BMW X6 (2015-present)

Big and brash BMW X6 combines SUV ruggedness and sleek coupe looks, with mixed results.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Surprisingly fast
Good to drive
Strong refinement

Weaknesses 

Firm ride
Looks won’t be to all tastes
Big on the outside but small inside

The BMW X6 is vivid example of car manufacturers’ desire to fill every conceivable gap in the market with a niche model. Like the Mercedes GLE Coupe, the X6 is a large family car that attempts to meld together the high-riding ruggedness of an SUV with the sleek lines of a coupe. Whether it works as a concept is open to debate, but there’s no doubting it attracts attention.

There are currently three different engine choices (all diesel) and effectively one trim level, with prices ranging from £62,275 to £74,100.

If you’re in the market for a BMW X6 then it’s likely you’ll want to make a statement on the road - and in this respect the car doesn’t disappoint. Sitting high on jacked-up suspension and with the same bluff, SUV front end as the BMW X5 the X6 looks pure off-roader. Yet move along the car and you’ll see the roof line plunges into a rakish, coupe-like rear. It’s not elegant, but there’s no denying this vast car (it’s nearly five metres long and two metres wide) has some road presence.

What the BMW X6 isn’t is practical. Despite its imposing external dimensions the X6 is a surprisingly cramped car inside. The low roofline doesn’t help in the rear, particularly for taller passengers, you’ll struggle to fit three adults across the rear bench. In fairness the Mercedes GLE Coupe isn’t much better, but equally style led SUVs such as the Range Rover Velar and Porsche Cayenne deliver a lot more useful space. To ram the point home the BMW X6’s boot manages a paltry 550-litre capacity, which is the same as the far smaller BMW X3. Even the compromised Mercedes GLE Coupe can swallow 650-litres of luggage.

There won’t be many complaints about the quality of the cramped cabin. Like other BMW models the X6’s interior is beautifully finished from high grade materials. Leather seat trim is standard across the range, while the brushed metal trim and gloss inserts have a top notch look and feel.

Like most BMW models the X6 has a very driver focused interior, the logically laid out dashboard being angled toward the person behind the wheel. And while it’s not at the cutting edge of BMW’s in car technology, the 10.25-inch screen for the entertainment screen is a model of clarity and is easy to navigate with the iDrive rotary controller. It’s packed with useful features, such as BMW’s remarkably accurate real time traffic information. You can also pair it with your smartphone to access numerous BMW apps - although you’ll have to pay extra for Apple CarPlay, which is a bit cheeky when a car costs as much to buy as the X6.

It’s a big and bulky car (all versions weigh in excess of two tons) but the X6 is surprisingly good to drive. The steering is heavier than you’d expect, but it helps create a sense of connection with the car that breeds confidence and helps you put its size to the back of its mind. There’s lots of grip too, while the clever four-wheel drive system means unnerving wheelspin isn’t a problem, even on slippery surfaces. And while the BMW X6 is tall there’s surprisingly little body roll, thanks in part to its clever adaptive dampers that get firmer when you go fast and softer when you’re cruising. That said, the BMW doesn’t soak up bumps as effortlessly as the Range Rover Velar.

All the diesel engines deliver deep-chested and refined performance, making the BMW X6 as surprisingly rapid machine. Its helped in this regard by the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, which changes gears quickly and smoothly.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 21:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / unlimited miles
Boot size: 
550 litres
Width: 
1989mm
Length: 
4909mm
Height: 
1702mm
Tax (min to max): 
£855 to £1280 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best BMW X6 for... 

BMW X6 30d xDrive M Sport
BMW X6 30d xDrive M Sport - no BMW X6 is economical, but the X6 30d is fractionally the most frugal, capable of a claimed 33.6mph - although the M40d is pretty much identical
BMW X6 30d xDrive M Sport
all BMW X6s have same 550-litre boot, but interior isn’t as big as exterior would have you believe. 30d represents best value
BMW X6 M50d
highly tuned diesel engine will rocket the X6 from 0-62mph in a claimed 5.2 seconds
BMW X6 M50d
it’s the fastest BMW X6, but it’s not so much quicker than 40d version that it justifies near £10,000 price premium.

BMW X6 History 

  • Sep 2014: BMW X6 revealed at Paris Motorshow

  • Mar 2015: BMW X6 goes on sale in UK

  • Dec 2018: Petrol engines and SE trim line dropped from range

Understanding BMW X6 car names 

  • X6
  • Trims
    M Sport
  • Transmission
    xDrive
  • Engines
    30d
  • Gearbox
    Sport Auto
  • Trims
    The X6 is available in either M Sport trim or stand alone M50d guise. It’s very well equipped and gets plenty of sporty looking additions.
  • Transmission
    xDrive is BMW’s name for four-wheel drive. It’s an ‘intelligent’ system that can shuffle the engine’s power to the wheels that most need it.
  • Engines
    BMW’s X models get numbers that represent the size of the engine based on its power output. So while all versions of the X6 are powered by essentially the same 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel they’re badged 30d, 40d and M50d, each delivering more performance than the last.
  • Gearbox
    Sport Auto is the BMW’s eight-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters for manual gear changes. It’s the only unit on the X6.

BMW X6 Engines 

Diesel: 30d, 40d, M50d

On paper the BMW X6 comes with three different diesel engines, but in reality it’s merely the same 3.0-litre unit in various states of tune. As a result the different X6 models are closely matched for efficiency despite varying levels of performance.

The 30d is the least powerful version, but it can still muster 255hp, which is exactly the same figure as the Mercedes GLE Coupe 350d. As a result it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in a sprightly 6.7 seconds, which is enough to match hot hatchbacks such as the VW Golf GTI. The 3.0-litre diesel underpinning the 30d is a smooth and refined performer, delivering a pleasing growl only when worked hard. Like all the X6 models it comes with BMW’s excellent eight-speed Sport Auto automatic transmission as standard, which delivers smooth gearchanges and can be controlled manually using handy steering wheel mounted paddles.

Next up in the range is the 40d, which is essentially the same engine but with a muscular 309bhp and a very useful 630Nm of torque (the 30d delivers 560Nm). As you’d expect, it’s remarkably similar in character to the 30d, with the same impressive levels of refinement, the engine delivering little more than a distant growl unless revved hard. Yet you can feel the extra performance, with the 40d feeling even more responsive to the accelerator pedal and leaping from a standstill to 60mph in 5.8 seconds.

In fact, so quick is the 40d that it’s hard to recommend the M50d. Yes it has an eye-opening 376bhp, but it’s only six-tenths of a second quicker to 62mph than the 40d, which is hardly worth writing home about, especially when you’re paying nearly £10,000 extra for this extremely modest increase in performance. The M50d’s sports exhaust does make it sound sportier, but we’re not sure that’s really the point with cars like these.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

30d

Diesel

32.5 - 33.6mpg

255hp

6.7sec

143mph

40d

Diesel

32.5 - 33.2mpg

309hp

5.8sec

143mph

50d

Diesel

29.4 - 30.1mpg

376hp

5.2sec

155mph

BMW X6 Trims 

M Sport, M50d

Essentially there’s just one trim level available with the BMW X6 - M Sport. There’s also the M50d, but this is merely an M Sport model with a few extra features.

Still, while the choice of model is limited’s no shortage of standard kit. On the outside all models get 20-inch alloy wheels and BMW’s traditional array of M Sport styling additions, including gloss black trim in place of more tradition chrome. Inside there’s leather trimmed, electrically heated and powered seats, parking sensors, reversing camera and a BMW’s Professional infotainment system.

To this lot the M50d merely adds some visual extras, such bespoke alloy wheels on the outside, while inside there’s slightly different instruments and stubby BMW M gear selector.

As with all BMW models there’s a choice of optional extras, many bundled into handy packs. The Driving Assistant Plus Pack is a prime example, adding adaptive cruise control and Traffic Jam Assist, which automatically steers, brakes and accelerates the car in slow moving traffic.M Sport Plus is another desirable upgrade, adding sun protection glass, a head-up display, Harman Kardon sound system and a TFT display in place of the traditional instruments ahead of the driver.

Of course there’s a multitude of standalone options that allow you to personalise your X6, including numerous leather finishes and trim inserts. However, one option that really should be standard on a car like this is Apple CarPlay.

BMW X6 Reliability and warranty 

The BMW X6 didn’t make it into Auto Express’ 2019 Driver Power survey’s top 100 cars, but that’s no real surprise. Since its introduction, the relatively slow-selling BMW X6 hasn’t always attracted enough entries to qualify.

However, it’s closely related to the BMW X5, which has never been a stand out performer, with owners reporting reliability niggles and high running costs.

BMW’s three-year cover is pretty standard for the industry, but it goes one better than most by not setting a mileage limit during this period. It also offers great value pre-paid servicing and maintenance packs, which often are carried over to a new owner when the car is sold.

Used BMW X6 

The BMW X6 has been around since 2014, but it’s a fairly niche car so sales numbers have remained low compared to BMW’s other models. As a result there are currently 46 examples for sale on Buyacar, with prices ranging from £19,732 to £53,991.

In terms of monthly finance payments you’ll fork out between £272 and £758, the latter figure for a nearly new very low mileage model.

BMW’s decision to drop petrol models from the line-up is justified by the fact that on Buyacar there are currently only diesel versions - and most of these are the 30d. For most this is the ideal engine choice, as it delivers strong performance and decent fuel economy. However, if you can find an 40d that fits your budget then this is an even better bet.

Most used BMW X6s are in M Sport trim, this being by far the most popular option when new. It’s a guise that suits the X6, plus with standard adaptive dampers (these are used to automatically firm-up or soften the suspension at a touch of a button) there’s not the usual firm and uncomfortable ride that can usually afflict M Sport versions of cheaper BMWs.