2009 BMW X6 xDrive50i

The X6 xDrive50i strikes me as one of the most self-indulgent vehicles on the market. It's definitely a guilty pleasure, with its fuel-sucking, 400-hp, twin-turbo V-8 engine providing only 12 city, 18 highway mpg while carrying only four people.

For such a tall, heavy (some 5300-pound) SUV crossover to handle and accelerate as well as the X6 does is pretty amazing, to be sure. You feel the weight with every turn of the steering wheel, every jab of the accelerator pedal, and every impact of the tires on the road. But the suspension does a pretty remarkable job of providing ride comfort and handling stability. The twin-turbo V-8 engine, as we know from previous experience in the X6 and also in our Four Seasons BMW 750Li sedan, is an absolute marvel, despite sucking fuel prodigiously here. Acceleration to 100 mph is really quite amazing: our official testing figures are 0 to 60 mph in only 5.1 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in only 12.6 seconds, and a 13.6-second quarter mile @ 104 mph. These are figures one would expect for a serious sport sedan, not a big-and-tall crossover!

You need only glance at the X6 to know that it sacrifices utility for style, when compared with its close sibling, the X5. All of my front-seat passengers complained about hitting their heads on the roof when they climbed aboard. I ignored their complaints until I was a passenger myself and the same thing happened to me.

The trunk is absolutely huge. I picked up three people at the airport who were returning from a vacation in Italy, and the X6 swallowed all of their bags with no problem. Naturally, the rear hatch is power operated. The lift-over height is very high, no surprise given this vehicle's height.

The stereo is only okay; disappointing, really, for a $2000 premium sound system.

BMW likes to call the X6 its "sports activity coupe." Ha ha ha. Those Germans have quite a sense of humor. This is a high-riding, high-powered, high-style crossover SUV. It's completely over-the-top, and I can't help but like it in a way, but it makes me wonder about the viability of the new M version, which is even sportier and, of course, more expensive.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

New Car Research

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