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2015 BMW X6: New style, power and rear-drive

By Bob Nagy on June 6, 2014 3:34 PM
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Set for an August debut at the Moscow Auto Show, the revamped 2015 BMW X6 will have a slightly edgier exterior, according to images released by the German automaker. The second generation of the new X6 also benefits from an impressive cabin refresh as well as a bump in output for the V8 engine in the top-line X6 xDrive5.0i model. Borrowing a page from the 2015 BMW X3's playbook, the automaker's senior flagship sport activity vehicle also will seek to expand its popularity with Sunbelt buyers by introducing the X6 sDrive30i, its first ever rear-drive variant. Positioned as the entry-level offering, it will be priced below the all-wheel-drive X6 xDrive30i as the entry level model.

Marginally larger than the current X6, the Gen II version is lighter by 35-50 pounds yet stronger and more rigid, a feat accomplished by expanding the use of high- and ultra-high strength steel as well as aluminum, magnesium and various thermoplastics. Underpinning the vehicle is the same basic running gear found on BMW's X5 SUV, which got its own remake for 2014. In addition to a conventional suspension, X6 buyers can opt for a variety of upgrades, including ratio-altering Active Steering, Dynamic Damper Control, full air suspension, the Dynamic Handling Package with Dynamic Performance Control and Adaptive M suspension for X6 models fitted with the M Sport package. 

Also: The Class of 2015 -- New Vehicles Ready to Roll

Bolder styling

Visually, the new X6 largely maintains its familiar profile, but adopts what BMW calls a more "extroverted" design for its fascias. Up front, this added boldness brings more prominent X5-like grille and lamp treatments. Adaptive LED Headlights as well as new LED fog lights are optional. A new rising character line in the rear fender merges into a sleeker tail that features thinner-profile L-shaped LED lamps and a matte-silver underbody element. The X6 remake also includes BMW's now-signature Air Curtains and Air Breathers that help reduce the coefficient of drag on the 2015 iteration to an impressive 0.34. 

The comprehensive remake of the 2015 BMW X6's 5-passenger cabin also borrows freely from the latest X5, netting a more contemporary look and feel. Its new dash shares the X5's the fully programmable Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster with a 10.2-inch center Control Display that works with its standard iDrive controller. A new 40/20/40 split-folding rear bench replaces the current 60/40 unit to add more versatility. However, cargo space is down, dropping from 25.6 to 20.5 cu ft with the rear seat up and dipping to 53.9 from 59.7 cu ft when it's laid flat. A one-touch power tailgate with automatic soft-takedown is standard in the new X6 as is an even larger glass sunroof. 

Also: 10 Best Luxury SUVs

Two engine choices

U.S. buyers will choose between two well-proven engines for the 2015 X6 at launch, both backed by an 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission. The sDrive30i and xDrive30i are fitted with BMW's 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 that makes 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, while the new xDrive50i packs BMW's 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8. For 2015, this twin-turbo engine adds Valvetronic variable valve timing which bumps pony count from 400 to 445 and raises peak torque from 450 to 480 lb ft. Beyond putting a bit more snap in their respective 0-60 mph sprint times, BMW promises "significant efficiency gains," although EPA numbers have not been released. 

Beyond its impressive roster of standards, the 2016 BMW X6 will offer plenty of personalization potential. The xLine and Interior Design Packages add a touch of elegance while M Sport kit bolsters its enthusiast appeal. Other prime X6 options include an enhanced versions of BMW Head-up Display and Night Vision, various BMW ConnectedDrive systems, Active Driving Assistant, Active Cruise Control and Parking Assistant. The 2015 BMW X6 will arrive in showrooms here late this year. Pricing for all models will be announced closer to their actual on-sale date. 

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