Son of a Niche! SUV Coupes

    By: Anthony Fongaro

Original Post:

In my previous article, I praised four-door coupes. I love how they look in exchange for lost practicality while making up for the latter with charm and class. This is fine because they’re usually based on regular coupes or sedans. Great. Unfortunately, BMW had to mess things up. They had the excellent X5 and thought to themselves with a German accent: “We need to appeal to even fewer people. What if… we make the X5 ugly and harder to see out of?” Hence, the BMW X6 was born. Excellent, thank you, BMW. It sold well and now Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Acura at one point, and even Lamborghini have SUVs with raked rooflines. There must be a reason why I like sedan to coupe to four-door coupes compared to these SUV-coupes, right?

When BMW first introduced the X6, Top Gear had Jeremy Clarkson review it on their show. He said the same things I was thinking. The X6 is a worse version of the X5 that isn’t good off-road. Now, I know that they set up some things to make the review of the X6 more scathing, but two points hit home. It’s an uglier version of the X5 that isn’t as good and has worse visibility. You would think that a power-house journalist like Clarkson, combined with that review, would have BMW scared that their new vehicle would go down in history as one of those “one-hit wonders.” Nope. That didn’t happen.

Instead, BMW sold enough to “justify” a few different events. Mercedes-Benz got onto the bandwagon. They created the GLE coupe as well as the GLC coupe. It was the same concept as the X6: Make the SUVs uglier, less space, and “look like a coupe.” Out of all the Japanese manufacturers, Acura went in with the ZDX, one of the ugliest SUVs to walk the earth. It was based on the MDX and was given a body that no one wanted. If you’ve seen more than two ZDXs in the flesh, leave a comment below. BMW then created a smaller of the X6, dubbed the X4, to go against Mercedes’s GLC coupe. Audi jumped in the fray with their Q8 SUV. The Germans really like making niches that no one asked for. Now, Porsche has created the Cayenne coupe. Excellent. 

At this point, I usually try to give some good points to balance the article. I’ll try my best to get a few in here. Since these are all SUVs, most have a standard or optional all-wheel drive to help in the Midwest or states that get a good amount of snow. They also have high ground clearance and tall driving positions like a regular SUV so you can see over cars. You must remember that these are close to or the same as their regular SUV counterparts. The X6 gets a fire-breathing X6M version with over 500 HP from a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8. Unnecessary but fantastic. I understand that style is in the eye of the beholder, which is why people go after these vehicles.

If you can’t tell, I am not a fan of these, which BMW labels “Sports-Activity Coupes.” Do you want a SAC in your life? I know I don’t. The regular SUVs they are based on are usually more handsome, have more space and cost a good amount less. There are powerful versions and hybrid versions, so people have a choice. Why were these created? Because why not. Would I recommend an X6 over an X5? No. Never. Will people still buy? Sure. These help companies like Porsche continue to make sports cars. Regular SUVs do the same. Wait… should you get a regular SUV over the limited hatchbacks and wagons we have available in the United States? I think… you should read my next article to find out.


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