Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

First Spin: 2009 BMW X6

Follow Marty











I'm not the world's biggest fan of the BMW X5 sport-utility vehicle, but the new X6 has me intrigued. This week I have the new "Sports Activity Coupe" in my driveway and I'm going to figure out before Sunday afternoon exactly what the appeal might be.

It has to start with the styling, I think. I don't like the X5 boxy looks. Few SUVs escape that style or even try to, though the Mercedes-Benz GL is tough and square and I like its detailing. The X5 also feels heavy and ponderous, and for all the upright lines, it's not the most space-efficient SUV in the world.

But the X6? It's a wholly new prospect. Similar in size and mechanically related to the X5, the X6 is a different beast entirely, though it shares the X5's chassis, engine and transmission lineup, and South Carolina birthplace. The X6 doesn't bother so much with functionality -- it's a sexy silhouette on top. And it has some lovely details above its beltline, like the cat-eye headlamps, discreet fender jewelry and nicely shaped taillamps.

What doesn't work is unusual. Most cars that have disjointed designs have front and rear ends that part ways on bad terms. Here, it's a top-bottom division. The lower half of the car has unironic fog lamps, beefy wheel wells and cladding. And it's so tall that the coupe-like effect is diminished. You might want to compare it to Porsche's Panamera sedan that's on tap for 2010, but it bears more than a passing resemblance in profile to the AMC Eagle (and we're not the only ones who think so).

How does that slinky roofline affect its function? The X6 - only slightly different in shape from the concept shown at last fall's Frankfurt auto show - is clearly less oriented toward passenger room and cargo capacity and more focused on personal driving pleasure and aesthetics. The same organic lines that give its athletically feminine profile limit any aspiration to be a daily people hauler. With its sloping roofline, it's most likely be driven by consumers who have a high priority on style and status and very little concern for passenger capacity.

And inside it's a busy place. The sweeping dash is festooned with buttons and gadgets trimmed in black and wood and aluminum, and so is the console -- and there's a shifter lever that isn't at all intuitive. But there are paddles to control the gears, a meaty steering wheel, and enough headroom to get comfortable.

How does it rank on cargo and people carrying? I'll check back with more observations, and leave you with BMW's pricing details announced this week. The base six-cylinder X6 xDrive35i goes on sale this month from $53,275. To get the V-8-powered X6 xDrive50i, you'll spend $63,775.
Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (7)
  1. This is a new poster child for conspicuous consumption. Take one moderately useful, expensive, heavy sport ute (the X5). Remove all pretense of utility. And whaddaya have left? A 5000 lb. hatchback with enough space for two and their snowboards.

    Efficient dynamics? Yeah... right.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. The whole 'sport' utility thing loses me. The only 'sport' in SUVs is that they let you carry kayaks and skis and soccer stuff for the kids.

    Likewise with BMW's 'sport activity' whatever. Yeah, okay, that means you can throw your tennis bag in the back.

    I have no interest in or use for anything like the X6, it strikes me personally as a Really Stupid Idea, but I guess it does represent a reasonable sort of response to the crumbling condition of our roads.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Once in a while BMW spits out some really DUMB designs, and this sure is one of them.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. Gee......I was hoping to read about the Eagle.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. I think i'll stick with the original. FX50 for me please.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. I saw one of theses "things" in testing near Savannah, GA, about 200 miles from the SC home base. I asked the two guys from BMW "Why?" Either an X5 or X3 fits the "SAV" bill quite well. The BMW marketing folk must be under the influence of something. Unlike the MB R Class (real ugly), it won't carry 6 in style and it can't carry more than 2-3 cases of beer much less four sets of golf clubs. Anyway, the response to my question was a simple shrug of the shoulders by both guys as if to say, "it beats us too." Too small, too heavy, too expensive and sorely lacking in any utility.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. This car is just a response to market reality. Especially for the South where most people drive pickup trucks and SUVs to go with their sense of style, image, and safety, not because they need the utility.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.