2012 BMW X6 M Review

A review of the 2012 BMW X6 M that covers pros and cons, available options, powertrains and overall driving performance.

Imagine for a moment you're at the starting gate of the Kentucky derby, only you're riding a Brahma bull. The legendary race ensues and not only does the bull keep up, but indeed shows its hooves to most of the field of fancy horses. That's kind of what the 2012 BMW X6 M is like -- a bulky beast that somehow performs like a lighter, sleeker thoroughbred.

Unfortunately, as crossover sport-utility vehicles go, the X6 M also offers about the same amount of passenger space and cargo capacity as a bull. It is a 5,300-pound SUV that seats just four and offers less maximum cargo space than a Honda CR-V. Make no mistake, this high-performance crossover is not practical transportation but instead an automotive novelty item you might choose to add to your stable of exotic cars.

And it does make a statement. This ultra-performance version of the X6 sports brash styling, which augments the standard model's sweeping fastback roof line and bulging wheelwells with gaping front air inlets that look ready to ingest anything that dares to cross the X6 M's path. A 555-horsepower twin-turbo V8 backs up the menacing facade, and it's able to motivate the M's considerable mass with ridiculous ease. Acceleration is otherworldly for such a vehicle -- the 0-60-mph sprint takes just 4.3 seconds.

This marvel from BMW's M division also does a fine job getting around corners thanks to the use of every weapon in BMW's extensive arsenal of technology. The X6 M has such responsive handling that you'll never give a thought to its weight. Of course, a tight road will quickly give you a sense of paint-scraping anxiety as the bulky X6 passes perilously close to shrubs and canyon walls, but the capability for making time on a winding road is certainly there.

But in the end, we still can't get around the sheer nonsense of the 2012 BMW X6 M. It not only seats just four people (a child-size center perch for the backseat is optional), but also those in back must contend with limited headroom and a backrest that doesn't recline. And the X6 M's cargo capacity is far less than the mechanically similar X5 M. This sporty ute might cost less than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, but at nearly $100,000 with a handful of options, there are plenty of high-performance sport sedans and coupes that'll generate as many thrills.