, so I didn’t have to be the one to regret it.


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