2009 BMW X6 xDrive50i

A friend of mine (who doesn't follow the latest in foreign-car news and new products) visited when I had the X6 parked in my driveway. "It looks like a NASCAR racer and an SUV had a baby," he said as he walked in my front door. "Those tires are huge, though!"

Indeed. The NASCAR-like swoopy roofline is quite distinctive. I didn't realize that the roof swoops so much at the front end of the X6, though, until I -- just like Joe D and his passengers -- hit my head on the roof while climbing into the front seat. Trust me, that doesn't happen often when you're only five-foot-six.

The superwide, twenty-inch tires that my buddy noted do their job quite well, helping this 5300-pound behemoth handle remarkably. Still, you can definitely feel the immense weight of the vehicle when you turn into a corner. I'm anxious to drive the M version, because at this point, I'm finding it hard to believe that the X6 can somehow be made to feel nimble.

I agree with Phil: somehow the 4.4-liter turbo V-8 seems especially raw in this application, and it has a very appealing, strong exhaust note. The engine doesn't really feel turbocharged necessarily, but it certainly has power to spare.

In other news, this old iDrive system brings to light the vast (and vastly necessary) improvements made in the newest 7-series. Also, cargo space in the back isn't as bad as I expected, and there's even a handy, spacious "basement" under the cargo-area floor (where the spare would be if this car didn't have run-flat tires).

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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