By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
To its credit, in the evolution of its sport-sedan fleet BMW has come a long way. Although some might take issue with the 1 Series sheetmetal when compared to an early 2002, few would argue with the dynamic improvements. BMW's recent foray into the SUV market is something else altogether, and nothing in its lineup is so egregious – to the BMW faithful – as the X6 and its many derivatives - including a 6-cylinder version, a wicked-powerful hybrid model and the 547-horsepower twin-turbocharged X6 M. What the Bavarians describe as the "first ever Sports Activity Coupe" is – in our view – the answer to a question too few have asked. Built atop the BMW X5 platform in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the X6 enjoys the unique distinction of weighing slightly more than the X5, costing significantly more and transporting significantly less. It is – again, in our view – a lose/lose/lose proposition, but then, enthusiasts of the 2002 (or, for that matter, today's 1 Series Coupe) are probably not on the X6 team's marketing radar.
If you regard traditional 2-box SUVs as smacking of a minivan or mom-mobile, but still need some balance between people and cargo, the rear hatch and folding rear seats of the X6 provide more utility than a traditional sedan, and the higher hip point of the driver's seat suggests enhanced control in congested environments. Finally, BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive provides enhanced control in rural environs.
If you seek an SUV for its practical application in hauling people and/or cargo, the 2012 X6 falls woefully short. Better, we think, to invest in a 3 Series wagon and, with the change, someone's pre-owned Jeep. The X6 suffers from not enough ground clearance for going off-road, and not enough headroom for carrying four to five passengers in real comfort.
For the 2011 model year the X6 received both a new in-line-6 and 8-speed automatic transmission. The only significant addition to the 2012 BMW X6 is the availability of a split-folding rear seat, enabling three passengers to sit abreast when, of course, said seat isn't folded. This increases the X6 passenger volume by 25 percent, a nod to practicality you won't find elsewhere in the X6 architecture.
Driving Impressions The X6 platform benefits from all those well-engineered chassis that went before it. And while it sits higher than a 3 Series or 5 Series sedan, a rigid body structure,...all-independent suspension and xDrive all-wheel drive effectively mask its oh-so-obvious mass. In point of fact, you'll probably not take note of the X6's basic inefficiency until you stop for gasoline, where its most efficient variant – the ActiveHybrid – won't achieve 20 miles per gallon. The V8 versions are thirsty, but you have the benefit of more urgency. Drink up!
xDrive All-Wheel Drive
If selecting an SUV (or SAV), the vehicle's additional weight should at least be offset by some all-season capability. And few all-wheel-drive systems are more capable than BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive. Despite the additional hardware, the X6 – in most versions – still enjoys an almost ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Even in the Sunbelt, the very occasional rain or snow will only reinforce your purchase decision.
Historically Good Resale
There is absolutely no rational reasoning behind the purchase of BMW's X6. It is an impulse buy, and as such, you should prepare yourself in advance for buyer's remorse. Happily, the X6 should still provide a reasonable return on your investment. If you're leasing rather than purchasing, however, we'd advise a short-term lease, after which you can find a true sport sedan. Or true SUV.
Inside you'll find traditional BMW strengths in the area of driver ergonomics and - if you can overlook the lack of rear-seat headroom - passenger comfort. The view from the driver's seat is not unlike that of the 6 Series until, of course, you try to view what's behind you in the next lane. Then, the blind spot that is the 2012 BMW X6 fastback profile makes itself known. To its credit, everything is well crafted, and the tighter cabin dimensions convey an intimacy rarely offered in more traditional SUVs.Exterior
Beauty, we'd agree, is in the eye of the beholder. With that, behold a "sporty" fastback roofline atop an SUV platform. With the end result weighing some 5,000 pounds it becomes hard to fully appreciate the execution when built on such a shaky assumption. To its credit, the X6 is less awkward than Honda's Crosstour, but we're damning the 2012 X6 with very faint praise.
Those with a need for all-season mobility can revel in the addition of xDrive all-wheel drive to all variants of the X6 architecture. With its ability to transfer engine torque the system optimizes control in virtually any road condition. Add to that BMW's attention to on-road dynamics and an extremely rigid body shell, and you have the makings of a 4- to 5-passenger GT. The addition of an 8-speed automatic in 2011 aids in both responsive acceleration and efficient cruising; it is standard on both xDrive35i and xDrive50i.
Most significant options are bundled into various packages, and include Active Ventilated Seat Package, Cold Weather, Premium, Premium Sound, Sport/Sport Activity and Technology. Given the X6 mission of combining all-season capability with sports coupe demeanor, we believe one of the two Sport packages goes a long way in enhancing the X6's sport-oriented presence. Among stand-alone options, BMW's Active Steering enhances maneuverability at lower speeds, while the Chateau Nevada Leather (in red) enhances eye appeal at any speed.
In its entry-level xDrive35i form, the 2012 X6 benefits from the delightful strains of BMW's turbocharged (300 horsepower/300 lb-ft of torque) in-line-6. And despite wonderful performance numbers – a 0-60 time of just over six seconds and an electronically limited top end of 130 – the 5,000 pounds of the X6 will be felt with a full passenger and cargo load. Opt for the xDrive50i and you'll enjoy some 100 more horses and an extra 150 lb-ft of torque, which is probably the sweet spot in the X6 lineup. Both the ActiveHybrid and X6 M offer more go, but they also both start north of $90,000. The xDrive35i and xDrive50i are connected to 8-speed automatic transmissions, the hybrid receives a 7-speed automatic and the "M" makes do with six. But at 150 mph, who's counting?
3.0-liter turbocharged in-line-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
400 horsepower @5,500-6,400 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, dual electric synchronous motors
480 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm (hybrid mode)
575 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm (hybrid mode)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/19
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (X6 M)
555 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
500 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,650 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17
By Dhesse7760 (CO) on Sunday, November 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "A muscle SUV that puts fun back into the commute"
Cons: "Speed limit signs, traffic cops"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"At 85 mph the X6 feels like it's going 25. Punch it and the twin turbos throw you back into the seat like your launching from the X15. So much power, so little road. Instant acceleration and the rocket ship is traveling well over a 100 before you can say NASA. This flagship turns heads as it rolls past the sleepy commuters sipping java in the predawn darkness. Superior interior design makes it difficult to exit the vehicle and swagger into the office. It is a muscle car. The exhaust rumbles. Truly the best vehicle I've ever owned. BMW's high end components make this so much better than the typical "mid life crisis" upgrade. Mid life crisis? He'll yes. Do I blow off work, grab the wife and take a drive over Independence Pass passing the Porsche club members on hair pin curves at 85 mph or do I head down I25 to Santa Fe for some art work and a cup of coffee? Now that's what I call a crisis."
By Sam (NY) on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stealth feeling..... but classy in it's own way!"
Cons: "Need over head sunglass holder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this machine! This cross over is fast, tight in the turns and when you step on it there's no dead spot!I have the middle level so it nicely loaded with enough features, including the full back seat. Only thing i like to see BMW do is put in a over head sun glass holder. It surprising how my daughter's 17 thousand dollar Ford Focus has one! I been after BMW for years on this issue being this isn't my first BMW. I came from the X5 to the X6 and there identical inside for exception of the roof tapers down in the back a little so less head room for tall passengers. I get all kinda of great complements on my X6! Plus there's not a 100 thousands of then at ever intersection."
By Nikki (GA) on Monday, April 22, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Extremely fun to drive"
Cons: "Pricey for upkeep"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"If you want exclusivity, this is it. I have 2012 xDrive35i. It's nice. Bought it without even test driving it. Built it online and had it delivered to me. Rides great. The tires, yes you will pay for new tires every 6 months. If you go to BMW it's around $1500 for rear (315/20s) and $11-1300 for front (275/20s). I went to BMW Performance Center in SC and they said you can get non run flats for better price like Michelins. That's what I'll do my next set of tires. I have been told I have a heavy foot, but even my mother (who tells me to slow down) does 80 in this car automatically. Be careful with the speed. Overall, nice luxury, if you have the money otherwise just an expensive car for the drive. Easily gets dings due to construction material. Windshield gets knicks easily too. Very safe car. It earned its stripes one day I had to make a quick maneuver to avoid a bad driver going around a curve. It handled well and did not rollover. I receive many compliments from the average driver and car enthusiasts. Mine is Vermillion Red. I will get extended warranties."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Sun Devil (AZ) on Thursday, March 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,750overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "You don't see many on the road"
Cons: "Tires don't last long and are expensive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have a 2012 3.5 XDrive. You can't beat the styling and performance in an SUV. I bought this because my kids out grew the back seat of my 2003 Porsche Carerra. You won't find a better 4 door vehicle for sportyness and handling. The BMW 4 year 50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty is great but....the only thing not covered is TIRES & GLASS. I am already on my 3rd Windshield and ready to go on my 3rd set of tires. I was on my 2nd windshield and 2nd set of tires before I needed my first oil change. The angle of the windshield is prone to rock chips and cracking."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By john (NY) on Sunday, December 16, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling and speed"
Cons: "Gas milage and pricing"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"3rd BMW i have owned previous where X5 3.5 L and 4.4 L I have the 5L loaded with everything but entertainment package. It drives like a sports car .Fast an agile you would not think it weighs over 5000LBs. I hate to see it go I think it is one of the nicest cars I have owned but it does drink fuel and its time for me to move on .I have had no real problems with it at all.Chose the standard sport tire this time and everything was fine.Last one I chose the largest rims and had cracks and warping of the rims."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By In love with X6 (International) on Sunday, November 04, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The design of the car is unique."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought a 2013 35i X6 with the m-package and just love the car. The look and feel of this car is outstanding. I get compliments all the time. Absolutely amazing car!"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful