BMW X6 Review
The BMW X6 is meant to be a cross between a rugged SUV and a sporty coupe
Strengths & weaknesses
- Imposing presence on the road
- Strong performance
- Lots of equipment
- Lack of rear headroom
- Divisive design
The BMW X6 is supposed to combine the high driving position of an off-road sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with the design and sporty deriving feel of a coupe, much like the Mercedes GLE coupe.
Unlike boxy SUVs such as the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and BMW X5 (which shares its mechanical parts with the X6), this BMW is styled with a roof that slopes downwards towards the boot. It’s also lower, so its floor is closer to the road than a proper SUV, which reduces its ability to tackle rugged terrain.
That’s not the point of this car, though: it’s designed to cut a dash rather than plough a field so you need to be prepared to make some compromises. For example, that falling roofline reduces headroom in the back. Prices start at around £2000 more than the X5, too.
What you get for your extra money is that huge road presence and an engine and trim range that starts with the 245bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine in M Sport trim. It’s a glorious motor that can do 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds and return a claimed 47.1mpg. There are more powerful diesel and even a couple of very powerful petrols topped by the 567bhp 4.4-litre in the high-performance X6 M but really, that basic diesel is all you need. All versions have BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system.
Underway, the X6 handles surprisingly well for such a big car. It changes direction easily, resists leaning too much in corners and there’s plenty of grip.
The ride is smooth, too, although versions with adaptive, adjustable, suspension can become uncomfortably firm if you put them in one of the two Sport modes. It’s generally very quiet at speed.
The cabin is roomy although headroom is tight in the back. The three rear seats split and fold individually, and the boot is a usefully capacious 580 litres. With the seats folded it’s bigger still, although the X5 is more practical.
There’s also more space in the Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport, which both feel as sporty to drive as the X6.
The view forward from the extremely well built and equipped dashboard is excellent but you’ll be glad of the rear parking sensors because the view through the back window is very restricted.
There’s lots of equipment, even basic SE having adaptive cruise control, which automatically maintains a set distance from the car in front, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The car hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP but it has lots of safety kit (although some of the smartest such as Night Vision is optional).