By KBB.com Editors
When BMW introduced the X6 Sports Activity Vehicle, people immediately either loved it or hated it. But if the vehicle's role in life was in question, its performance and overall curb appeal were not. It features a laundry list of technological features, not least of which is BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive, which not only transfers torque from the front to the rear, but also side-to-side to optimize its capabilities in all directions. The X6 is available as the xDrive35i with a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, the xDrive50i with a turbocharged V8 and the ActiveHybrid. Since the X6 effectively blurs vehicle segment lines in its overall quirkiness, its competitors range from traditional premium SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne or even BMW's own X5 to other low-roof crossovers like the Acura ZDX and Infiniti FX50.
If you're looking for an undeniably sporting drive in an SUV format, the BMW X6 is right up your alley. Its uniquely dramatic styling means you're bound to make a grand entrance wherever you go and it's actually really fun to drive.
Although the xDrive AWD system is fairly sophisticated and assists the vehicle quite well in its on-road behavior, it isn't really meant to be taken off that road. The low roofline compromises rear storage somewhat compared to more upright vehicles like BMW's own X5.
For 2011, a new rear-seat variant will be available, enabling the X6 to accommodate up to five adults rather than just four. The transmission will feature shift paddles on the steering wheel that operate like those in the company's M cars; the right paddle for upshifts, the left for downshifts. The choice of alloy wheels has been extended and BMW ConnectedDrive also becomes available as an option.
Driving Impressions True to its Bavarian heritage, the BMW X6 drives like few other SUVs or crossovers on the planet. This is due in large part to its sophisticated all-wheel drive, which...constantly adjusts itself to the driving situation, and generous running gear that can be made even more generous with various wheel options from BMW. The engines are quite up to the task of moving the vehicle's considerable mass with authority, the xDrive35i less so than the xDrive50i or ActiveHybrid but, still, its 300 horsepower is more than adequate because the 35i version is significantly lighter than the other two. The seating positions, from a sporting driver's point of view, are as good as they come in vehicles of this type. And, even if you don't care to horse something of these dimensions anywhere near its limits, there's still the comfortable, leisurely drive down the boulevard, where you're bound to attract more than a few inquisitive stares.
The X6's spacious interior, while not as roomy as the X5 or 5 Series GranTurismo in terms of vertical space, offers a nice place to spend an evening or afternoon. The new five-seat option expands this capability and makes the X6 about as accommodating as anything that might go up against it.
Found in the xDrive35i and xDrive50i (the ActiveHybrid X6 gets seven forward gears), the eight-speed transmission is a wonder of German engineering. Absolutely smooth and composed during normal driving or even hard acceleration, it is the perfect match for either engine's generous power and torque output.
If you're familiar with BMW vehicles, you'll find yourself at home in the X6. The seating position is good and fairly sporty for an SUV and the cabin is intimate and cockpit-like, impressive for a vehicle this size. Like all new BMWs, the once-reviled iDrive control cluster on the center console has become more intuitive and user friendly, with a cluster of direct-function buttons to assist the control knob.Exterior
BMW set out to create a Sports Activity Vehicle with the sexy, sporty coupe roofline and largely succeeded in that endeavor. From the front it is every bit a sport SUV crossover, while the roofline that plunges toward the rear, a somewhat bulbous rear end and undeniable BMW design elements like the forward kidney grilles and slightly upswept rear gate make the X6 look like virtually nothing else on the road.
The incredibly advanced all-wheel drive system tops the list of standard equipment on the BMW X6, transferring torque fore and aft and left and right to optimize the car's acceleration and road-holding ability. Also standard on the xDrive35i and xDrive50i is an eight-speed transmission, while the hybrid retains a seven-speed. The iDrive information interface is also standard, enabling users access to all dash-mounted functions such as audio and climate control and vehicle communication systems, as well as satellite navigation if the vehicle is equipped with that option.
Several package bundles are available, including Technology, which includes navigation with real-time traffic information and voice-command capability; Cold Weather, with heated front seats and steering wheel and retractable headlight washers; a Premium Sound Package; a Premium Package with ambiance interior lighting, Bluetooth and a universal garage door opener; and Sport packages with 19-inch or optional 20-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, sport seats and special upholstery appointments. Stand-alone options include Active Steering, Adaptive Drive, a head-up display that projects on the windshield and safety systems, including Lane Departure Warning.
The X6 xDrive35i receives a version of BMW's TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower. The X6 xDrive50i receives a TwinPower Turbo V8 that ups the ante to 400 peak Horsepower. The ActiveHybrid X6 also utilizes the turbocharged V8, which is further paired with dual electric synchronous motors that can move the vehicle on their own or assist on acceleration, producing a maximum 485 horsepower. The two gasoline-powered variants both use an eight-speed automatic with Steptronic shift capability (via paddles mounted on the steering wheel), while the hybrid uses a seven-speed automatic.
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line 6
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1200-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
400 horsepower @5500-6400 rpm
450 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, dual electric synchronous motors
485 horsepower @ 5500-6400 rpm (hybrid mode)
575 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-4500 rpm (hybrid mode)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/19
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