BMW's X6M is a car that does not answer to 'why?', but 'why not?'

The acceleration of the X6M comes in huge gushes, like water from a fire hydrant that has been knocked over. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The acceleration of the X6M comes in huge gushes, like water from a fire hydrant that has been knocked over. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The acceleration of the X6M comes in huge gushes, like water from a fire hydrant that has been knocked over. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The acceleration of the X6M comes in huge gushes, like water from a fire hydrant that has been knocked over. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Behold BMW's most torquey engine, with 750Nm whipped up by eight angled pistons displacing 4,395cc in an engine enriched by two turbos.

BMW could have strapped this monster machine to a Mini and sent it to the moon.

Instead, it has chosen to use it to propel a car like the X6M (and its more utilitarian twin, the X5M), which, I suppose, is not vastly different from the Mini when it comes to cabin space.

The X6M's 2.35-tonne body keeps it fairly earthbound, but the rarefied engine, which makes 575bhp, is still able to coax head-spinning antics from the car.

With Launch Control and all-wheel-drive, the overgrown coupe on stilts hurtles from zero to 100kmh in 4.2 seconds, allowing the driver to wave to another in a Porsche 911 as he passes him in this century dash.

Except the Porsche driver will not be able to see that friendly gesture. Seated high above the tarmac, the driver behind the wheel of the X6M - which could perhaps qualify as a street-legal Mad Max vehicle - has a horse's-eye view of the world.

He also gets a pretty warped sense of speed. The kind of acceleration the steroidal BMW is capable of seems more intimidating at this altitude. We are talking about acceleration that gushes, not like a tap, but a fire hydrant that has been knocked over.

The X6M's eight-speed ZF gearbox does its best to smoothen out the delivery, but no matter what, you cannot help but be a little white-knuckled as you ride this elephant that goes like a cheetah.

You could, of course, drive the beast gingerly.

But with so much power at your disposal, it is hard to. So, you continue to open the throttle a little wider than you should and feel your heart rising to your mouth as the mammoth stampedes towards the horizon.

Alas, the massive BMW moves a little like a pachyderm on a waterbed. Whether in Sport or Comfort mode, it is jiggly.

It does not help that the roads here are not as well paved as they should be.

You would laugh if you were not focusing so hard on not trying to run over that Chery QQ that foolishly stayed on the right lane.

Having said that, the X6M executes fast corners with such flourish that you forget momentarily its heft and height. Its tyres do not protest and its body resists lean admirably.

Its Royal Massiveness is religiously subservient to steering input, yet it is not twitchy and remains highly tractable whatever the situation.

Its brakes are reassuringly grippy, without being overly harsh.

The test-car is a stunning spectacle in its 21-inch heels and new Long Beach Blue paintwork.

Blue is supposed to evoke peace and tranquillity, but in this shade and on this car, it has a thumping undertone that shouts "yo yo yo".

It is lavishly furnished, with soft-closing doors, 360-degree camera system, simulated carbon fibre trim, four-zone climate control, head-up display, sat-nav pro, ventilated seats, B&O hi-fi and leather upholstery so fine it will not be out of place in a Rolls-Royce.

The complete suite of options adds nearly $90,000 more to the X6M's starting price.

Ultimately, nothing changes the fact that this "coupe-SUV" is an automotive anomaly.

It is more luxurious and nearly as swift as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, but it falls short in terms of handling, ride and overall usability.

Price-wise, it is closer to the Range Rover Sport, a vehicle that is neither as powerful nor as intricately decked out as the X6M.

But the Range Rover offers loads more in terms of utility, versatility and comfort.

From any which way you look at it, an M5 or M6 will make more sense.

Then again, do you have to make sense if you have 750Nm of torque?

christan@sph.com.sg