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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
It drives like a coupe and has the interior room of a coupe.
The 2011 BMW X6 delivers an astonishing amount of performance considering its size and weight.
It doesn't matter which you choose, all will put a smile on your face.
It might not be the most efficient package on which to base a hybrid, but the X6 is one of the sportiest platforms yet to gain the ability.
Car and Driver
Tapping technology normally found in hybrids, the 2011 X6 gets regenerative braking that charges the battery only when the car is braking, coasting or decelerating.
Three core versions of the 2013 BMW X6 offer a powertrain combination to suit most tastes--even if the exterior doesn't.
Starting at the least-powerful, the X6 xDrive35i uses a turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine to pump out 300 horsepower and 19 mpg average. All-wheel drive is standard in all X6s, and all non-M X6s get an eight-speed automatic transmission. New for 2013 is the M Performance Package, which adds 15 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque to the X6 xDrive35i, or 40 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque for the X6 xDrive50i. The Sport package will no longer be available.
Moving up to the V-8 range, the x6 xDrive50i generates 400 horsepower from a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. Despite the larger power output, the xDrive50i still manages to turn in a combined gas mileage rating of 16 mpg--just 3 mpg worse than the xDrive35i.
The wildly quick X6 M's engine is the same size as the xDrive50i, but extracts a massive 555 horsepower from a more highly-tuned, upgraded engine. Due to the huge power output, the X6 M uses a more robust six-speed automatic transmission--and gets just 14 mpg combined.
Acceleration is brisk, steering feel is a bit weighty but natural, and ride quality doesn't suffer in the name of sport--except in the X6 M. The X6 M is more capable on track than you'd believe possible in a crossover or utility. Enabling M Dynamic Mode keeps a safety net in place while still allowing plenty of room of good, fast driving. The X6 M uses a more robust six-speed automatic transmission.
All X6s handle well, their somewhat carlike looks betraying their equally car-like on-road handling. Body roll is present, though much less so in the X6 M, and the eight-speed transmission in non-M models delivers smooth, quick shifts in either automatic or paddle-shifted manual modes.
The X6 is more capable off-road than you might expect (except for the low-profile-wearing X6 M), but it's still not suitable for expedition use--or anything that might require a low-range transfer case.
The 2013 BMW X6's car-like ride and handling belie its weight, fair off-road capability, and thirst for gasoline.