With the first-generation X6, BMW took the bold decision to crossbreed a performance coupé with an SUV and call the result a Sports Activity Coupé. Their courage paid off, because they sold 443,000 examples worldwide. Now they’re back with an all-new X6; longer, wider and lower than before and featuring new powertrains and infotainment technology.
Though it stands almost as tall as a conventional SUV, the new X6 still keeps a coupé profile with a roofline that tapers from the B pillar back to the duck-tail spoiler on the boot lid. Length, track and wheelbase are all wider than the outgoing version and the design has been refreshed throughout. Horizontal tail lamps that almost stretch the entire width of the tailgate and trapezoidal tailpipes give a dash of drama to the rear but the highlight (literally) is the new illuminated BMW kidney grille. Inside, the 40:20:40 rear seats can be folded down to increase luggage space from 580 to 1,525 litres.
The X6 is offered with two petrol and two diesel powertrains, starting with the xDrive30d, which is powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel. Maximum power is 265hp while peak torque is 620Nm, for 0-62mph acceleration in 6.5 seconds and 42.8-46.3mpg. The petrol-powered xDrive40i delivers 340hp, hitting the zero to 62mph benchmark sprint in 5.5 seconds and returning 32.8-35.3mpg.
The two flagship models are the diesel BMW X6 M50d and the petrol X6 M50i. The former has 400bhp and a mountainous 760Nm of peak torque, reaching 62mph in 5.2 seconds and returning 39.2-40.9mpg. Fastest of all is the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 in the X6 M50i; zero to 62mph takes 4.3 seconds and fuel economy is a respectable 26.4-27.2mpg. All X6 models feature an eight-speed auto transmission and the xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system. This sends the engine’s power rearwards for efficiency and driving enjoyment, only bringing the front wheels under power when the rear wheels lose traction.
All models include leather trim, adaptive two-axle air suspension, gesture control, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging as standard. The cockpit is based on the latest BMW Operating System 7.0 and includes a personal assistant that responds to ‘Hey BMW’ (though you can reset this to give it your own preferred nickname). The Live Cockpit Professional includes a high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel with a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches and a 12.3-inch Control Display. It also includes adaptive navigation system and a hard-drive-based multimedia system, with a built-in SIM card that provides access to news, weather, office and online search. Using the BMW Connected app, you can lock and unlock your car from your smartphone and the same app automatically uploads operating system updates.
Standard safety systems for the new BMW X6 include Cruise Control with braking function as well as Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function that alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. The optional Driving Assistant Professional includes both the steering and lane control assistant with traffic jam assistant as well as lane keeping assistant with active side collision protection. With the steering and lane control assistant activated, the driver simply has to push the indicator stalk in the required direction and the system will steer the car into the next lane safely. The built-in SIM card will automatically call the emergency services in the event of a major accident.
X6 M SPORT
In addition to Sport model:
X6 M PERFORMANCE
In addition to M Sport model
Verdict: although you can venture off-road in the X6, 99% of owners won’t. And if it’s practicality and space you’re looking for, you’d be better off with BMW’s closely related X5 SUV. But if you’re looking for the style and pizzazz of a coupé in a car that gives you a commanding driving position on today’s crowded roads (and a supple ride on today’s all-too frequent potholes) then the new X6 might float your boat. It can tow it, too…