The first time I heard about the BMW X6, I wasn’t impressed. I saw the pictures and was even less impressed. It looked quite impractical and rather gimmicky. Until I got to drive it and discovered what a lively and lovely car it is.

SAV – Sports Activity Vehicle

The BMW X6 has been termed an SAV – a sports activity vehicle – with the emphasis on sports and now, in the latest derivative, particularly active. The XDrive50i is the flagship of the X6 range (until the X6 M comes out either end of this year, beginning of next), which has been a great success around the world and in South Africa.

Price: R890 500


Launched a little over a year ago, BMW also decided that because the X6 looks like a coupe, it therefore is a coupe. I have an issue with this – especially as a few other manufacturers have jumped on the band wagon. As far as I’m concerned, and as far as the dictionary is concerned, a coupe is a two-door car ‘with a sloping roof’. Okay, so it might look like one – but in my book, it’s not one.

Power hungry

But I digress. The BMW X6 XDrive50i has a huge 4.4 V8 twin turbo engine that has a lovely broad torque band and a thrilling roaring soundtrack to accompany it. Basically, this car’s been built to outgun and outrun most other vehicles on the road. It seems a bit over the top to have such a powerful car – and in fact, possibly dangerous in the wrong hands. But the big advantage is that power underfoot equates to being able to manoeuvre more rapidly and also in the instance of overtaking, you can do it quickly and efficiently.

For an engine this size, this car has relatively good consumption, with official figures sitting at just under 14l/100km but on our trip, we sat closer to 17l/100km. And honestly, we aren’t total speed freaks.

Pros and cons on the BMW X6 XDrive 50i

As is with all BMWs, the car is fitted with Runflats, tyres that will save your bacon in a blow-out and if you get a flat tyre, you can carry on driving until you can find a garage. There is a mari-biscuit spare if you fancy yourself as a tyre-changer. The seating is slightly unusual – it’s 2+2 – so only two seats in the back that are separated by a storage and powerpoint compartment. The boot is enormous and in fact the coupe look of this car gives no indication of the spaciousness of it. It’s not as roomy as the X5, but close.

Competing with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne GTS and to a lesser degree, the Range Rover Sport, the ‘new’ BMW X6 XDrive50i would be a lovely car to live with. But unless I belonged to an oil company family, I just don’t think I’d enjoy that petrol bill.

Price from: R890 500

Ed’s note: We’re almost over our outrageously expensive period and will shortly be reviewing more affordable cars.