Meet the BMW X6 M50d, a rare turbo diesel-powered machine coming straight out of BMW’s motorsport division factory. Similar to the electric-powered 1 series active E and Mini E, BMW is proving with the X6 M50d a Sports Activity Vehicle, that you don’t need petrol to have fun.
Diesel motors, once considered dirty, grafting tools for the working class, are now intertwined with luxurious high performance motoring. In essence, what was utilized as the means of production is now on the high performance menu for the bourgeoisie.
The styling of the X6 has been debated, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from vehicles targeted at the left wing, SUV niche market. As subjective a topic as design is, I think the X6 dressed in an M-Sport body kit hits the nail on the head. On to the exterior, the X6 M50d looks impressive with the M-Sport signature hallmarks and the 20-inch double spoke BMW motorsport alloy wheels are menacing to the eye. A visible M-Badge on the boot lid rounds off the finishing touches and will certainly keep those behind you in check.
Distinguishing it from the initial model is a nip and tuck on the exterior, which includes a broader grille, repositioned fog lights, rejuvenated rear lights and new color shades, that accentuate the big bodied BMW.
The interior is awash with quality leather with alcantara stitching. All the controls fall easily into the driver’s hands. The front electrically-adjustable sport seats are both comfortable and offer good lateral support in the mid corner. As we’ve come to expect with BMW’s high-end cars, fit and finish is exceptional and there is an aura of quality as you open the door.
Interior M-Sport hallmarks come in the form of an M-badged leather steering wheel and gear shift, summed up by door sills bearing the M-Performance logo.
The talking point is the triple-turbo 3.0 liter diesel engine, which is the most powerful six cylinder diesel. It’s an advancement of the twin turbo 3.0 liter six cylinder engine that powers the X6 3.0d and X6 4.0d variants, and is the first diesel fueled vehicle that sits right below the petrol powered V8 M-badged vehicles.
The 3.0 liter diesel is not a creamy smooth affair. When idling, it exposes its agricultural traits but that’s the price you pay for free-flowing power, which comes at the command of your right foot. As you sweep through the revs the engine emits a growl that finds its way into the cabin, through the hi-fi loudspeaker Logic 7 system. The remapped eight-speed gearbox was well composed and decisive during gear changes, and with sports mode engaged the revs fly upwards.
The X6 M50d is not oxygen starved, and is supported by the most advanced life support system yet. There are three turbos feeding the motor, two small ones and one big one. Lag is virtually non-existent at low speeds. More turbos equal more thrust, and that is what sets it apart from the regular BMW range. The lag, which presents itself at take off in the twin turbo variants is covered by the third blower under the lid that features a dome shape for obvious reasons. Adding a third turbo alters living conditions.
More pressure equals more output and torque. These three blowers return a mammoth torque delivery of 740Nm trumping the 680Nm of torque the X6 M possesses.
M-specification chassis set-up produces accurate steering and precisely controllable, agile handling, when driving on the road. Regular reality checks of the speedometer are recommended or you risk finding traffic fines in your post box.
It’s safe to deem the triple-turbo X6 M50d suspicious, but not guilty. This could be BMW’s guerrilla warfare against Audi’s S line and Mercedes Benz’s AMG tuned cars. However, the X6 has no direct competitor so it’s cunning to think which performance model it’s gunning for.
On paper it’s not far off the rival petrol-powered performance cars, achieving a zero to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds—not shabby for a vehicle weighing two tons. In return you get a low consumption of 8.0 liters per 100km from the 280kW monster. Once again BMW has successfully put its dynamic efficiency philosophy into play, turning expectations onto their heads.
Expect to pay over R1 million ($100,00) for the BMW X6 M50d, however, if the winds of change continue to blow, diesels with the help of turbo charging may soon become the ultimate performance machines.
What you are paying for is perhaps thrilling raw power, economy and a long list of standard options. That’s enough to make you feel