BMW X6 SUV
- Great performance
- Fun to drive despite the size
- Superb diesel engines
- Expensive to buy
- Tight in the rear
- Styling not to all tastes
“The BMW X6 is a mixes all the qualities of coupe, hatchback and SUV. It’s luxurious and desirable, but comes with a few compromises.”
The BMW X6 is designed to make the already-extensive BMW brand appeal to a broader range of people. It is in effect a five-door coupe, based on the BMW X5 – with the same raised suspension and four-wheel drive system. Direct rivals for the BMW are hard to come by, but buyers should also consider the Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, and Audi Q7. An X6-rivalling Mercedes MLC could go on sale in 2015, but that is yet to be confirmed.
BMW offers the X6 with a choice of two petrol engines and three diesel engines and, although the petrol models are quick, we would go for the more economical xDrive40d diesel. It offers impressive performance, and won’t cost quite as much as the petrol models to run.
Sitting near the top of the BMW range, and with an expensive list price, the BMW X6 comes with a huge list of standard equipment that includes 19-inch alloy wheels, active cruise control, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and a DAB digital radio.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The BMW X6 is a performance-focused SUV, so it’s not cheap to run
Its huge size and weight mean that the BMW X6 is never going to be easy on the wallet when it comes to running costs. The most economical version is the xDrive30d, which can return 38.2mpg and emit 198g/km of CO2, translating into road tax of £265 every year. You pay exactly the same to tax the more powerful 40d and despite the useful gains in performance, economy is pretty much the same. Go for the basic petrol engine and economy drops to 28.8mpg, and it keeps dropping the further up the range you go, with the range-topping 50i achieving just 22.6mpg. It pays the top rate of road tax at £500 a year.
There’s less variation to consider when it comes to insurance with the 30d residing in group 44, while the 50i sits in group 50 (the same as a Ferrari 458). Servicing for the X6 will never be cheap, but BMW does offer Service Inclusive (£1,000) and Service Inclusive Plus (£2,740). The first covers the X6’s regular servicing, while the later includes that and expendables such as brake discs and pads, plus windscreen wipers.
Engines, drive & performance
Impressive handling and powerful engines give the BMW X6 the driving experience of a sports car
To drive, the BMW X6 feels like a sportier version of the BMW X5. It’s slightly stiffer suspension means there is less body lean in the corners, while the steering feels more responsive, too. The X6 also comes with a more sophisticated four-wheel drive system, which is optimised for on-road driving and can find even more grip on slippery tarmac than the system in the X5.
Our pick of the engines – the xDrive40d diesel – offers effortless performance capable of whisking the BMW from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds. The 50d diesel engine is even quicker, dropping that time to just 5.3 seconds, while 30d (the most economical engine in the range) does it in 7.5 seconds. The 50i is very hard to justify thanks to its huge running costs, but gets from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds.
Interior & comfort
A firmer ride than most SUVs but the BMW X6 is still pretty comfortable
Get inside the BMW X6 and you’ll notice the similarities between it and the BMW X5 on which it is based. The result is the BMW gets a sporty and well-built interior, with a layout that focuses on the driver. With X5 underpinnings, the BMW X6 has a raised driving position that gives a good view of the road, but the X6’s coupe-like body style does harm rearward visibility, even if all models come with a rear parking aid. Lots of adjustment for both the steering wheel and driver’s seat mean it is simple to get a comfortable driving position.
Stiffer suspension gives the BMW X6 a sportier feel than the X5, but also makes for a slightly less comfortable ride. As a result, you’ll notice broken surfaces more in the BMW X6, although it could never be described as uncomfortable.
Practicality & boot space
Despite being huge the BMW X6 only has room for four, and the sloping roof makes it cramped in the back
When it comes to practicality the BMW X6 is a mixed bag. Its generous 570-litre boot offers plenty of space, while its hatchback opening is large making it easier to get awkward items safely in the boot. Drop down the rear seats and total capacity increases to 1,450 litres, but a tall boot lip makes it tricky to slide heavy items into the load bay.
The flipside comes when you get into the passenger compartment. Space up front is fine, but in the back the X6 is a strict two-seater. It also suffers from the swept back body shape so, while leg and elbowroom is decent, taller passengers might find rear headroom wanting.
Hunt around the interior and you’ll notice plenty of storage areas including a lidded cubbyhole between the two front seats, a glovebox, door pockets, and a hidden storage area under the boot floor.
Reliability & safety
Reliability is likely to be top-notch, but BMW X6 doesn’t have an official safety rating
The BMW X6 has never been crash tested, but the old X5 on which it is based was awarded five stars when it was evaluated by Euro NCAP, and we would expect the X6 to achieve the same. It comes fitted with multiple air bags, electronic stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, tyre pressure monitors, and ISOFIX child seat mounts.
The X6 never featured in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but BMW jumped five places (compared to its 2013 showing) in our manufacturers’ rankings to finish in 10th place. The BMW also feels well built, while it shares tried and tested mechanicals from across the rest of the model range.
Price, value for money & options
The BMW X6 is an expensive 4x4 rather than a value-for-money car
Even on the basic model, the BMW X6 comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, active cruise control, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and a digital radio. M Sport versions add 20-inch alloy wheels, adjustable suspension, electrically adjustable sports seats, and a host of exterior styling additions that give the car a sportier look. The M50d offers more of the same getting unique alloy wheels, more precise steering, unique exhaust pipes and some subtle badging.
There’s a long list of optional equipment, but kit such as M Performance alloy wheels (£5,650) and rear-seat DVD screens (£1,575) does not come cheap. Depreciation can also be heavy on the X6. The 50i model is expected to be worth just 36 per cent of its original value after three-years and 36,000 miles, compared to the 42 per cent you can expect from a top-of-the-range Porsche Cayenne.