BMW X6 Review

Find out more about the BMW X6 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Well-refined finish
  • Good to drive
  • Diesels offer good economy

Cons

  • Not very good looking
  • Other SUVs more practical
  • High mark-up
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    159 - 237 g/km

Model Review

 

Described by BMW as a ‘Sports Activity Coupe’, the X6 is the result of mixing a coupe body outline with the stature of an SUV, and for some that can sound like a strange combination.

It has, however, proved to be very popular as the X6 and many other models like it have become an item that makes a statement and they are unlike any other cars on the road.

The X6 was first introduced in 2008 becoming the third ‘X’ model behind the X3 and the X5, which are more typical SUVs.

The second generation was brought in the same time as the first X4 – which is the X6’s smaller SAV sibling – in 2014.

Latest Model

 

Based on the X5 – currently BMW’s largest SUV – the X6 is known as the less practical and sportier looking sibling and a car that stands out, especially with the second generation.

The front end design was refined and made more muscular for added presence and with the coupe top-line, there is some sense of style – although it is admittedly not the most beautiful car in the world.

All versions of the X6 come with xDrive all-wheel drive and you have the choice of either the 40i petrol unit or two diesel options in the guise of the 30d and the 40d.

There is, however, only one current trim level available – M Sport – and that really limits the choices on offer to the X6 customer. You also get the X6M model, which is the M Performance model that most BMW lines get.

 

Value for money

 

First things first, the X6 is rather expensive for what it is, especially as its chassis partner the X5 starts off almost £11,000 cheaper and is more practical. But as many who buy the X6 will explain, it is a statement more than anything else and although you will find the technology and features on many other BMWs and you’ll find others much more practical, the X6 is something a bit different and people like that.

You will find plenty of features, such as driving assistant, cruise control with brake assist, adaptive M suspension, heated front sport seats, sports leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, satellite navigation, ConnectedDrive services and many other features besides. However, the £59,060 starting price is – quite frankly – silly and you get all the features and a more capable car in the guise of an X5.

Used models are on offer for less than new models and they off roughly the same sort of package – as there is next to no differentiation between new and used models in terms of specification. You can, however, get X6 M50d models that offer more performance from a 3.0-litre straight six diesel unit and enhanced underpinnings.

One such example is on offer for £51,995 and despite being from 2015 it is the current generation and comes with the same spec as one you can currently buy from new – although if you did buy a fresh version it would cost £70,220.

 

Looks and image 

You could say the X6’s looks are ones only a mother could love – as it were – but as BMW were the pioneer of the coupe/SUV body, they have stuck at it and made it better with the second generation. You can see what they were thinking, as the coupe top line does look very nice, but it just appears that the whole thing is on stilts and is all for show, rather than function.

The inside is a nice place to be and BMW offers a lot of cosmetic options to suit and you can tell that it has been refined and made to feel premium indeed.

BMW has always claimed that the X6 is meant to feel more like a standard car than an SUV and you can see that with how it drives. Despite weighing in excess of two tonnes, body roll is well hemmed-in and only when you push it hard will you feel the high top start to lean, which is thanks to the M Sport-specced adaptive suspension, which you can alter to your preference.

The steering is well-weighted and responsive, but you can feel feedback is a little lax on occasion, and it actually quite surprising how well it goes through the corners.

The sloping roof line does certainly effect the amount of headroom passengers get and taller occupants may feel cramped in the back seats. But otherwise the X6 is a comfortable place to be, with plenty of legroom and well-upholstered leather seats.

The suspension can offer a good ride in ‘Comfort’ mode, but the standard 20-inch alloys do mean that you feel more of the roads imperfections whatever mode you’re in and it only really settles on a long smooth cruise. Sportier damper modes can make the ride much firmer and you may want to keep it in Comfort settings as much as possible.

Space and practicality

Storage-wise you lose 70 litres of boot space if you choose the X6 over the X5, with the ‘6’ offering 580 litres in the rear. That is quite respectable, but you lose practicality with the sloping coupe roof. You do, however, get 40/20/40 split back row, which when folded down make a total space of 1,525 litres behind the front two seats and that can be quite handy. BMW has also installed plenty of storage bins and solutions that make the cabin pretty practical for day-to-day living.

Neither the X6 or chassis partnering X5 have been Euro NCAP-tested, but the X6 comes with a good level of safety technology and also when you look at the model the word ‘flimsy’ doesn’t come to mind. You get driving assistant, dynamic safety and park distance control as standard and they include plenty of pieces of equipment that can ensure your security on the road, but other options are available, such as high beam assistant and adaptive LED headlights, to complete the X6’s overall package.

There is plenty of appeal for families as the X6 does have space for all the accoutrements of family life, as well as Isofix points for child seats in the rear. Although the X6 hasn’t been Euro NCAP tested, the safety systems offer, the model’s sturdy look and BMW’s recent reputation of producing safe vehicles should be enough to convince it is a safe vehicle that can keep your family safe.

 

Engines

 

Although previous engines were available, BMW currently only offer the 50i 450bhp petrol, the 30d 258bhp diesel and the 40d 313bhp diesel, but all offer refined performance and more than enough power for everyday life. With plenty of torque on offer from the base diesel – which is also likely to be the most popular – all the units have plenty of pull when you put your foot down and all are capable of getting to 60mph in under seven seconds, which for a big car is mightily impressive.

 

Running costs

 

It comes as no surprise that the petrol is the least economic engine on offer, offering a measly 29.1mpg at best. Both diesel units can attain over 44mpg thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics technology and the automatic gearbox on offer, which also helps provide a smooth ride also. The petrol unit is also the highest emitting and at best produces 225g/km CO2, which means a first year road tax cost of £1,200.

The diesel models both fit into the same first year bracket that costs £500, but all three models cost over £40,000 and that means £310 is added to the then-annual £140 road tax cost for the following five years. All M Sport are above insurance group 40, with the diesel models in group 42 and 44 and the petrol version fitting in group 46.

Things to look out for

The X6’s history has been smattered with unreliability due to poorly fitted elements and failing equipment, such as a failure of the power steering pump and box, brake failures and the possibility of fire through faulty wiring looms. All of those came before the second generation though and since the X6 hasn’t suffered from many real reliability issues at all.

 

Rivals

The only true rival that can be compared to the X6 is the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, as the body styles are very similar and is a direct comparison. Price-wise it comes up against Porsche’s Cayenne, the Range Rover Sport, the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90, all of which are more conventional SUVs and much more practical.

 

Depreciation warning

Thanks to the badge on the bonnet and the premium SUV standing of the X6, it will perform well on the used market and can hold its value well thanks to its desirability. However, due to the high starting price for most of the range, plus the extra features you would want to add, you could relatively lose a fair amount of money, so be careful how much you add if you plan to sell the model on.

Which X6 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

xDrive30d Sport 5dr Step Auto

Most MPG

xDrive30d Sport 5dr Step Auto

Fastest Model (0-60)

xDrive M50i 5dr Auto

Trims Explained

The X6 is only available in one trim level currently – M Sport – although there is the option of the X6M, but this is quite expensive with a starting prices of a little short of £100,000

M Sport

To be fair to BMW they apply a lot of good equipment to the X6 in M Sport trim, such as BMW ConnectedDrive services with navigation system, infotainment system, cruise control with brake assist function, leather seat upholstery, heated front sports seats, driving assistant safety system and automatic folding mirrors. You also get the iDrive Touch control unit, premium interior finish, LED front fog lights, front and rear park distance control, reversing assist camera, sport steering wheel and voice control system.

The price with the 30d unit is £59,060, while with the 40d it is £61,720. The solitary petrol model – the 50i – starts from £70,820.

Summary

  1. Good to drive
  2. Less practical than similarly sized cars
  3. Styling is not the best
  4. Only one trim level
  5. Well-refined finish
  6. Expensive to buy and run
  7. Great performance from all three engines
  8. Holds its value very well
  9. Has suffered from reliability issues
  10. More of a statement than anything else

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