2019 BMW X6 Review

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2019
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2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

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December 5, 2018

The 2019 BMW X6 pioneered the sloped-roof SUV segment and maintains high quality and performance, but it’s showing its age.

The 2019 BMW X6 is the original coupe-like SUV, and love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Based on its fraternal twin, the X5, the 2019 X6 is still a year away from a total redesign like its more practical sibling. The current X6 still represents the funky, less utilitarian, and curiously more expensive option. We give it a 6.0 out of 10 overall for strong engine options but a hefty price tag and limited utility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Since it’s due to be redesigned, the 2019 X6 carries over unchanged for another year, keeping the same option packages and the rip-roaring X6 M variant, which makes 567 horsepower and reaches 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds.

The rest of the X6 range is available with an inline-6 or V-8, both of which are turbocharged and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Power tops out at 445 hp, enough for a 4.6-second 0-60 time for the V-8 model. Rear-wheel drive is standard with the option for all-wheel-drive, a box that most buyers will check.

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Besides its obvious visual flair, the X6 maintains a high build quality and several genuine luxury features and customization options despite being at the end of the current generation’s run. Still, if it’s practicality you’re seeking, the X5 presents a much more reasonable option.

Given its limited sales volume, the X6 still hasn’t been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS and likely will not be, but last year’s X5 is closely related and performed well in safety evaluations.

Active safety technologies are available on the X6, and for 2019 BMW made more features such as lane-departure warnings and automatic emergency braking standard.

The X6 comes standard with Apple CarPlay compatibility, but BMW treats its smartphone integration like a subscription service. After the first year of ownership, BMW charges $80 annually to access the system.

7

2019 BMW X6

Styling

Several years on, the 2019 BMW X6 remains a head-turner inside and out that still draws strong opinions.

The 2019 BMW X6 manages to fuse bulky SUV looks and a sleek coupe roofline with mixed results. We like the luxurious interior and willingness to try something different outside, warranting a rating of 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to the X6: many love it, many more hate it. But like it or not, this bulky Bimmer pioneered a design than many have copied, and despite its relative age, the X6 still remains a style statement.

From the front, the X6 is nearly indistinguishable from last year’s X5, but with its more practical sibling redesigned this year, the X6 is set to soldier on another year or two. From the side and out back is where the differences are noticeable, with the trademark coupe-like roofline and tighter rear fascia that opens up into a liftback.

Naturally, the X6 looks best in M guise, which dials up the intensity to 11 with fender flares, massive wheels, and a variety of go-fast styling cues.

Inside, the cabin is reminiscent of the old X5, but still offers high quality materials and a pleasing, business-like design.

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2019 BMW X6

Performance

The 2019 BMW X6 blends BMW’s trademark handling chops with strong engines, but its weight is noticeable.

The 2019 BMW X6 offers strong engines and impressive handling and ride quality, but is betrayed by its considerable heft. We’ve given it 7 out of 10 points or performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 X6 is available in inline-6 or V-8 flavor, both of which offer considerable performance. The base sDrive35i makes 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque from a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional, but don’t expect the X6 to be a mud-plugger. All X6s come with an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard, which features smooth, quick shifts that manage leisurely and spirited driving with equal aplomb.

Stepping up to the xDrive50i model brings standard all-wheel drive and 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque from a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, making the sprint to 60 mph a 4.7-second affair.

For those who just aren’t satisfied with anything less than 500 horsepower, the absurd X6 M stuffs in a race car-like 567 hp and 553 lb-ft from the same size V-8. The X6 M packs more than just extra grunt though, with racing-inspired mechanicals including a limited slip differential, air suspension, and heavy-duty sway bars not to mention bigger brakes and wheels mated to sticky tires. It handles almost as well as some smaller sports cars, but with less steering feel.

Both of the non-M X6 variants offer smooth acceleration and a comfortable ride, as well as competence in the corners, but this SUV’s considerable heft is noticeable on twisty roads, and the light steering leaves a little to be desired.

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2019 BMW X6

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 BMW X6 delivers on quality and comfort, but not so much on practicality.

The 2019 BMW X6 has no shame about being less practical than a traditional SUV, but still delivers on comfort and quality. We’ve given it 6 out of 10 with consideration for its meager cargo space and limited rear seat comfort. It gets points for its luxurious feel and comfortable seats, but loses one for its compromised back seat. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Befitting of its price tag, the X6 is available with a wide variety of upholstery and trim options, including real leather, wood and metal trim, and a sea of soft-touch plastics that have a high-quality feel to them. Added touches including ambient lighting and luxury features like available heated and ventilated seats go far to make this a bona-fide luxury SUV, and it should be, as a loaded X6 M tops out at well over $100,000.

Thanks to its sloping roofline, however, rear seat headroom and legroom is limited and cargo space is cut by 25 percent, making taller items much more difficult to haul out back. Still, 27 cubic feet of capacity isn’t bad, but those looking to haul large items more often would be wise to stick with the X5.

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2019 BMW X6

Safety

The 2019 BMW X6 hasn’t been crash tested and won’t be, but still packs several active safety technologies.

Both the NHTSA and IIHS still have not crash tested the 2019 BMW X6, but we can make some conclusions based on the performance of the X5 which has the same platform and a similar size. Still, because it lacks scores, we’re unable to give it a rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The X5 scores five stars overall from the NHTSA, and good marks in what limited testing was done by the IIHS, so the X6 is likely to perform similarly well.

All versions of the X6 come with multiple airbags, stability and traction control, and a standard backup camera. This year, active safety tech such as automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors are newly standard. Their absence last year was inexecusible at the prices BMW charges.

For even more, buyers can opt for a head-up display system, adaptive headlights, and active parking assist which can steer the vehicle into parallel or perpendicular spaces with the push of a button.

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2019 BMW X6

Features

The 2019 BMW X6 offers plenty of luxury features for a variety of budgets, and no model is basic.

Each 2019 BMW X6 comes with a number of luxury features and a large infotainment screen, though true luxury options get expensive fast. The options list was simplified last year, and we’ve seen fit to give this unconventional crossover SUV 7 out of 10 for its feature set.  It gets points for its good standard features, its big infotainment system, and its wide array of options, but we dial one back for BMW’s stinginess when it comes to certain features such as Apple CarPlay.(Read more about how we rate cars.)

You can have the X6 in base, Premium, M Sport, or Executive configurations, each of which unlocks a different set of options. A-la-carte features are still available, but BMW has simplified things by grouping popular options together.

Base models come with 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and power and heated front seats. Stepping up to the Premium package adds keyless ignition, satellite radio, and wireless phone charging, while the M Sport model yields a unique steering wheel and seats, as well as some performance options like a specially-tuned suspension.

The top-tier Executive package includes nicer leather, full LED headlights, soft-close doors, cooled front seats, and Harman Kardon audio, while standalone options include higher-zoot Bang & Olufsen speakers and an air suspension. Though navigation is standard, Apple CarPlay requires an annual subscription to access after the first year of ownership.

The bonkers X6 M includes racing-inspired seats, carbon fiber trim options, and a few unique colors beside all the performance upgrades you get for a six-figure starting price.

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2019 BMW X6

Fuel Economy

The 2019 BMW X6 isn’t as thirsty as its high performance would suggest, but it’s no fuel-miser either.

Despite high-powered engines, the 2019 BMW X6 manages decent fuel economy in some trims. We’ve given it 3 out of 10 as such. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Unlike many vehicles, there’s no penalty for opting for all-wheel-drive with the X6, as both the sDrive35i and xDrive35i models manage 18 mpg city, 24 highway, and 20 combined. Stepping up to the V-8 xDrive50i, which comes standard with all-wheel-drive, surprisingly only drops those numbers slightly to 17/22/19 mpg.

The high-powered X6 M performs considerably worse at 14/19/16 mpg, but that’s the price you pay for supercar-like performance.

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$63,550
MSRP based on sDrive35i Sports Activity Coupe
 
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 3
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