A BMW that begs the question, “What is it?” - East Valley Tribune: Business

A BMW that begs the question, “What is it?”

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Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2008 7:28 am | Updated: 9:40 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

How do you describe the indescribable when the subject at hand is the new BMW X6?

The German automaker has tossed a real curve ball with its latest luxuryladen what’s-it-mobile. BMW uses the term Sports Activity Coupe, which is sufficiently vague to confuse most folks, especially since the X6 comes equipped with four doors. We prefer the more straightforward four-door hatchback term, although anyone sitting inside this rather imposing vehicle will feel as though they’re driving a well-equipped sport utility vehicle. In the meantime the confusion — and the name game — remains unresolved.

What’s not up for debate is the fact that the X6 is a sensuously shaped piece of automotive eye candy. Sure it displays a big-and-beefy swagger, but there’s also a softer side to the design, especially along the leading edge that houses a delicate-looking kidney-shaped grille fronting the neatly creased hood. From the side, the gentle sweep of the X6’s roofline almost makes you forget your staring at one massive brick of a Bimmer that tips the scales at a stout 4,900 pounds.

It’s the back view where you’ll really begin to appreciate how imposing the X6 is. The rear window seems almost miniscule in comparison to the substantial hatch/liftgate (again, we’re not sure what to call it). Once opened, there’s plenty of storage space (try four golf-bags worth) with all four seating positions in use and a lot more when the 60/40 split-folding rear seat has been folded flat.

The X6 rides on 19-inch wheels (20 inch rims are optional) that do a great job filling the flared-out fender cavities and giving the big machine a planted stance. And to make certain the vehicle stays glued to the ground, all models come with BMW’s latest edition of its all-wheel-drive system that can shift torque to the outside rear wheel when turning for added precision and control.

The X6’s engine depends on the model you select. The 3.5i runs with a 300-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, while the 5.0i uses a 400-horsepower 4.4-liter V8. BMW reports that the turbo-six can propel the X6 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, a mere 1.2-seconds longer than it takes the V8 to perform the same task.

Both powerplants come with a sixspeed automatic transmission that can be controlled with steering-columnmounted paddle shifters.

The four fortunate souls seated inside the X6 risk sensory overload, coddled as they are in leather- and woodlined comfort as only BMW’s artisans can create. Other standard creature comforts include dual-zone climate control, multi-adjustable heated power front sport seats, power sunroof, adaptive headlights that pivot as the vehicle turns, xenon headlights and a front and rear park-assist warning system.

Move up to the X6 5.0i and the list grows to include a navigation system, garage-door opener, compass, auto-dimming inside and (power folding) outside mirrors plus additional interior/exterior lighting.

Among the wide array of options is four-zone climate control, power tailgate, aluminum running boards, heated rear seats, rear-view camera, headlight washers, 16-speaker audio system and a rear-seat DVD player.

In addition, the 5.0i can be ordered with power-latching doors, a head-up display that projects vital operating data (current speed, fuel load, etc.) onto the windshield and Adaptive Drive, an active suspension system that reduces body lean in tight corners.

No matter its shape, the X6 is a substantial piece of work in more ways than one. For driver and passengers, it’s a confidence-boosting automobile with power and luxury to spare and with more than sufficient sure-footed capability to tackle most road conditions.

But, as for what exactly to call it, you’re on your own.

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