As we mentioned in our first drive of the X6 xDrive 35i (hyperlink), BMW's all-new Sports Activity Coupe cuts quite a striking profile.

Built on the second-generation, seven-passenger BMW X5, the all-new X6 is supposed to marry sports-car handling with SUV practicality in a package reminiscent of a sport coupe. The roofline is the signature element, supposedly cribbed from the BMW 6 Series. Inside, the center rear seat and third-row bench have been removed so that the once seven-seater now has room only for four.

The base-model X6 xDrive 35i is powered by BMW's now familiar twin-turbocharged, 3.0L inline-six that BMW puts in everything from the 135i coupe to the 535i sedan. In this configuration, it makes 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels via xDrive, BMW's proprietary AWD system. The X6 is also the debut vehicle for Dynamic Performance Control, BMW's all-new torque vectoring system we profiled here (hyperlink:)

It has fancy duds and gear to match, but does the X6 have the performance to back up it up? Word from the test track is, "Ja."

Despite weighing nearly 5000 lb (more on that later), the X6 xDrive 35i manages to hit 60 mph in 5.9 sec and the quarter mile in only 14.5. From 60 mph, the X6 comes to rest in 116 ft. For SUVs, especially ones weighing this much, anything under 120 ft is damn impressive.

At the skidpad and figure-eight course, the X6 records 0.86 g and 26.3 sec at an average of 0.67 g, respectively -- yet another impressive showing for such a heavy SUV.

So she drives as good as she looks then? Not so fast. Our testing reveals two critical faults with the X6:

It's heavy. Our fully loaded X6, equipped with every option including 20-in. wheels, tips the scales at an extra-hefty 4387 lb. That's about 700 more than at least one of the Bimmer's main competitors. Impressive stuff when you think about the acceleration and braking numbers, but imagine what could have been minus 500 or so pounds.

The X6 also drives heavy, surprising given its impressive performance on the test track. In fact, the X6's numbers are quite a surprise to technical editor and test driver Kim Reynolds, who is ultimately disappointed by this driving machine.

"I find the X6 grating. I think it's nice looking, but cars shouldn't be like this," he says. "While the steering has that light, tingly quality -- that characteristic BMW tremble -- everything else feels like it missed the target.

"[It] wobbles, shudders, plows at the limit," he continues, "and does so much damage to BMW's reputation for building fine-driving automobiles, it's almost obscene."

Add in the fact that our fully loaded model cost $64,420, more than $11 grand over the $53,275 MSRP, and perhaps the smartly styled, sharp-handling BMW X6 doesn't appear quite so striking.

The 2008 BMW X6 xDrive 35i is on sale now.