Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

THE X6 can be ac­cused of many crimes, but it is cer­tainly no blun­der bus. The wild styling and con­fus­ing mix of an SUV and a sports coupe gives it an un­mis­tak­able iden­tity.

For such a big, buxom 2000kg-plus char­iot, the X6 cor­ners with pur­pose, help­ing give cred­i­bil­ity to the BMWcre­ated Sports Ac­tiv­ity Coupe tag.

The two twin-turbo in-line six-cylin­der en­gines avail­able at launch pro­vide com­pletely dif­fer­ent driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

The 3.0-litre petrol is a lit­tle dozy when left to its own de­vices in drive. How­ever, when you use the steer­ing wheel- mounted but­ton shifters it be­comes more re­spon­sive.

The diesel sup­plies good doses of torque from low in the rev range and is al­to­gether more flexible than the petrol.

The big­gest reve­la­tion is the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence: on dodgy sur­faces or bil­liard-top tar­mac glis­ten­ing with melt­ing snow, the X6 is no un­der­steer­ing mule.

In th­ese con­di­tions the Dy­namic Per­for­mance Con­trol comes to the fore. The best way of de­scrib­ing it is that it is sta­bil­ity con­trol on steroids.

You can feel the forces be­ing ap­plied to the out­side wheel when it senses the car wants to plough on and un­der­steer through a cor­ner.

On the high­way, the X6 is whis­per quiet with the seren­ity is only bro­ken by the wind noise com­ing off the over­sized wing mir­rors.

A bit of head­room is lost in the rear with the over­ac­cen­tu­ated slop­ing roofline.

The rear glass area is nar­row and high which puts many ob­jects and peo­ple at risk when re­vers­ing, so BMW in­clude a re­vers­ing cam­era as stan­dard in all X6 mod­els.

This is one ve­hi­cle where a rear-view cam­era is ab­so­lutely manda­tory.

Still, the X6 can­not quite de­cide whether it wants to be a large SUV or a sport­ster.

The un­de­ni­able story of this car is the DPC, a huge ad­vance­ment in sta­bil­ity con­trol.

It al­lows you to main­tain rhythm and power through a cor­ner rather than kill torque and stop progress if there is any hint that trac­tion is lost.

Fuel con­sump­tion in the petrol rose to about 19 litres/ 100km on a spir­ited launch drive while the diesel was main­tain­ing about a more than re­spectable 11 litres/ 100km.

In many ways the X6 de­fies com­mon sense. But when has mo­tor­ing been a log­i­cal ex­er­cise in the 21st cen­tury?

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