New & Used BMW X6: In Depth
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Even though the BMW X6 shares its underpinnings with the BMW X5, the X6 is sportier and has a more stylish design. The X6’s curves may compromise its functionality, but its driving dynamics make up for at least a few of its other pitfalls. It’s an amalgam of things we like, too: part crossover, part luxury sedan, and part coupe.
New in 2008, today's X6 gets its power from a range of engines, six-cylinders and eight-cylinders alike, all the way through to the massively powerful X6 M. With a pricetag from about $60,000 to almost $90,000, the X6 has its chief rivals in the Porsche Cayenne, the Infiniti FX (soon to be the Infiniti QX70) and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.The X6 shares much of its underpinnings with the BMW X5, but due to its shape, doesn't offer as much cargo space. It nevertheless remains a fairly competent off-roader thanks to its all-wheel drive system, though true trail-worthiness remains out of its reach.
In its launch year, the BMW X6 was available in xDrive35i and xDrive50i trims with a choice of an in-line six-cylinder twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter engine rated at 300 horsepower or a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine rated at 400 horsepower, respectively. A six-speed automatic transmission was the only option for 2008-2010 models of any trim or engine package, paired to BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
Subsequent model years saw the introduction of the X6 M in 2009, which turns up the power on the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 to 555 horsepower. Upgraded suspension, larger wheels and tires, more capable brakes and advanced performance-tuned traction and handling electronics combine to make an impressive performance vehicle despite its size and weight.
For the 2010 model year, the ActiveHybrid X6 offered a combination of power and efficiency that erred on the side of performance. Rated at 480 horsepower, it was an upgrade of 80 horsepower over the standard V-8 X6, yet delivered one more mpg on the highway.
Upgrades for the 2011 model year saw the introduction of a new entry-level six-cylinder engine that goes to a single-turbo, twin-scroll configuration with direct injection that maintained the same performance levels as the previous twin-turbo engine while reducing complexity and cost. Also on the docket for the 2011 model was a three-passenger rear seat option, which increased the X6's capacity to five in total from the prior four-seat configuration. An eight-speed transmission became standard equipment for all but the X6 M, which retained its robust six-speed drivetrain. The new eight-speed's smooth shifting and slightly improved fuel economy make it a noticeable upgrade.
The X6 returned for the 2012 model year, though the ActiveHybrid model was dropped from the lineup.
With a coupe-like profile above the waistline, comfortable seating, high-quality materials and fitment and more high-tech options and features than you can shake a stick at, the X6 has a lot of appeal. On the other hand, the X6 requires premium fuel, can get pricey when loaded with options, and features bulky truck-like styling below the waistline--elements which can turn off some buyers.
None of the X6 family are particularly efficient, however, rating between 16/23 mpg city/highway for the 2013 xDrive35i, 14/20 mpg for the xDrive50i, and a thirsty 12/17 mpg rating for the X6 M.
For the 2013 model year, the X6 range receives a mildly updated exterior look, with the X6 M getting its own unique touches, plus the addition of an M Performance model, new paint colors, and available adaptive LED headlights.