Austin, TX – When I first spied the gen-one BMW X6 SAC (Sport Activity Coupe) at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show, I thought “Gawd, what hath BMW wrought?”
Turns out they wrought something pretty good. The X6 has been a consistent and profitable seller for BMW, and when the high-performance M division had its way with this swoopy Swabian for the 2010 model year, it proved to be another wise move.
Oh yes, there was much derision and many cries of woe from the M faithful. This was the first M vehicle to sport all-wheel-drive with an automatic transmission and turbocharged power. And then there was the not-so-small matter of both the X5M and X6M being not-so-small two-and-a half-tonne SUVs. (Flashback to the Porsche Cayenne launch.)
Blasphemy or not, about half of X6 models now sold in America are the M variant. And the US accounts for twenty-five percent of total M car sales worldwide.
And so I find myself tearing around the all-new Circuit of the Americas in the second-generation 2015 BMW X6M that will be hitting our showrooms early spring with an MSRP of $108,200. My mission, of course, is to inform all potential customers that yes indeedy, were they to spring for this M-badged crossover, their portly possession will have the goods to acquit itself very well on a racetrack.
That directive really wasn’t going through my mind as I followed ex-F1 pilot and BMW factory racer Timo Glock around this long, fast and technical track in a Long Beach Blue 2015 BMW X6M. It turns, it grips, it stays flat and absolutely storms down the long straights, only to be hauled down lap after lap by the massive compound discs squeezed by six-piston calipers up front and single floating caliper in the back. The 2,275 kg BMW X6M so soundly kicks the laws of physics in the stones, Isaac Newton is probably feeling it. Poor guy’s peacefully eating an apple under a tree in heaven… then, WHAM!
A couple of laps in I switch the stability control from Normal to the more lenient M Dynamic Mode. All of a sudden easily controllable drifts enter the equation. But MDM will still save your bacon if you get really out of shape. There is an “Off” setting that leaves you completely to your own devices – until things really go wrong. Then it kicks back in. So “Off” isn’t really off. Not that I had any desire to find out.