The BMW X6 M50d has arrived in Australia as the first in a wave of new M Performance vehicles that are essentially a diluted version of the German car maker’s high-power, flagship models.
BMW says the M Performance models will fill a gap between the top end versions of its regular models and its renowned high-performance cars and SUVs produced by M Gmbh.
The new M50d arrives as part of an update to the X6 range and its price tag of $157,000 positions it between the $150,400 X6 50i and $190,900 X6 M.
BMW says the new M Performance series, which will be expanded later this year with an M135i variant of its 1-Series range, will have a different level of appeal to the full M models.
“The pure M cars are for car enthusiasts who place emphasis on dynamics, possibly with racetrack applications, as their primary reason for purchase,” says BMW Australia spokesman Piers Scott. “The M Performance vehicles aim to have more scope to be a commuter car and to have an eye on fuel economy.
“The [M Performance range] will be more things to more people.
“We’re confident M Performance will attract new customers by opening up a new category – previously there was a substantial gap between top end BMW models and M [vehicles].
Scott says the M Performance sub-brand also provides BMW with comparable models for Audi’s popular sporty S range, because the main M cars were direct rivals only to Audi’s higher-performance, higher-priced RS models.
BMW admits there’s less input into the M Performance models from its M high-performance division, which builds its models – such as the M3 and M5 – from the ground up.
The M Performance models are modified versions of the variants that sit at the top of the regular series production models.
The BMW X6 M50d, however, boasts the world’s most power six-cylinder diesel engine, according to the car maker.
It produces 280kW of power – and 740Nm of torque – from a familiar 3.0-litre straight-six engine that gets its performance boost from three turbochargers.
That propels the BMW X6 M50d from 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds – a tenth quicker than the X6 50i but 0.6sec slower than the full-blown M version of the coupe-like SUV, the X6 M that’s powered by a 408kW/680Nm 4.4-litre V8.
With the engine allied with a ZF eight-speed auto that has almost spread throughout the entire BMW line-up, the X6 M50d also offers respectable fuel consumption of 7.7 litres per 100km.
The BMW X6 M50d gains other points of differentiation to models below it.
The exterior includes a ‘powerdome’ bonnet bulge (shared with the X6 M), an M50d badge on the rump, 20-inch ‘M’ alloy wheels, and slatted side air vents that ditch foglights so they can be larger for feeding more air to the intercoolers.
Inside the X6 M50d gains uprated interior trim and M-embossed door sills and seats, with the latter made from a combination of Alcantara and Nappa leather.
The BMW X6 M50d will be joined by a twin in August, the BMW X5 M50d that features exactly the same tri-turbo diesel engine and is priced from $147,000. BMW says it will account for more sales than the X6 version.
The regular X6 is also outsold by the regular X5, by a ratio of 1 to 10.
A BMW 5-Series fitted with the 280kW diesel is also available in Europe but is currently ruled out for Australia because the BMW M550d xDrive is built in left-hand drive only.
The BMW X6 M has also been given some new standard additions along with a $5500 price increase, now featuring internet connectivity and five seats (as with the rest of the X6 range).
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for a review of the new BMW X6 M50d.
2012 BMW X6 range
BMW X6 xDrive30d $110,900
BMW X6 xDrive35i $121,000
BMW X6 xDrive40d $127,400
BMW X6 xDrive50i $150,400
BMW X6 M50d $157,000
BMW X6 M $190,900