2015 BMW X6
The original BMW X6, introduced in 2008, was a shocking vehicle, a jacked-up four-door hatchback that created its own genre. BMW called it a sports activity coupe, which is as good a description as any. The second-generation car, new for 2015, hews to the same formula: more expensive and stylish than an X5, less practical.
BMW held the X6's international launch at its plant in Greer, South Carolina, which builds X6s for worldwide consumption. As such, the parking lot had plenty of forbidden foreign fruit, but I resisted temptation and drove the xDrive50i. With its two turbos, the 50i's 4.4-liter V-8 is good for 445 horsepower. A new rear-wheel-drive six-cylinder model will appeal to people who want an X6 but don't need four-season traction. The rear-wheel-drive model starts at $60,550, with the all-wheel-drive V-8 beginning at $73,850.
In keeping with those rather heady prices, the X6 puts on a good show inside and out. The xLine package covers nearly every interior surface with leather. The Bang & Olufsen stereo system looks as good as it sounds. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard, but the optional bigger wheels fully realize this car's Paris-to-Dakar-by-way-of-Rodeo-Drive aesthetic. Active cruise control works in stop-and-go traffic up to speeds of 130 miles per hour, where the X6 feels right at home. This is a heavy, Autobahn-crushing fortress of a machine.
No, the X6 still can't justify its existence by any rational measure. But the last one sold more than 260,000 units worldwide and inspired copycats such as the Acura ZDX and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Some of the most interesting cars don't fit into categories. They make their own.