BMW X6M (2009-2014)

Classic Cars (UK) - - Chasing Cars -

An M-power SUV was a bold step by BMW. Es­pe­cially since it wasn’t sure that any­body ac­tu­ally wanted one. The £93,000 first-gen X6M of 2009 was deeply conflicted weigh­ing in at 2.3 tons, blessed with 555bhp from a twin-turbo 4.4 V8 and the aero­dy­nam­ics of a Ge­or­gian town house. Yet de­spite such a haver­sack of con­tra­dic­tions, not to men­tion the ef­fects of physics, Mu­nich’s hot-rod 4x4 can crack sixty in 4.2 sec­onds, and if you ticked the speed lim­iter delete box, will run all the way to 175mph. Im­pres­sive num­bers but dou­bly at­trac­tive be­cause the X6M can carry four fully-formed adults and a cou­ple of Ger­man Shep­herds in the back. As a very high-per­for­mance carry-all it takes some beat­ing and with prices of rea­son­able mileage ex­am­ples down to £20k it’s a wild ride.

Don’t get me wrong, the X6M isn’t any­thing like as flu­ent or poised as most other M Power con­fec­tions. But find a quiet rib­bon of tar­mac, point the nose and pull the trig­ger and it’s hys­ter­i­cally fast. In a straight line the X6M is as fast as an M5 V10 and slightly quicker than the con­tem­po­rary M3. But this isn’t just a very rapid truck – it has a de­cent chas­sis, com­posed ride and the abil­ity to out-cor­ner a Su­per­charged Range Rover or Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The six-speed Step­tronic ‘box with its M-dy­namic mode is won­der­ful and the self-lev­el­ling air sus­pen­sion makes pot­ter­ing along butchered B-roads a re­mark­ably serene ex­pe­ri­ence.

And it’s com­par­a­tively rare too. Only 49 were sold in the UK in 2009, 52 in 2010, 228 in 2013 and 126 in 2014 – most go­ing to China, the US and the UAE. Unique Pres­tige in Hod­des­don has a 2011 in black with 50,000 miles for £24,995, Es­sex Pres­tige has a white 2011 with 39,000 miles for £26,989, while a pri­vate seller in Lon­don has a sil­ver 2010 with 38,000 miles and to­tal BMW his­tory for a very tempt­ing £21,995. For rare M-cars with low mileages these aren’t big prices and make hard-driven M3s and M5s look ex­pen­sive. BMW very likely lost money on ev­ery one, but we should be glad such an act of in­san­ity passed all those cus­tomer clin­ics. A 175mph leather-lined SUV might not be what the world wanted, but for those of us with a sense of irony, it marks a mag­nif­i­cent act of au­to­mo­tive de­fi­ance. It has no rel­e­vance in the brave new world of low car­bon elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. And for that rea­son alone, I think it’s a fu­ture clas­sic in wait­ing.

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