The surly new BMW X6 SUV is as gigantic, bold and brash as ever. The styling might be questionable, but there’s no doubt about the scintillating performance and driving experience.
The X6 has had its fair share of critics in the past. Some (many) have questioned the point of a coupe-like SUV that’s more expensive and yet less useful than the X5. But despite the big question marks, the X6 has always sold well. It’s premium, luxurious and insanely fast.
OSV takes a closer look at what this desirable SUV is all about with our BMW X6 review.
Overview Of The BMW X6
On The Road
The X6 is undeniably a heavy piece of machinery, but the brand have done a stellar job at hiding its weight fairly well. The tank-like tyres boast a good amount of grip, while body lean is kept to a minimum by the suspension setup. The steering is unusually vague for a BMW, and this can cause you to lose confidence if you approach bends with too much vigour.
You can choose from a quartet of driving modes, including comfort and sport. Eco is your best bet if you want to save on fuel, while the sportier settings involve you more in the driving experience. The beefy car is at its best, however, in comfort setting.
There a handful of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, starting with a 444bhp xDrive50i petrol unit. It sounds fantastic and can gun you from rest to 62mph in 4.8 seconds, but it will rinse you at the pumps. The X6 M is the most powerful model in the range. It delivers up to 576bhp, and does the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.2 seconds. Despite the sheer size of the car, this engine manages to make it feel like a sport car. Gear changes are quick and seamless, and it’s an adept motorway cruiser.
A 376bhp BMW M50d diesel engine doesn’t lack performance, and can do 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. It’s a good handler, and promises to be better in bends than the rest of the range. However, the top selling engine is anticipated to be a 254bhp 30d diesel engine which takes 6.7 seconds to to 0-62mph. It’s the cheapest model to run, which is partly why it’s so popular with buyers.
Interior, Design & Build
The interior is nothing new, but will be familiar to anyone who has previously sat in or driven the BMW X5. Good visibility is afforded by the raised suspension, while the driver’s seat and steering wheel offer a good amount of adjustment. Parking is not a cinch, thanks to the size of the car and also slightly poorer rear visibility, but rear and front parking sensors are standard across the range.
The dash is very driver-focused, while a huge transmission tunnel helps with the cockpit look that BMW were clearly aiming for. The brand’s popular iDrive infotainment system has a new version out, and the X6 gets treated to it here. You also benefit from a new 10.25” screen which dispenses with conventional buttons while improving the overall smartness of the cabin. Soft touch plastics abound, while leather upholstery enhances the premium feel.
The X6 loses out to the X5 in terms of practicality. The pair of individual rear seats of last time around have been scrapped in favour of the usual three-seat rear bench, while head and legroom is excellent up front and in the back. The handy lidded storage compartment found in the X5 is also found here, while there are plenty of door pockets and cup holders to keep things nice and tidy.
The boot is 75-litres bigger than last time around, and now can offer some 580-litres of space. Fold the rear seats and you can improve that to 1,525-litres.
Standard equipment is good across the range, and includes cruise control, sat-nav, heated seats, automatic wipers and lights, tyre pressure monitors and xenon headlights. Go for the more ballistic M Sport model, and you also get 20” alloys, twin exhaust pipes, adaptive M Sport suspension, and a few styling variations.
The list of optional extras is by no means short and by all means expensive. Adaptive LED headlights are recommended if you’ve got £1,495 to spare, while a useful heads-up display can be snapped up for an extra £995. If you’re feeling flus, the £3,445 Pure Extravagance exterior pack brightens your car up with original alloys and illuminated sills among other goodies.
Costs Of The BMW X6
Prices for the new car start out from £56,500 and rise to £93,000. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of running costs, the X6 is a bit of a mixed bag. The diesel is fairly economical, but the petrols are not. The most frugal engine in the range is the 30d, which can average fuel economy returns of 47.1mpg while incurring an annual road tax bill of £185. The M50d boasts better performance, but its mpg numbers are pegged back to 42.8mpg, while it will cost you £210 to tax.
The xDrive 50i is backed up by a thirsty petrol engine, which can only manage returns of 29mpg at best. Road tax will be either £295 or £500 – it depends which size alloys you go for.
The muscular car isn’t cheap to insure, with the basic model occupying insurance group 45.
Pros and Cons Of The BMW X6
The X6 M is by far the quickest in the range, and can do 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds, but no model is a slouch. The M50d, for example, can do the same distance in 5.2 seconds.
Excellent Build Quality
Unusually for a BMW, this one isn’t driver-oriented. Instead, the brand have focused on solid build quality and comfort.
Good Body Control
Lots of grip, minimal body roll, and plenty of composure.
It’s luxurious and you get plenty of standard kit. But everything is costly, from the list price to running costs, to optional extras.
Not As Spacious As The X5
It’s roomier than its predecessor, but if space is a big concern of yours and you’re feeling a bit hesitant, the X5 is worth a look.
BMW X6 vs Range Rover Sport SUV vs Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe SUV
BMW X6 vs Range Rover Sport SUV
The new Range Rover Sport SUV is luxurious and fun to drive. Altogether, it can offer one of the best all-round packages in this class.
The brand have introduced an aluminium chassis and body this time around, which means the model is lighter. Along with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it ensures that the Range Rover Sport Hatchback is faster in a straight line, more responsive in bends, and handles better than last time.
There is one petrol engine and two diesels to choose from. The sole petrol is a monstrous 5.0-litre V8 unit which is available in two power guises. The 503bhp variant can do 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds, while the 542bhp variant does it in 4.7 seconds. As you can see, they put rocket fuel into this heavy car, but fuel economy is poor – 22.1mpg. Moreover, it will cost you £505 a year to tax.
The diesel engines make more sense if costs are important to you. A 3.0-litre V6 engine is the smallest in the range. It delivers up to 298bhp, and does the 0-62mph dash in 6.8 seconds. It’s the cheapest to buy and run, and can achieve fuel economy of 40.4mpg, while costing £225 a year in road tax. The other diesel is a 4.4-litre unit that’s good for 329bhp, and can haul you from a standstill to 62mph in 6.5 seconds.
A diesel-hybrid model completes the range, doing 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds. It’s quick and also economical (can achieve average fuel economy returns of 44.1mpg), but costs more than the other diesels to buy outright.
The Range Rover Sport SUV’s interior is one of its highlights. Well built and luxurious, it’s a pleasant place to spend your time when you’re out on the road. The dash contains a lot less buttons than its predecessor, while the seats offer plenty of comfort.
The boot measures 784-litres if you opt for the regular five-seat model, and can be extended to 1,761 if you fold down the rear seats. A third row of seats is available as a £1,500 optional extra, but it’s really only suitable for kids. You also miss out on a spare wheel if you go for them.
It’s a huge vehicle, but not as roomy as the standard Range Rover. Adults in the back might struggle with the lack of knee room, but the driver and the passenger upfront will be just fine.
BMW – £56,500 – £93,100
Range Rover – £62,700 – £95,900
BMW X6 vs Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe SUV
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe SUV is ideal if you’re looking out for a sportier SUV. However, you may have to pay a bit extra.
The problem with trying to make a Coupe SUV is that you’re always going to be saddled with a big, bulky car. The GLE still weighs a ton, though it can boast firmer suspension. However, if it’s a massive amount of agility and guile you’re looking forward to, you can largely forget about it.
Still, the engines are powerful enough and can offer straight-line speed that would make a super car envious. Throw the car into corners, though, and it may struggle.
In terms of the engines, a 3.0-litre 350d diesel engine is our top pick. It delivers up to 254bhp, but more important than that is the massive amount of pulling power it derives from lower revs. As such, it never feels strained, but can offer a very relaxing drive. It’s quick too, and can do 0-62 in 7 seconds flat.
If you want a petrol model, you’ll have to go for one of the more lucrative (and expensive) high-performance AMG models. There are two available, beginning with an AMG GLE 43 that comes with a 3.0-litre V6 engine that delivers up to 362bhp and which can do 0-62 in 5.7 seconds. The AMG GLE 63 does it in 4.2 seconds and is powered by a V8 unit.
As expected, it’s the diesel models that are cheap to run. But despite the most frugal engine being capable of achieving average fuel economy returns of 39.2mpg, the X6 boasts significantly better running costs. At the other end of the spectrum, the AMG GLE 63 can average returns of 23.7mpg – according to Mercedes anyway.
If you ever spent time in the outgoing ML model, the interior here will be familiar to you. It’s barely any different, though a few changes have kept things fresh. Everything is built to a high standard, the dash is well designed, and the buttons are easy to find and use. However, the GLE Coupe SUV hasn’t been treated to some of the advanced tech that you’ll find in other Mercedes models.
Apart from a sloping roofline which makes life unpleasant for taller backseat passengers, this car is pleasingly practical. It’s as big as the regular GLE SUV, which means head, leg and knee room is good. The driver has plenty of seat adjustment, the doors open nice and wide, and the boot measures 650-litres – 70-litres more than you’ll get in the BMW X6’s.
Mercedes – £41,800 – £100,500
Verdict Of Our BMW X6 Review
The BMW X5 is more practical, while this X6 is more bullish and, dare we say it, more stylish. Its looks are almost coupe-esque, and this helps it to stand out from the crowd. It’s rapid, composed and more agile than you’d expect a car of this size to be.
Due to its price and running costs, it’s definitely worth trying before buying. But if you want a large SUV that’s powerful and sexy in a very gruff and manly way, we can think of few better options than the rough and ready BMW X6 SUV.
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