More than usual in a road test, it seems important to think about fitness for purpose with the BMW X6. Does the world really need a car with such large external dimensions that has such limited interior space?

Given the size and weight of the car, it handles with an alacrity that’s more in keeping with a 3-series coupé (which has a similar amount of space inside). BMW’s engines are a delight to use, whichever one you choose. And while none of them could be described as particularly frugal, they stack up well against rivals.

The only real disappointments are that it is not lighter, more frugal and that it doesn’t ride as well as it should. Having said that, it is hard to deny that in all other respects it’s excellent

Where the X6 falls behind, though, is on interior space and ride comfort. Neither a Porsche Cayenne nor a Range Rover Sport is particularly spacious or comfortable to ride in the back of, but they offer space for five (the X6 has only four seats) and head room in the back isn’t a problem. Nor can the X6 match its rivals’ ride quality. The X6 simply feels too rigid to provide any form of ride comfort.

So, what has BMW achieved? It has taken a sound platform with a smattering of all-road ability and given it truly excellent on-road agility and performance. It has given the X6 looks that are, if nothing else, distinctive, and it retains sufficient interior space for those who don’t routinely carry dogs or adults. Above all, it has made a car people want. The only real disappointments are that it is not lighter, it is not more frugal and that it doesn’t ride as well as it should. Having said that, it is hard to deny that in all other respects it’s excellent.

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