As you can read here, the other month we had a BMW X6 on test, and of course, being a 4x4 with half decent ground clearance, there was no doubt that I was going to take it along a green lane or two. After exploring a couple of my local lanes I decided to travel a bit further afield, North Yorkshire to be precise, to a road called Wreaks Lane just outside Grewelthorpe.
Annoyingly, Wreak Lane is 93 miles away and takes almost two hours to to get to, but these sort of journeys are what we have to deal with these days if we want to enjoy our ever dwindling number of byways.
With the odd bit of recovery equipment thrown in, I mean secured in the back, we joined the M62 and planned to take junction 50 off A1(M), but as we approached it was closed (thanks for the heads-up Highway agency) so we had no option to drive another 30 minutes or so to the next junction. With absolutely no idea where I was, my sketched map was now totally useless, so I switched on my ViewRanger app on my phone which would get us to the start of the lane.
At this point I was actually rather glad of the diversion as the roads it led us on were great fun, and I exploited the X6’s 300bhp and brilliant handling characteristics.
You may look at an X6 and think it’s ugly, and granted it isn’t to everyone's taste, but drive one and I honestly believe that you’ll probably still think it’s ugly, but you’ll have a new found respect for how it handles.
Eventually arriving at Wreaks lane, which I was reliably informed was fairly easy, there’s a short run on tarmac, after which it continues as a straight single track lane and heads gradually upwards towards the heavens. Traction wasn’t a problem as the ground is quite solid and only widens as you reach the first gate. Although cloudy with the odd speck of rain, the views up there are quite stunning, I’m looking forward to returning with either Deux Smurf or another press car during summer.
As we continued to climb, the views became more spectacular and the surface of the lane changed, although still hard packed stone there were a few more rocks and holes to negotiate, none a problem for the X6, though at times I did wish we had a bit more ground clearance and perhaps more appropriate wheels and tyres. They may look good, but low profiles are only really beneficial on a race track, not for the commute.
We followed the contour and rise and fall of the Moors, and the X6 simply continued to go in the direction I pointed it, not even a scramble from the low profiles. At one point we came across a water logged section, so I suggested that Muddy Madam jumped out and took a quick video. Apparently it was quite windy out, not that I’d know as the heated seat was doing a great job of keeping my bum warm, and shielded from the elements.
The surface of the lane remained solid with the odd ‘step’, but nothing the X6 couldn’t handle, in fact at time of writing I wouldn’t hesitate bringing a Seat Ateca or Skoda Yeti along. You may have to thread your way over a couple of steps, but it would be easy enough.
Arriving at a junction in the lane we had the option of either carrying straight on or turning left. Choosing the latter would have taken us down and back up the Wreaks lane in a huge ‘V’ shape, but Muddy Madam reminded me that we had to return home at a reasonable time, so I decided to carry on, and save further exploration for another day in another 4x4.
From here on the lane had been graded and you could take a small hatch along it, well in theory you could, but someone has laid water run-off humps across the lane and they’re quite steep, in fact on a couple of occasions they scraped the bottom of the X6 - I wasn’t nervous, really!
And that was it, according to ViewRanger, Wreaks lane is just under 7 miles long, and though not challenging it has some great views. Driving a 4 hour, 150mile round trip to just drive 7 miles does sound a bit daft, but that’s life these days in the UK. The more lanes that are closed to us the further we have to travel, and the existing lanes consequently become over used, but hey-ho.
I had no regrets though, and as you can read in the review, the X6 performed faultlessly ‘off road’ and fantastic on it - and out of all the press vehicles I drove last year, it eventually became my favourite 4x4 of 2017.