as in emphatic
another new segment. For more than 10 years we have been looking at anM model in the sports activity segment.’’
He has plenty of SUV experience because he was the father of the current X5, but his M experience runs back to the days when he helped develop 3 Series racers for the World Touring Car Championship.
Biermann says the key to the M-Xers is the engine, which takes a new path by tucking the twin turbochargers on top of the engine between the cylinder heads. It makes the whole package extremely compact and almost eliminates turbo lag.
The rest of the package runs to an M-tweaked six-speed automatic with launch control, active all-wheel drive with M-specific settings, M-tweaked suspension that sits 10mm lower, 20-inch alloy wheels, bigger brakes and more.
Inside, there is M leather luxury in sports seats and wheel and gearshift, a heads-up display, six airbags and servotronic steering. and that makes a difference. It’s probably enough of a difference for the sort of people who want to stand out from the crowd.
My first impression of the X6 M is subdued. It’s not as obviously M as I had expected — some people say the move into SUVs means M now stands for marketing, not motorsport— even when I fire the V8.
On the road the X6 M is more taut than any other SUV I’ve driven, apart from the AMG ML, with sharp steering response and zero rock and roll. That’s good, though the servotronic steering is still a bit vague and moving to the M settings only makes it over-firm.
Thumb theMbutton on the steering wheel and you uncork a terrific V8, as well as transmission settings that fire it through the gears.
There is also a satisfying whoosh of overboost when you go up a gear, and a refined roar from below the bonnet — though almost no trace of V8 rumble from the rear. The X6 M is refined and composed on the one-hour ride to Road Atlanta raceway.
‘‘We don’t want to compare too much with the Cayenne, because this car is at another level,’’ Biermann says before I head to the track, but the Porsche SUV is the benchmark.
Or it was. Because the X6 M is incredible for a two-tonne SUV. It sits flat through corners, puts its power to the ground incredibly well, and thumps up to 230km/h on the long back straight.
I’m not a fan of the X6, either the way it looks or the way it works, but the way the M model goes is fantastic. It easily trumps an ML AMG and, from my experience, is more nimble and punchy than a Cayenne. OK, so it doesn’t have their space, but the X5M — which was not available for driving — is the answer to that question.