Twin Turbo. V12. Aston Martin. Nuff said…
Twin Turbo. V12. Aston Martin. Nuff said…
Back in October, there was one car at Scarsdale that made everything look like a toy. Even the Ferraris and Jaguar sports cars trembled in its wake. It may not outrun the Corvettes, or the Z28 at teh show, but it will certainly sit in their rear view mirrors, making them tremble and wonder which politician’s palm they forgot to grease. Say hello to this big, mean, imposing 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 four-door hardtop. I did. Then I checked my messages to see if I’d forgotten about a sports book debt I owed.
Time to pay up.
The big teal thing you see here is a BMW X6 M, and it’s everything that’s right and everything that’s wrong with BMW sitting on the same four wheels. Think of it as a BMW M5 with AWD and more ground clearance. Being an X6, and not an X5, it’s also a “Coupe SUV,” which I still find very odd.
On a totally subjective level, I’m not a fan of the BMW X6. I’d even say it’s the flagship of everything I don’t like about the modern BMW brand. They’ve been over-segmenting like crazy, trying to carve the market into thinner and thinner slices, and the X6 is largely where it began.
It all started when Mercedes made the CLS, a beautiful sedan with the sleek design and style of a coupe. BMW saw how well it was received, and decided to try and do the same thing, but with a big SUV. The problem is SUVs aren’t sleek by nature, so the sloped roofline makes the X6 look bulbous and awkward from most angles. With such a large chunky profile, I just think the full roofline of the X5 looks a lot better. People seem to like the X6 because it’s different, but different isn’t always a good thing.
So, in my eyes, BMW was shooting for style, and they missed by a mile. Why, then, would anyone buy an X6 over an X5? Apparently I just don’t “get it.”
In an effort to try and understand the X6, I figured I’d take a spin in the ultimate BMW X6 M. It’s everything the X6 can be with an extra serving of horsepower and handling. If there were any way to make me come around to the BMW X6, driving this beast would surely be it.
First, come along for the ride…
You can buy many very nice things for half-a-million dollars. Most people think of that as a comfortable house, but in Greenwich, CT they think of it as just another car.
We spotted this Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead in traffic, and it was like a parade unto itself. We love seeing all those massive and majestic pre-war luxury cars at concours events, and Rolls Royce is the only company who still builds such cars today.
Amongst normal cars in traffic, this Phantom Drophead is quite a sight.
The Geneva Motor Show happened this week, and every year it’s like Christmas has come for the car industry.
Here are the highlights for me, and my thoughts on each…
Ferrari 812 Superfast
The front-engine V12 Ferraris are by far my favorite Ferraris. They have always been the ultimate expression of what a grand touring car can be, and their lineage goes all the way back to the beginning of Ferrari road cars in the early 1950s.
The 812 Superfast takes the insanity of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, and takes it up yet another notch. With damn near 800hp on tap from its still-naturally-aspirated-V12 engine, the 812 Superfast is now the ultimate GT car (really more of a supercar) that money can buy. I also think it looks absolutely manic, yet somehow still in an elegant sort of way.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
Do you think anyone ever imagined this when the Toyota Prius first came out? Hybrids were once pathetic little econo-boxes, but here is a 680hp Porsche Panamera with a hybrid system developed from the 918 hypercar. This is exactly how hybrid technology should be used. I want a 680hp bullet that can still get decent MPG when I’m not thrashing it. If nothing else, isn’t technology all about having your cake and eating it too?
This is the BMW X5 LM. It’s a prototype from the era before the super-SUVs of today, powered by the same V12 that propelled the BMW V12 LMR to victory at Le Mans. That’s 700hp and 531ft/lbs under the hood that made this the first sub-8-minute SUV around the Nurburgring. And this was all in 2000, years before Porsche made the Cayenne Turbo and set the SUV world ablaze with performance. However, as it turned out, the V12 from a Le Mans racecar didn’t make a very good production engine, so BMW never produced the X5 LM. Woe is us, but at least the prototype still exists.
I think this is the best-looking SUV on sale, and by a decent margin. BMW and Mercedes need to take notes, this is how you make an SUV look properly sleek. You don’t need some awkward “Coupe SUV” thing like the X6 or GLE Coupe. Instead of chopping off the rearward roof section, Land Rover’s designers chose to give the teardrop treatment to the entire SUV shape. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Even better, underneath, the Range Rover Velar shares its platform with the lovely-to-drive Jaguar F-Pace. The Jag handles great, and is a ton of fun on back roads, and I hope this Range Rover will retain that trait. Engine-wise buyers can choose between a turbo gas 4 cylinder, a diesel 4 cylinder, or the fun model with the 380hp supercharged V6.
The Range Rover Velar slots between the Range Rover Evoque and Ranger Rover Sport, competing with the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, and BMW X3/X4. It’s up against some decent competition, but with looks to kill, the Velar may have a leg up on the Germans. I was blown away by the style of the Evoque when it came out, but this takes the design past the next level.
I can’t wait to see the Velar in person because it will probably look even better than in photos.
Johnny and Carlos from Motor Trend take us for a spin in this topless off-roader to debate if it might just be cool.
I saw an orange one go by a few weeks ago, and I’ll be honest, I was digging it.
The Lexus LC seems like quite an elegant machine, but it also sounds the absolute business. Matt Farah takes us through it.
This is not so much a car as it is a rolling spa. Sure, I had some time behind the wheel of this new BMW G11 750i, but what really stuck in my mind was the massage I got while riding around in the back seat. It was pouring rain, we were stuck in a traffic jam, and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world if I could have. It’s an optional extra, but what’s an extra $7 grand for the pleasure of being able to have a heated, or cooled, massage everywhere you go? I could really go for one right now, as a matter of fact.
The new 750i may be a rolling spa, but it’s one that moves pretty good, too. BMW claims 445 hp and 480 ft/lbs of torque from its “Hot Vee” twin turbo V8, and that’s enough to propel your pampered ass from a snooze to a heart attack in just 4.3 seconds.
Really though, the G11 is the expected next step for the BMW 7 Series, nothing less, but nothing more either. It’s really nice, but they’ve all been nice over the years. It’s really fast, and handles well for a big limo, but again, same with every other 7 Series. The G11 is also full of lots of fancy, cutting edge technology, which is awesome today, but it will suck in ten years for the poor sap who buys this once-$120,000 luxo-barge for $13,988. Go try to use the nav on a late 90’s E38 7 Series, and you’ll see what I mean.
In fact, staggering depreciation is probably just as much of what makes a 7 Series a 7 Series as the car’s big comfort or big horsepower. Well-optioned, it’s not a bad value for what you get for $120,000 or so, but you can be damn sure you won’t be seeing much of that money back. Leasing may be a good idea here, people.
The G11 750i is among the nearly flawless lineup of current luxury cars. They’re all just really good, almost to a fault, if only for the fact that such uniform perfection lacks character. Objectively, this BMW 750i is good enough as a luxury cruiser to make me wonder why anyone would shell out triple the money for a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, how much more comfortable could you possibly be?
But really it’s not about features, or the comfort, or any of that. It comes back to the car being good, really good, too good for its own good. The G11 is a lot like that guy at the party who just keeps talking, on and on, about his own accomplishments. He’s very impressive and all, but people just keep walking away, don’t they? That’s because endless perfection gets boring pretty quick, and it’s usually a lot more fun to hear people talk about their mistakes.
MoM Score: BMW G11 750i xDrive
Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2) Practicality(2) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 8 /10