BMW has always taken a quiet approach to mid-life refreshments of its vehicles, even down to the term it uses to describe them. Where pretty much everyone else calls it a facelift, BMW prefer the term “Life Cycle Impulse” or LCI for short (and because they also love acronyms…)

So when it came time for the big ol’ X6 to be on the receiving end of an “Impulse”, no one would have been expecting huge changes. Which is just as well, because there haven’t been any. Not to say that there haven’t been changes, just nothing particularly huge. Unless you count the huge (and optional) bonnet bulge that has sprouted up as part of the refresh.

BMW call the bulge a “powerdome”, which has a wonderfully Devo-ish ring to it, and therefore, is now my new favourite automotive term and should always be written in all caps and with an exclamation mark, because it is just one of those phrases, like BOOM!, TUCK AND ROLL! and MORE BEER!, that are always better when shouted.

The POWERDOME! brings absolutely nothing to the X6, apart from making it look bulgier and more aggressive, and therefore even more ridiculous than before. But that is a good thing, because while I have never quite been able to see the point of a coupe-style version of a perfectly good SUV (the X5) but with less room, practicality and visibility, I have always thought that the sillier the X6 has become – regarding looks and engines jammed into it – the better and more appealing it has become.

And the POWERDOME! is no exception to this rule.

It is helped by the fact that under the POWERDOME! lurks BMW’s brilliant 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with the wick wound up to make it an xDrive40d, because bigger numbers in badges just mean more power in BMWland these days.

With 225kW and a stonking 600Nm, the 40d does not hang around when the loud pedal is applied vigorously. In fact it fair leaps off the line and hauls arse up to the legal limit in a startling 6.5 seconds. And well beyond, if you so wish.

The X6 still handles exactly like it shouldn’t, by being remarkably nimble, stable and chuckable for such a towering beast. It goes around corners with minimal body roll and comes out of them with maximum thrust as the brilliant xDrive 4WD system simply pours the immense torque onto the tarmac.

So what has changed? Well, they have now added a middle seat to the rear, making it a massive car than can now actually seat five people. There is also a new BMW kidney grille, standard adaptive full-LED headlights (excluding 30d), repositioned fog lamps, LED taillights, a range of new colours, the new 30d engine variant and new 19-inch and 20-inch wheel designs.

Plus, of course, the POWERDOME! which is a $1,300 option and is so cool that, if you do buy an X6 and don’t option it, then you are clearly mental. Of course you may well be mental for buying one in the first place when there is a perfectly good X5 in existence.

But then car buying is rarely an entirely rational decision, especially for something worth $152,000 (or $163,200 for our optioned-up car). Just remember, if you are going to buy an X6, buy the silliest one you can afford and make sure you allow the extra $1,300 for a POWERDOME! because that almost makes it make sense.

Need to know

Price: $152,000 ($163,200 as tested)

Engine: 2993cc 6-cylinder diesel

Power/torque: 225kW/600Nm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

0-100km/h: 6.5 seconds

Fuel consumption: 7.7L/100km

CO2 emissions: 198g/km

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  • Back when I was a nipper Dear Damien, we had this frantically ugly car called an Allard. It was so brutishly ugly that it almost took on a beauty of its own. I think the X6 is a bit like that. But “xDrive40d” is just plain silly.

  • Damn, keep hitting the return button and sending my comment off into that other place before I am finished! The scariest looking X6 I have seen was a white one driven by the former BMWNZ boss with optional wheels that were six miles in diameter. — Allan Dick