Argggh! My eyes!
Ok, we'll agree it isn't the prettiest car on the planet but this is one menacing SUV you wouldn't want to mess with. BMW's M division has taken the spanners to the latest X6 model in order to create a freakishly fast Franken-car that's capable of devouring the racetrack while simultaneously transporting five occupants in opulent surroundings. Not that we'd recommend taking the family for a spin around the Nürburgring any time soon.
Why is it so fast?
The clue lies underneath that heavily sculpted bonnet in the shape of a 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that's quite possibly one of the most magnificent things we've heard in a while. It produces a frankly ridiculous 568bhp (17bhp more powerful than its predecessor) and 750Nm of torque (also up on the outgoing model), which is good for a top speed of 155mph (limited for your safety) and a 0-62mph sprint in 4.2 seconds.
How does a bloater like that go around corners?
It's a miracle of engineering really, because despite featuring the typically jacked-up ride height of most normal SUVs, it manages to remain flat and to keep its grip through even the tightest bends like a car half its size. This is due to the many revisions the chaps at M Sport have made to the chassis, the clever xDrive all-wheel-drive system, uprated brakes and the excellent Dynamic Damper Control, which stiffens the suspension at the press of a button. There are also no fewer than ten radiators to ensure the big fella doesn't overheat during particularly strenuous shakedowns.
What other neat gadgets does it have?
As with all M cars, the X6 features a number of adjustable performance settings. Drivers can select either Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus modes for the suspension, steering and throttle response via a switch near the gear lever. The difference between the modes is phenomenal, with the SUV cruising quietly in Comfort, yet happily keeping up with none other than ex-Formula 1 ace Timo Glock around the Circuit of the Americas. It helps that the super smooth eight-speed automatic transmission is a dream to live with, too.
Hang on, Timo Glock was driving that around a race circuit?
Yes he was, and he seemed to be enjoying it very much. The German maestro was encouraging us to push the X6 M harder and harder around the very tricky circuit, reassuring us that while it may not look like a track demon, it handles superbly.
How much does it cost?
It's a staggering £93,070, which will undoubtedly come as a major blow to most, but it is over £20,000 cheaper than the equally potent Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. The two vehicles are as obnoxious as each other, but there's no denying they are shockingly quick.
What's the big Beemer like on the inside?
It's pretty luxurious, featuring loads of hand-stitched leather and bits of carbon trim, but it does look a little bit disjointed in places. Headroom in the rear has been improved over the outgoing model but boot space remains laughable and visibility is still pretty poor. Customers will get the latest version of BMW ConnectedDrive, which is one of the most intuitive infotainment systems currently on sale. There's also a cool M-specific head-up display option that features a digital speed display, gear display, rev band and shift lights for a true Gran Turismo experience.
Can it go off-road?
Erm, are you joking? It does feature BMW's xDrive system that is capable of applying 100% power to the front or rear wheels - or a mix of the two - meaning you could theoretically thrash it through a forest. But would you really want to do that in a £93,000 ballistic missile? We didn't think so.