Austin, TX -??M? power is to BMW what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz, and S-line is to Audi. The first M version was created in 1985, by transplanting a race-bred inline 6-cylinder from their M1 supercar into a 5 Series BMW sedan along with enhanced suspension and brakes, resulting in the BMW M5, which redefined sedan capabilities. The 2010 BMW X5M and BMW X6M represented the next chapter in the history and progression of M-powered BMWs as the first all-wheel drive models to showcase M power. Note that the X5 is termed an SAV ? Sports Activity Vehicle, while the X6 is referred to as a SAC or Sports Activity Coupe, thanks to its coupe-like roofline.
We?ll cover the BMW X6 M here, though both the X5 and X6 M vehicles are powered by the same engine ? a 4.4-liter, 32-valve, twin scroll, twin?turbocharged V8 with High Precision Direct Injection, Cylinder-bank?Comprehensive Manifold and 4 overhead camshafts. Horsepower output has been increased to 567 in a range from 6,000-6,500 rpm, and torque has been bumped up to 553 pound from 2,200-5,000 rpm
The powerful, high performance V-8 is coupled to BMW?s Eight-speed M?Sport automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and launch control. The engine is positioned up front in a longitudinal orientation creating the power to be delivered to the M-tuned xDrive, BMW?s intelligent all-wheel drive system.
BMW?s M engineers have enhanced the capabilities of BMW?s intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system as well as the Dynamic Performance Control system and?special M suspension, which includes Adaptive Drive and Servotronic power steering. All of these features join forces to push the limits of what was previously possible in a sports-oriented vehicle, thereby guaranteeing the behavioral characteristics of a BMW M product, and setting new standards of acceleration, lateral grip, steering response, balance and braking power.
The exterior design emphasizes large air intakes, reflecting function, purpose?and style. Special gills are featured in the front fenders, and there are model-specific forged 21-inch M light alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport staggered rubber.. The vehicle?s athletic character is communicated at the rear by a rear diffuser with integrated quad tailpipes along with a functional decklid spoiler lip. Compared with the standard BMW X6, body-color surface areas of the side skirts were designed to place greater emphasis on their road-going purpose. The body designs fulfill major functions in terms of aerodynamics and the controlled flow of cooling air. The overall design form displays a strong interaction between concave and convex surfaces, which tend to enhance the vehicle?s athletic visual impact.
Moving to the X6 M?s interior, the styling cues match those of the exterior, combining elements of luxury, sportiness and power. Surfaces blend into one another, depicting the vehicle?s active character. Features such as shifter paddles on the steering wheel, knee bolsters or pads on either side of the center console, along with symmetrical circular gauges serve the sporting focus of the X6 M extremely well. Another distinguishing point that differs from other BMW X models is the rear seat design ? they are individual units separated by their own rear center console, with high-rising side supports and integrated headrests.
My test 2015 BMW X6 M Sports Activity Coupe (can it really be a coupe with?four doors?) wore an exterior finish of Long Beach Blue Metallic and featured an Aragon Brown full Merino leather interior. The base price was set at $102,100 while optional features and equipment elevated the final count and amount to $117,050 before tax and license. Extras included: the Executive Package; Driver Assistance Plus Package; Parking Assistant, Bang & Olufsen Sound System, enhanced USB and Bluetooth with Smartphone integration, Carbon Fiber interior trim elements, and the Destination and Handling charge.
SUMMARY : The 2015 BMW X6 M is a splendid performance machine that delivers outstanding performance characteristics in normal base settings, but takes on supercar attributes when the M Dynamic mode is activated. The M Sports Automatic is commanded by an electronic selector on the center console offering the driver not only the Drive mode, but also Sport and M Manual modes for absolute control of gear selection.
Aluminum pull-style paddles on the steering wheel exclusive to BMW M allow manual shifting (Right for upshifts, Left for downshifts). In the M Manual mode, each chosen gear is held up to redline giving the driver perfect throttle-steering control of the vehicle in demanding driving conditions. The transmission will not upshift or downshift automati?cally in this mode. Another feature of the M Manual mode is Launch Control, which enables the driver to accelerate from a standstill with maximum performance. To activate Launch Control, the driver stops the vehicle, moves the gear selector into the M/S position and activates the Sports Power mode, as well as the M Dynamic mode, or respectively, the DSC-Off mode. Then, with the transmission in stage M1, the driver presses down the brake pedal and moves the accelerator to at least 60% throttle, setting Launch Control to standby. Standby status is confirmed by ?starter?s flag? symbol in the instrument cluster. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the vehicle will accelerate with full power. In the process, the M Sports Automatic transmission automatically upshifts at the ideal points, with the fastest possible shifts and optimum wheelspin control. Launch Control may be terminated at any time by reducing the throttle position.
The ride quality is actually very comfortable ? neither too harsh, or too soft. The technology level is stellar, but unless driven to extreme levels, such technology will probably never come into play ? and, if it does, the driver and vehicle occupants will likely not notice it.
Rearward visibility is limited through the rear window and entry into the driver?s seat necessitated my folding forward to avoid hitting my head and to clear the radically curved roofline. On the plus side however, controls and switchgear, once inside are well placed for optimum ease of use, and the seating is both comfortable and supportive. The clamshell opening glovebox and the folding and removable rear cargo cover both offer nice touches and added convenience.
Overall performance and handling are optimally enhanced by the advanced Integrated Chassis Management system, which networks all drivetrain and suspension components, featuring standard self-leveling rear air suspension and Adaptive Drive with Electronic Damping Control and Active Roll Stabilization. The special version of Adaptive Drive tailored to the requirements of BMW M lowers the entire vehicle from the standard BMW X6. Dynamic Stability Control provides an open door to controlled drifts. The M compound brakes are both vented and perforated for enhanced stopping capability.
In the final analysis, the bold exterior styling, though not for everyone, gives way to an elegant and comfortable interior design, and the performance characteristics are just what the racing enthusiast ordered. Given the X6 M?s controversial design form and the hefty price tag, the BMW X6 M is not a vehicle that is likely to grace everyone?s garage or driveway ? but it is quite nice with the power of M. The BMW X6 M proved its mettle on the Circuit of the Americas track outside Austin, Texas, with its 21 turns and multiple elevation changes. Consider this latest SAC a better mousetrap in every way.
[wptabs style=”wpui-light” effect=”slide” mode=”horizontal”]
?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 BMW X6M SAC [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$117,050.|
|Engine Type and Size:||4.4-liter BMW M TwinPower Turbo V8, DOHC, 32-valve with M twin-scroll turbocharger with high precision direct injection and variable valve control (Double VANOS and Valvetronic)|
|Horsepower (bhp):||567 @ 6,000-6,500 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||553 @ 2,200-5,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||8-speed M Steptronic Automatic with Drivelogic, Sport and Manual shift modes, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Launch Control.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / xDrive Intelligent all-wheel drive.|
Front – Double-joint spring strut axle with M-specific elastokinematics, small, negative steering roll radius, and anti-dive geometry.
Rear – Integral-IV rear axle with M-specific elastokinematics, spatially-acting suspension with anti-squat and anti-dive geometry and air suspension with automatic self-leveling.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs – cross-drilled, perforated compound rotors with ABS, DSC, M Dynamic Mode, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Electronic Differential Lock ADB-X, Dry Braking function, Fading Compensation, Start-off Assistant, Dynamic Performance Control, Hill Descent Control and Adaptive Drive.|
|Tires:||Michelin Pilot Super Sport 285/35 ZR21 104Y front / 325/30 ZR21 108Y rear mounted on 5-double-spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||193.8 inches|
|Curb Weight:||5,185 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||22.4 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||TBA mpg city / TBA mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||4.0 seconds – top speed= 155 mph electronically limited.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.