Category: SUVs

Mercedes-AMG has revealed its latest toasty four-door coupe, with the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe promising 603 horsepower along with an unexpected degree of off-road performance. Taking the GLE as its starting point, AMG throws in its 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo with EQ Boost, and thus cuts the SUV’s 0-60 mph time to 3.7 seconds.

Top speed is 174 mph, meanwhile, with the GLE 63 S Coupe offering 627 lb-ft of torque between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. A fair chunk of that comes from EQ Boost, Mercedes’ 48-volt electric starter-generator: that’s responsible for up to 184 lb-ft of torque, and up to 21 horsepower.

Outside, there’s a new AMG-specific grille in high-gloss chrome, paired with a jet-wing designed body-color front bumper. That gets black air intakes, while the front splitter is finished in silver chrome. Vehicle color side skirts, mirror housings, and wheel arch flares are standard, as are 22-inch AMG wheels.

At the back, there’s a new black diffuser with silver chrome trim, atop two rectangular high-gloss chrome tailpipes with an unusual fluted shape. The AMG Night Package will be an option, with tinted windows and black finish to the front splitter, front and rear bumper trim, side skirt inserts, mirror caps, and window frames. The package also gives the tailpipe trim a high-gloss black finish.

The engine should live up to the aesthetic. Mercedes-AMG puts the twin turbochargers inside the “V” of the eight-cylinder engine, for perkier performance, and pairs it with a 9-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT transmission and AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution. There’s speed-sensitive sports steering too – with driver-adjustable levels – while standard AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension can self-level the SUV as well as raise it for trickier terrain. Trail and Sand modes join the Sport, Sport+, Comfort, and RACE modes.

Indeed a whole lot of the 2021 GLE 63 S Coupe is about straddling performance, off-roading, and luxury. The transmission, for example, has an automatic double-declutch feature when downshifting, but can also switch into glide mode for better economy when you’re cruising. The V8 can automatically deactivate half of its cylinders to cut consumption, while the AMG Active Ride Control stabilization both cuts body roll when cornering aggressively and damps down on body motion when cruising on ill-kempt roads.

Inside, special nappa leather covers the AMG sports seats, with AMG badging; other leather is optional. AMG’s Performance steering wheel is standard, with aluminum shift paddles and a combination of leather and microfiber trim. AMG Drive Unit steering wheel buttons are standard, too.

In the center console, there are extra stitches for the 3-stage ESP, manual transmission mode, controlling the Adaptive Damping System, the AMG Performance exhaust system, and the vehicle level. AMG throws in brushed stainless steel sports pedals, door sill panels, and individually adjustable ambient lighting, too, along with some carbon fiber trim pieces. MBUX, Mercedes’ latest infotainment system, is standard, with AMG-specific displays.

Sales of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe will kick off in the US in fall 2020. Pricing will be confirmed closer to release.


2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe is a 174mph reminder that SUVs aren’t dull

Mercedes-AMG has revealed its latest toasty four-door coupe, with the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe promising 603 horsepower along with an unexpected degree of off-road performance.

VW ID. RUGGDZZ could add electric off-roader to “Icon” EVs

Volkswagen’s ID range could get a new, rugged crossover to help demonstrate that electrification isn’t just for the city, with a VW ID. RUGGDZZ tipped to join a flagship subset of the automaker’s EVs. Though production of the first ID only began recently, Volkswagen has a long list of potential models to add to it, based on its recent concept cars.


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Ford Bronco reveal imminent – and there’s a cunning plan

The new Ford Bronco could make its debut in March, insiders claim, the culmination of a lengthy teaser campaign for the SUV, and a baby brother is expected to follow shortly after. Returning a classic – and well-loved – nameplate to Ford dealer lots, the new Bronco is part of the automaker’s push to double-down on utility vehicles, which it has been prioritizing over more traditional (and…

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The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has a golden goose problem

The Escalade is Cadillac’s golden goose. Other models in the automaker’s range have struggled to find purchase, as it tries its best to pitch a vision of “American luxury” that will distract buyers from the German segment mainstays. Escalade demand, though – even as the outgoing model aged, and this replacement neared – has remained solid.


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2021 Cadillac Escalade official: Legendary SUV gets more space and tech

Cadillac has revealed the 2021 Escalade, the latest generation of its best-selling SUV, with a tech-packed cabin and a more eye-catching exterior. Perennially popular in Caddy’s line-up, the Escalade now grabs some of the automaker’s newest features like the second-generation Super Cruise system.


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2020 Genesis GV80 revealed: Luxury SUV stands out from the crowd

Genesis promised something big for its first luxury SUV, and the 2020 Genesis GV80 certainly delivers. Unveiled in South Korea this week, the newest addition to the automaker’s range borrows from the striking styling of the redesigned G80 sedan, combining it with seating for up to seven. The “V” in the name, Genesis says, stands for “Versatility.”


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Land Rover’s 2020 Defender doubles the eSIM for smarter OTA updates

eSIM is coming to cars, with Land Rover announcing that the 2020 Defender will pull up with not one but two LTE modems onboard. The rebooted classic SUV already showed off some of its tech upgrades ahead of its arrival in dealerships later this year, but now Land Rover is digging deeper into its new infotainment system.


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Even before the arrival of Mercedes-Benz’s all-new compact 2020 GLB SUV, the German automaker has a full eight sport utility vehicles for the US market. The GLB takes it to nine SUVs in total, which is more than what I was expecting before I double-checked to compensate for my aging memory. That’s a whole lot of options if you want a luxury truck, and a very broad range when it comes to size and abilities: the GLB happens to be the seventh car to utilize Mercedes’ new compact car platform, the same architecture as found under the A-Class and CLA coupe.

The new GLB is intended to slot nicely between the GLA – itself due for a refresh next year – and the GLC SUV. To my mind, though, the GLB is for those who want a small SUV with the retro-inspired looks of the magnificent G-Class – all without leaving you bankrupt.

Whereas the GLA and GLC (like many other crossovers and SUVs) all feature sweeping rooflines, the GLB is the exact opposite. Instead you’re getting a baby G-Class, only without the $120k price tag, and that’s all for the better. For starters, I’m an old school kind of guy, and I like my SUVs to look precisely like the Defenders and Land Cruisers of the past. And by that, I’m referring to a conventional two-box shape to give the vehicle an upright and butch proportion. “The GLB really expands our portfolio here,” said Rob Moran, Director of Communications for Mercedes-Benz USA. “But I think what’s significant about this car is not only does it have three rows of seats, but it also has that traditional two-box SUV look to it.”

Rarely do I get excited about a new SUV. Unless the thing is packing some nifty tech or perhaps a ridiculously powerful engine, I’m a firm believer that sport utility vehicles have reached a saturation point. There’s only so much power and tech you can cram into what is really a family box on wheels, but the GLB made me feel differently. Finally, here’s a small SUV worth considering that wasn’t given a coupe-like profile, and it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s like the sensation of seeing the Suzuki Jimny – which Suzuki still refuses to bring to America – after getting watery eyes from looking at Honda CR-Vs all day long.

Unlike the Jimny, the GLB doesn’t eschew practicality in favor of style and off-road prowess. A full 5-inches longer than the GLA, it’s still 1.7-inches shorter than the GLC; unlike both of those SUVs, which are each proper five-seaters, the GLB has the option for seven-seat flexibility. “If you look at the interior room, the GLB actually has the most front headroom of all our entry cars,” Bernie Glaser, Head of Product Management at Mercedes-Benz USA, points out. “In the GLB, you get exactly 41-inches of headroom in the front to give a very spacious impression. And the wheelbase is 111-inches, and that’s the longest wheelbase of any of our compact cars as we call them.”

With that long wheelbase comes more rear legroom, a larger cargo area, and a more compliant ride. In fact, rear legroom in the GLC is at 38-inches, which is quite impressive for a small SUV. Should you need more, the sliding second-row seat can either push backward or forward by six inches to accommodate either longer legs or cargo. All that said, space in the $850 optional third row remains at a moderate premium: Mercedes suggests it’s roomy enough to accommodate adults up to 5’6 tall, but I’d really think of it more for children, wiry teenagers, or your pet dogs.

Should you manage to fit actual humans in the back, they can enjoy their drinks and charge their smartphones courtesy of standard cupholders and USB-C charging ports. Indeed, Mercedes-Benz is preaching the benefits of practicality in the new GLB SUV, highlighted by the flexible seating configuration and roomy cargo space in the back. With the rear seats in the normal position, the GLB has 20 cubic-feet of cargo room. But if you fold the second-row seats down, you have more than 62 cubic feet of room to carry larger items like mountain bikes, skis, and enough sporting equipment to last an entire season. The GLB also comes with a power liftgate as standard, to ease the frustration of loading and unloading heavier stuff.

Only time will tell but, from the look of it, the new Mercedes-Benz GLB will have established itself as a small, mildly rugged, and eminently practical compact SUV. It also gets an impressive list of standard features, including the latest version of MBUX with voice control, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and a 7-inch center touchscreen display, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels with all-season run-flat tires, dual-zone climate control, and a leather steering wheel with paddle shifters and touch control buttons.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB is offered in two trim levels, both of which start at below $39k. The front-wheel drive GLB 250 starts at $36,600 (excluding $995 destination and delivery charges) while the all-wheel drive GLB 250 4MATIC with AWD starts at $38,600. Both use a sprightly 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, producing 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Most important, peak torque is accessible from 1,800 all the way to 4,000 rpm, which gives the smaller gas motor the sensation of a torque-rich diesel. That’ll have to make up for the fact that the US won’t be getting a diesel GLB anytime soon. Most buyers, I suspect, won’t notice or care that from a dead stop it’s not terribly zippy: once you get it going, it feels much faster. 0 to 60 mph arrives in 6.9 seconds.

Standard on both front- and all-wheel drive models is an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. That does a great job of executing fast and sportier shifts without the excessive jerkiness and hesitation at lower speeds, a common complaint against the older seven-speed unit. The steering is properly weighted although it still borders on the lighter side of the spectrum; again, I can’t see the target audience complaining. Of particular note is the weighting of the pedals, delivering S-Class levels of feel, while the ride comfort is comparable to an A-Class albeit with more wind noise courtesy of that delicious boxy style.

In short, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB is more than worthy of brandishing the three-pointed star logo. It manages to offer higher doses of comfort, practicality, luxury, and driving engagement befitting of a true Mercedes. Being a modern Merc, meanwhile, the GLB is littered with the latest in driver assistance technology including active distance assist with route-based speed adaptation, active steering assist, and active lane change assist among many others. Just remember to budget $2,250 more for the Driver Assistance Package.

Even with that in mind, the GLB is surprisingly good value, especially considering we’re living in a world where a Honda CR-V in Touring spec starts at around $34,000 and a Mazda CX-5 Signature starts at under $37,000. “Part of our strategy with the CLA five years ago was to get folks that were not going to consider a Mercedes to buy a Mercedes vehicle,” comms director Moran explains. “When the CLA came out about 70-percent of customers were brand new to Mercedes, so they were defecting from non-luxury brands. Since then, we’re proud to report that 65-percent of those folks that did have a CLA came back and purchased another Mercedes.”

As strategies go, then, the GLB is clearly working. More importantly, the gateway SUV to Mercedes ownership doesn’t look, feel, or drive like a compromise.


2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB First Drive Review: 3-row SUV is compact not compromised

Even before the arrival of Mercedes-Benz’s all-new compact 2020 GLB SUV, the German automaker has a full eight sport utility vehicles for the US market.

Purity is a concept the Lamborghini Urus has little time for, and rightly so. On paper, SUV body aside, it checks off all the boxes fans of the automaker have come to expect: ridiculous power, fiendishly clever engineering, and performance as high as its price tag. If you’re getting hung up on the four doors and seating for up to five, you’re missing the point.

It’s fair to say that there’s some snobbery about the Urus. “It’s not a real Lamborghini” is the most common complaint, often followed by the more specific “Lamborghini shouldn’t make SUVs.” Running through it all is the idea that, by making a four-door utility vehicle, the Italians have “sold out” and prioritized profits over heritage.

Clearly, there’s an excellent business model for expanding into SUVs. Lamborghini can’t have missed just how well models like the Cayenne and Macan did for VW Group stablemate Porsche: they, too, were roundly criticized by purists upon their respective launches. They’ve also gone on to become Porsche’s best-selling vehicles, underwriting production of smaller volume models like the 911, and if the brand zealots haven’t quite been convinced then their complaints are at the very least drowned out by the sound of the cash registers ringing.

What Lamborghini could have done, frankly, would be to take something like the Audi Q7 or the Porsche Cayenne, drop some angular bodywork on top, slap on some raging bull logos, and call it a day. That it didn’t – that the Urus really does feel like a Lamborghini from behind the wheel – is a testament to just how good it is.

Styling is objective. Personally, I like the pumped-up-Aventador look, though I think it’s success is very color dependent. Lighter colors, like white and yellow, can leave it looking fussy and over-detailed; the weird bobble-ended whiskers in the lower fascia are a good example of that. Darker hues are more flattering.

Inside, meanwhile, it’s a mixture of classic Lamborghini, some bizarre detailing, and, yes, some parts-bin sharing with Audi. The center console is a reminder that Lamborghini has never met a surface it doesn’t deem worthy of extra creasing. The vents and switchgear are sculpted and embellished. Audi donates its twin-touchscreen infotainment system, tweaked a little up top with some custom graphics; yes, the critics may scoff, but if you’ve going to borrow software then this is at least a decent system to crib from.

That goes for the virtual cockpit-esque digital instrumentation, and the steering wheel buttons which are what you could expect to find in an Audi A4. Clearly Lamborghini spent more time on the paddle shifters, which are oversized slices of machined metal that could each double as a Batarang. Weirdest flourish of all is the cluster of transmission and drive mode controls, as though the levers from some luxury yacht have been repurposed as a robot’s codpiece.

It’s outlandish and in places over-embellished, sure, but there’s also room for a family and their luggage (though not, it’s reasonable to point out, a vast amount of that room). “Practical” and “Lamborghini” has typically meant a vehicle that elects not to strand you at the side of the road. Since being welcomed into the warm, teutonic embrace of VW Group, reliability is up, but don’t confuse that with a sacrifice of performance.

Yes, dig deep under the Urus and you’ll find a platform shared with the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, and Bentley Bentayga. No, it doesn’t feel like any of them from behind the wheel.

There’s 4.0-liters of twin-turbocharged V8 to play with, good for 641 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. No manual, just an excellent eight-speed automatic. All the better for the quoted 0-62 mph time of 3.6 seconds, and on to a top speed of 190 mph. All that, may I remind you, from an SUV.

In the default Strada mode, the Urus is tamed just enough for the street. Tug the lever and you notch through Sport and then Corsa modes, each ramping up the power, sharpening the handling and the suspension, and generally leaving the Urus more aggressive. Unlike in a Huracan, though, there are also Terra and Neve modes for off-road and snow, respectively. Not something I needed in San Francisco, true, but a reminder that – like its 7,000 pound towing rating – there’s more to this Lamborghini than most.

The soundtrack is, you’ll be reassured to hear, present and entirely correct. Growling and barking and crackling, building to a throbbing howl as you rocket toward the near-7k redline. Then there’s the grip (prodigious) and the ride (unflappably level), again belying the fact that this is not only an SUV, but one which tips the scales at 4,800 pounds.

The standard air suspension helps there, as does the huge Pirelli P-Zero rubber. Lamborghini throws in rear-wheel steering as well, counter-turning at lower speeds for a tighter radius and mimicking the front at higher speeds for more stable maneuvers. Combined with torque vectoring, the Urus pivots its meaty rump in ways no other truck can. In turn, it encourages you to push harder, to play more.

The flip side to that is a braking system fit for, well, a Lamborghini sports car. If you can put the $204k starting price out of your mind for long enough to leave slowing until the very last moment, the Urus rewards that pluck with the sort of shedding of pace that normally comes with parachutes flying out the back.

I’d be lying if I said that the Urus’ reception was universally positive. If there is A Certain Type of person who drives a Lamborghini, and Another Certain Type who drives a big, luxury SUV, then occupying the center of that exclusive Venn diagram doesn’t always win you approval. Perhaps the Italians need to borrow the Bentayga’s plug-in hybrid tech, just to be entirely sure of prompting Tesla drivers’ fury when they see you pulling into an EV-only space.

At least, though, that vitriol is somewhat deserved. The Urus is profligate, and unapologetic, and brash, just like a Lamborghini should be. You buy into that when you take the keys. What it’s not is anything less than a true Lamborghini. Silhouette be damned; there’s only one badge this SUV could wear.


The Lamborghini Urus demands your respect

Purity is a concept the Lamborghini Urus has little time for, and rightly so. On paper, SUV body aside, it checks off all the boxes fans of the automaker have come to expect: ridiculous power, fiendishly clever engineering, and performance as high as its price tag.

The 2020 BMW X6 excels in the very niche it created more than ten years ago. Back then, the first-gen X6 was polarizing, to say the least. But it found its way into garages of people who embraced the concept of a sportier type of SUV: in fact, the X6 has been one of BMW’s best sellers for the past decade or so, and hence the introduction of an all-new third-generation X6 to carry that torch.

It’s no secret the X6 is equipped with the underpinnings of an X5. That’s a normal-looking SUV that, ironically, also created the on-road SUV niche, a type of people mover that looks like an SUV but feels more at home on regular roads. The hallmark of an X6 is the diminishing roofline, sloping over the rear quarters like in a sports car.

In the new X6, the roofline is lower still, which means a sportier design and a more streamlined rear end, neither as bulbous nor as voluptuous as previous generations of the X6. The sloping shape also means less rear headroom along with a smaller cargo area, of course. That said, I didn’t feel cramped when I sat in the back for a short stint as we drove to BMW’s performance driving school for their annual test fest.

Even if it did feel a little snug in the back, I’m fine with it: I suspect all X6 buyers will be fully aware that their sporty SUV eschews practicality in favor of athleticism. The dimensional changes aren’t all downward, either: the 2020 X6 is an inch longer and more than half an inch wider than the previous model. It also has a longer wheelbase for added legroom, which is an attempt to compensate for the diminished rear headroom, and it works. Also, despite being marginally longer, it also happens to sit lower to the ground by 0.7 inches, giving it a lower center of gravity and a speedier profile, which I really like.

The X6 once had the market to itself, but it now faces an onslaught of competitors in the form of Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe and Mercedes-Benz’s GLE Coupe. Resting on its laurels won’t win BMW any sales. For all intent and purposes – and with the acknowledgement that, yes, design is subjective – this third-generation X6 is the better-looking of the bunch. It still has a rather large and awkward rear end, but the lower and curvier roof has given the back treatment more suitable proportions. It also grew a larger pair of kidney grilles, which fits the personality of the X6. Equally humongous 20-inch alloys are standard and fill the wheel arches nicely, lending an aggressive stance, but larger 21-inch or 22-inch alloys are optional if you want to get sportier still.

There are three versions of the 2020 BMW X6. The base model is the $64,300 rear-wheel-drive sDrive40i powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-six producing 335-horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Next is the $66,600 xDrive40i, powered by the same turbocharged inline-six but with all-wheel-drive. The RWD model goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2-seconds while the AWD does it fractionally slower at 5.3-seconds. I spent the most time in the third model on the road and racetrack; a more potent X6 M50i that – at $85,650 – is equipped with a twin-turbocharged V8 lifted from the new 8-Series M850i.

The V8 churns out 523-horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, enough to push the X6 from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1-seconds, more than enough to shame sports cars and fast sedans. And when you think about it, that’s approximately 78 more horsepower than the previous X6 V8, so I’m talking about a massive leap in performance. But then again, you also get those engines in an X5, and I’m curious how it all translates in the X6. And before I forget, all engines are mated to an eight-speed gearbox. The xDrive model I drove also comes with an electronic rear M Sport differential, which optimizes the transferring of torque between the left and right rear wheels.

True enough, it was exactly what I was expecting: the X6 feels remarkably similar to an X5, which again is not a bad thing especially with a burly V8 motor under the hood. All I can say is the X6 M50i has more than enough power to excite normal, everyday drivers. At the same time, the V8-powered X6 can be just as easy to drive at slow to moderate speeds as an X5.

With this much power on tap, though, it helps to know a thing or two about performance driving when you’re pushing the X6 to the limit. Stabbing the throttle pushed me back hard enough to make me think that I was driving a high-powered muscle car. The feeling was magnified by a magnificent soundtrack courtesy of the angry V8 and quad exhaust pipes, but the sound is not as raucous or as mechanical as in a muscle car. On the track, thanks to the excellent XDrive AWD system and the M Sport differential, it’s easy to recover the nose of the vehicle after missing the apex, the result of relishing the pure and unadulterated shove of that glorious turbocharged V8.

Hard on the brakes, give it a dab of the throttle, and the vehicle sorts itself out, pointing the nose towards the direction of the curve. At this point, all I had to do was to unwind the steering, push the throttle hard, and hold on for dear life as the turbochargers wind up. Many times, I had to remind myself I’m in an SUV and not in an 8-Series. The new BMW X6 serves up tons of grip and feels light on its feet despite weighing 2.5 tons, but you need to have a firm hand and quick reflexes to catch the back of the X6 on a steep and winding curve. If anything, the AWD system makes the vehicle feel more exciting and safer to drive.

Equipped with a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension with standard dynamic damper control, the ride is firm yet unobtrusive. It manages to float over road bumps like in an SUV, but there’s always a hint of sportiness (read: firmness) in the overall setup. Thankfully, BMW’s excellent two-axle air suspension with automatic self-leveling is an option if you can’t stand some ruffled tail feathers in your X6. If you’re really pining for a sporty driving experience, the optional Dynamic Handling Package comes complete with active roll stabilization and active steering to significantly improve handling and stability around corners. My tester came with all that, and it works when you need it most. Body lean is not as pronounced when entering a corner, giving you the confidence to wind it up more aggressively without fear of losing control – unless you’re really breaching the limits of adhesion.

In a nutshell, the 2020 BMW X6 is one heck of a driving machine. If you’re onboard with the styling, it’s a more eye-catching X5 with some proper attitude for show.

Dislikes? While light and easy to turn when parking or making a three-point turn, the steering is not as responsive for my driving preference, most especially behind the wheel of the V8-powered X6 M50i. The tiller seems unprecise and lumpy, disconnected, and quite frankly a bit numb when driving aggressively. This might have something to the vehicle’s optional 22-inch wheels, but I’m not trying to compare the X6 with an M8 in terms of driving feel. Also, I wish the dashboard felt less cluttered with its bevy of buttons and switches. I find this ironic given the infotainment and vehicle systems can be accessed through gesture controls, voice commands, or by pressing some buttons on the steering wheel.

However, the X6 is still an SUV – or as BMW calls it, an SAV or sports-activity vehicle – so we need to talk about the interior and cargo room. That sloping roofline is not helping the cause, but you still get 27.4 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats in the upright position. Folding the rear seats down gives you around 60 cubic feet of space, which is not bad given the sporting shape of the X6, although it fails in comparison to the X5 with around 34 cubic feet with seats up and 74 cubic feet with the rear seats down.

Considering the X5 has a lower base price than the X6, it seems you’re giving up more than practicality and rear headroom in choosing the X6. But, as I said before, that’s not the point.

Say what you want about the 2020 BMW X6. Once you get to drive it – most especially the M50i – all pretensions are laid to rest. Sure, a large part of the sporty driving feel has something to do with the steeply raked windshield and curving roofline, and you’ll need X-ray vision to see out the back with its ridiculously small rear window. But, after getting a whiff of the premium leather-lined interior and hearing the burbling exhaust note in the X6, stepping hard on the gas pedal becomes second nature.

2020 BMW X6 First Drive Review: Nobody tell this SUV it’s not a sports car

The 2020 BMW X6 excels in the very niche it created more than ten years ago. Back then, the first-gen X6 was polarizing, to say the least.