By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/8/2011
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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2012
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 It 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!Favorite Features
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.