BMW X6


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I got a chance to drive this creation from BMW, which many stared aghast at. Heads were turning, necks were crooning, people were in disbelief when they saw this supposedly "unconventional" vehicle from the house of Bavaria. History says that this was BMW's answer to Merc's CLS in an indirect fashion, which gave the meaning to the word "coupe" a different perspective.
This thing, the X6, hates to be loved from ruthless souls, and loves to be hated by your neighbour next door. Acura tried hard with the ZDX by aping the concept but it flopped miserably, and on the other side, BMW is busy working in bringing its little twin, the X4, onto the market, based on the 3 series platform. This shows that this segment is well acccepted and BMW is trying to take more and more risks and if global sales figures are taken into consideration, it has paid rich dividends.

Now, coming to this version-the 40D. As part of this facelift, the engine was given a major upgrade, with a 2996 cc, in line 6 with twin turbochargers belting out 306 bhp and a massive 600 nm of torque between 1500-4000 rpm, mated to a superbly spaced 8 speed steptronic transmission. Acceleration for a vehicle of this size in stock form is very rapid and is one of the fastest straight line accelerating diesel vehicles I have ever driven. There is hardly any lag, with the smaller turbo working hard at belting out 80% of the torque at 1800 rpm after which, the larger turbine spools over and propels the vehicle to a stronger top end. You simply don't realize until you look up at that HUD that you are in triple digit speeds and the speedo keeps on climbing and climbing. The best part remains its steering, which is speed sensitive EHPS unit with an electric motor mated to the hydraulic system, in an effort to give good mileage and also keep the handling precise. This comes at a time when BMWs are getting softer and more "mass market" oriented. The car tracks dead straight even at high triple digit speeds and equally feels at home at any empty road it is driven in. Just slot into D, and leave the rest to the gearbox to handle. Upshifts are perfect, but downshifts when instant power is required does require some effort as the box is hesitent in doing so.
The vehicle comes equipped with X-Drive, a permanent all wheel drive which provides different levels of torque split between the front and rear axles which is split normally at 40:60 (front:rear) ratio. Based on the road conditions and driver input, the X-Drive system detects wheel slippage and then transfers the torque to the right wheel at the right place to ensure that the vehicle not get stuck on mud. BUT, this system does have some limitations in terms of off roading prowess. Despite the 200 mm+ quoted GC, this isn't a hardcore off roader and simply cannot match the prowess of, say the ladder frame based off roaders or some LR vehicles for that matter.At the end of the day, its a car based crossover which does have certain limitations.

Inside, the cabin is draped in typical BMW Side with the dash being tilted towards the driver, and that simplistically complex joystick type gear lever does take getting used to. Loved the instrumentation, its simple and legible but a l'il long in the tooth, same for the I-Drive. It has been made simpler and more user friendly. Overall, quality, fit and finish is of a very high order but Indian roads did take a toll on this tester, with the tailgate rattling and many other weird sounds being heard from inside. The HUD is again a great adition to the equipment range and looks brilliant while on the move. Driving position is spot on and 3 way memory seats do help to configure the position that you desire.
But, therein lies some multifaceted quirkiness inside.
Get at the rear and the limitations of headroom and legroom are obvious. In a lifestyle vehicle this costly, some people do look this with raised eyebrows (for the convectional, you have the X5). And its clear hat the target audience is those who drive all by themselves.

Now, comes the target customer. This vehicle is billed as the C-SAC (crossover-sport activity coupe) and from what the vehicle is meant to be for, its targeted at adventurous buyers who seek different from the ordinary. Its not really that good looking from the side and the polarizing rear 3/4 view does divide opinion. Yet, it does remain one of the most conventionally unconventional vehicles to be on sale in the country and has a personality which cannot be defined. Quirky..multi faceted, with a lacerating remorse that it had shown to the world, to the BMW purists and automobile aficionados alike, this vehicle is here to stay, for many generations to come.

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Because, for those questioning its sanity, the insanely sane X4 is coming soon.