Making an M version of the X6 seemed an impossible challenge, but BMW proved it could be done. The X6 M handles like a much smaller car. But now BMW is coming out with an X6 M powered by a diesel engine, as if its engineers are constantly seeking a higher mountain to climb. Along with the X6 M diesel, BMW has also come up with the X5 M50d and two 5 Series M diesels, all using the same engine.

Back to the 2012 Geneva auto show.

Updated:
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by:

The engine that gives this X6 its M badge is a 3-liter straight six-cylinder engine, pretty standard stuff for a diesel. But the secret sauce is three turbochargers, two low-pressure and one-high pressure. Total output comes up to 381 horsepower and, wait for it, 545 pound-feet of torque. It is that sort of twist that gets the X6 M50d to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

Back to the 2012 Geneva auto show.

Updated:
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by:

The suede seats and interior appointments certainly give the cabin a premium sports feel. But hunting around, there was no evidence of an M button, that toggle which in other BMW M cars turns mild-mannered transportation into a ravenous monster.

Back to the 2012 Geneva auto show.

Updated:
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by:

BMW says the X6 M50d hits maximum torque by 2,000rpm. As redline is at 5,500rpm, expect a lot of quick shifts from its standard eight-speed automatic transmission. The X6 M50d is supposed to achieve fuel economy in the low 30s, although that is most likely a highway number.

Back to the 2012 Geneva auto show.

Updated:
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by:

The engine is only part of the story in any BMW M car. Handling also needs to be superior. The X6 M50d comes standard with BMW's adaptive suspension technology, which helps make the standard X6 M such an impressive performer. But there are strangely few buttons for drive modes on the console. The simple Sport button seems all that is required to activate M power.

Back to the 2012 Geneva auto show.

Updated:
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

Big stars on small screens

Smosh tells CNET what it took to make it big online

Internet sensations Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla discuss how YouTube has changed and why among all their goals, "real TV" isn't an ambition.

Hot Products