Review

BMW X6 SUV

Price  £51,150 - £67,190

BMW X6 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Great performance
  • Decent handling
  • Superb diesel engines
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Tight in the rear
  • In-your-face styling

At a glance

The greenest
xDrive30d SE 5dr £51,150
The cheapest
xDrive30d SE 5dr £51,150
The fastest
xDrive50i SE 5dr £63,065
Top of the range
xDrive50i M Sport 5dr £67,190

“The BMW X6 is a mixture of a sporty coupe, hatchback and a big SUV. It's luxurious and desirable, but comes with a few compromises.”

The BMW X6 is a bit of an unusual car – it's a cross between a large SUV and a sporty coupe, and there isn’t really anything else quite like it on the market. It's based on the BMW X5, but has a far more dramatic design and less interior space. Meshing together an SUV and a coupe means the X6 is compromised – it may look like a big SUV, but it's sacrificed a lot of practicality in exchange for its in-your-face styling. And, while it drives well, it's never going to be a match for more performance-focused coupes because of its raised ride height and hefty bulk. It's also not much good off-road. Still, the engines – which range from an efficient six-cylinder diesel to V8 petrols – are all excellent.

There's only one specification level, but equipment levels improve the further you go up the engine range. Whichever one you go for, prestige and performance are guaranteed. And few cars stand out like the X6.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.8 / 5

The X6 is a performance-focused SUV, so it’s not cheap to run

No version of the X6 is going to offer low running costs. The most efficient model on offer is the 245bhp xDrive 30d diesel, which will do 38.3mpg and emit 195g/km CO2, putting it in tax band J which costs £475 the first year and £260 per year thereafter. Economy and efficiency only gets worse until you get to the most powerful model in the line-up: the 555bhp xDrive M petrol, which will only do 20.3mpg and emits 325g/km CO2. That puts it in tax band M which will cost you £1,065 for the first year and £490 per year from then on.

We recommend choosing a diesel engine – not just because they offer better economy but because their resale values are better, too.

Interior & comfort

3.2 / 5

A firmer ride than most SUVs but the X6 is still pretty comfortable

BMW has set-up the X6 to handle well, so it has firmer suspension than the BMW X5 . This may help it to handle corners better, but it also makes for less comfortable suspension. Thankfully, it's not too harsh on your back and you’ll find the X6 still manages to ease you over most bumps and potholes in relative comfort.

The interior is also well insulated from road and wind noise, too, so the interior stays quiet even at motorway speeds. All the seats are comfortable and supportive.

Practicality & boot space

2.7 / 5

Despite being huge the X6 only has room for four

The BMW X6 may look like a big imposing 4x4, but it certainly doesn’t boast SUV levels of practicality. There's only space for four people inside, thanks to the coupe-inspired body style. The boot is spacious, though, with 570 litres capacity, which expands to 1,450 litres with the standard-fit, split-folding rear seats down.

Although, the X6 comes fitted with BMW's XDrive four-wheel-drive system, it's not actually a proper off-roader. It will cope with slippery roads and the occasional muddy field, but those looking for real off-road ability should look to a real SUV.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

Reliability is likely to be top-notch, but X6 doesn’t have a safety rating

BMW hasn’t put the X6 through the Euro NCAP crash tests so it doesn't have a star rating. It should prove to be very safe, though. It certainly comes with an impressive range of safety equipment, including 10 airbags, traction control, ABS, electronic stability control, tyre pressure monitors and ISOFIX points for securing child seats. The X6 should prove to be reliable, too – build quality is superb and all the engines and components have been tried and tested in other models across the BMW range.

It's worth pointing out that BMW has performed particularly impressively in recent customer satisfaction surveys. It came 15th out of 32 in the 2013 Driver Power – which is not a great result for a premium manufacturer. Especially considering rivals like Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes and Lexus all finished in the top 10.

Engines, drive & performance

3.6 / 5

Sporty handling and powerful engine give an electric driving experience

It's a BMW so it comes as no surprise that the X6 handles really well, despite its massive dimensions and two-tonne weight.

It's one of the best cars to drive in the SUV class. The steering is really accurate, grip levels are solid and there's a lot less lean through corners than you’d find on most rivals. In fact, it feels more like a sports car to drive than a 4x4. You can select the optional Dynamic Package for improved performance, which stiffens and lowers the suspension still further.

All the engines in the range are great, but we’d recommend one of the diesels, which offer plenty of performance, but aren’t quite as hard on the wallet as the petrol versions. The X6 40d diesel has 306bhp, but will still does almost 40mpg.

Price, value for money & options

2.3 / 5

BMW X6 is an expensive toy rather than a value-for-money car

The X6 may be good to drive,but it costs quite a bit more than the X5 on which it is based and is a lot less practical. It's very hard to justify the price tag as a result, especially considering the cheaper X5 has the exact same engine line-up.

Standard equipment levels on the X6 are very good, but that's to be expected on a car whose starting price is almost £50,000. The kit list includes xenon headlights, alloy wheels, climate control and parking sensors.

Be careful with optional extras, too, because they’re expensive and will soon send the list price of your X6 soaring. Fitting entertainment screens for rear passengers costs £1,575, for example.

What the others say

2.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
  • 3.0 / 5
    "With coupe styling and SUV underpinnings, the BMW X6 is the answer to a question nobody asked."
  • 3.0 / 5
    "The BMW X6 is superb to drive, blending strong acceleration with the agility of a sports saloon. The four-seat layout and high prices count against it, though."
  • 4.0 / 10
    "Looks, frankly, terrible. The ultimate two-fingers to all other road users that takes up road space while not making the best use of it; coupe body over X5-sized chassis. It does however, drive like precisely nothing else on the road."

Last updated 
14 Mar 2014

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