It may look a little out of place in the countryside, but Charlie Flindt is impressed with the comfort and off-road capability of this great sounding mile-gobbler
It looks rather out of place in the yard at elevenses, but Charlie Flindt finds the BMW X6 xDrive 3.0d M Sport ends up very much at home on the farm.
For another that seemingly wouldn’t fit in but earned the flatcoats’ approval, read our review of the Range Rover Sport HST.
BMW X6 XDRIVE 3.0D M SPORT
I felt a bit sorry for the BMW X6. On its first day here, it served as the refreshment bus for the last day of the shooting season. So, come elevenses-time on a cold, damp January day, it sat slightly awkwardly in the old grain-store yard, surrounded by iffy pick-ups and panel vans, while some of Hampshire’s gnarliest Guns and beaters gave it a fairly hard time.
Can’t blame them. It’s a typical, modern, high-end SUV, which means it’s more coupe shaped than cavernous transporter. The boot has a low roof and a high floor. There’s no spare tyre underneath, either. And buying your own isn’t an easy option as the X6 has different wheel sizes front and back. There was no way we would let loose the pack of six springers in there.
The back seats have the same problem. The roof is low, so it’s ‘heads down’ to get in, and you become quite intimate with the tops of your knees. I’m not sure how long journeys would pan out for the dodgy-hip brigade. The front is similar in the ‘heads down’ department, but once you’ve swivelled and sat, it’s a fine – if slightly claustrophobic –place to be. The seats are good enough to be unscrewed and used indoors, and the view forward is first-rate. Thick pillars don’t help the rear view and the tiny rear window doesn’t improve matters.
At the end of the day, I thought I’d make use of the longer evening to check out some unsown ground and give the X6’s off-road credentials a bit of a workout. I was genuinely surprised. Yes, you need your reading glasses to tweak a few suspension settings but even on the most supermarkety of supermarket tyres, it breezed its way up the hill to Clump field. It took all of five seconds of inspection to decide the clay was indeed saturated, which was lucky. Any longer than that and I feared the two-ton-plus X6 might sink if it stayed still. But it made it home in time for shoot tea — even if the pristine white paint was somewhat less pristine.
A couple of days later, it had one more job to do: the traditional end-of-season and usually fruitless search for a new gun. I did 200 miles round some southern counties, loving the X6’s long-leggedness. It’s a great-sounding mile-gobbler on the dual carriageways, although I was grateful I wasn’t filling up at the end of the journey. Some of the market towns and their ’60s car parks proved a challenge (sorry for kerbing the nearside-front alloy, BMW), but I did enjoy the voice-activated satnav to get from one town to another. Sure enough, I arrived home with my little Browning Skeet untraded-in but with my back, unusually, in perfect nick. I told you the seats were good.
It was the worried text from my neighbour – and keen Neighbourhood Watcher – that summed up the X6’s week on the farm best: “There’s a huge white thing driving over your field. Is it yours?”
It ended up being very much at home – even if it didn’t look quite right.
BMW X6 XDRIVE 3.0D M SPORT
♦ Engine: 2,993cc diesel
♦ Max power: 265hp
♦ Max speed: 124mph
♦ Performance, 0 to 62: 6.5 seconds
♦ Combined fuel economy: 34.9 to 36.7mpg
♦ Insurance group: 50
♦ Price: £63,840