By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
Who could have imagined marrying the tall ride height and all-wheel-drive ability of an SUV with the fastback styling of a sleek coupe would produce a desirable vehicle, but that’s exactly what BMW has done with the 2017 X6 SUV. Once an army of one, the X6 has been cloned by such notables as the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Frankly we’re somewhat puzzled by the X6’s appeal. It isn’t a very off-road-capable vehicle and comes up short in areas designated for cargo and passengers. The 2017 BMW X6’s size precludes it from being as sporty as an Infiniti QX30 or Lexus NF, and yet despite these many drawbacks, the X6 is remarkably fun to drive and seems to have gained a loyal following.
If you’re looking for a luxury SUV with unique looks, good handling and a lengthy options list, the 2017 BMW X6 SUV might appeal to you. It doesn’t come cheap, but then again what BMW does?
If you need any part of the “utility” in Sport-Utility Vehicle, the 2017 BMW X6’s tiny cargo area, sharply slanted rear hatch and small rear seat probably won’t impress you. An X5 gives you similar performance as the X6 within a far more usable package.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes for BMW’s 2017 X6 SUV are minor this year. The navigation system is updated to iDrive 5.0 and the Anthracite headliner is now standard. The 3.5i’s Premium package is enhanced with wireless phone charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Despite its hulky, oddly proportioned exterior, the 2017 BMW X6 SUV is an impressive performer. The all-wheel-drive grip and 445-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 in the xDrive50i is particularly alluring, especially in...
... light of its 4.6-second zero-to-60-mph run. The X6’s wide tires hold the pavement like Jack and Rose clutching the Titanic’s rail just before going under, making it more fun to drive than the larger X5. In town, the X6 behaves very much like a BMW sedan, which is to say comfortable and responsive. Off-roading is not recommended, but thanks to its all-wheel drive and hill-descent control, the X6 can tackle steep terrain providing its limited ground clearance doesn’t become an impediment. The X6’s rear quarters suffer from massive blind spots making backing up or maneuvering somewhat laborious, and we were unimpressed by the less-than-seamless idle start/stop system. Thankfully, the engine-idle feature can be disabled.
10.2-INCH COMMAND SCREEN
In comparison to the X6’s other interior features, the 10.2-inch high-resolution display screen looks like a 72-inch flat-screen TV in a studio apartment. Not that we mind as the display provides crystal-clear navigation guidance, entertainment info and readouts.
BMW ULTIMATE SERVICE
The complex nature of today’s cars makes timely maintenance all the more important. With BMW’s Ultimate Service, factory-scheduled maintenance is covered for four years or 50,000 miles, saving you money while giving added peace of mind. The service also includes four years and unlimited miles of roadside assistance.
BMW owners will feel right at home inside a 2017 X6 SUV. The front seats are a comfortable and rewarding place to be, and the leathers are sublime and padded everywhere, and the trim and controls are all top-notch. Even though rear-seat passengers have decent legroom and their own dual-zone climate control (standard on the V8 models, optional on 6-cylinder models), the lack of headroom makes it a short-term proposition for most passengers. But just fold the seatbacks down -- you'll need the extra cargo space anyhow -- and pretend the X6 is the coupe it so desperately wants to be.
The BMW X6 is a love-it-or-leave-it design. For some it's big and bloated, and it looks bigger in person than it does it photos...where it already looks pretty big. The high-riding stance combined with the sloping coupe-like hatchback shape is just weird, and takes some getting used to. But others love it right off the bat. This 2nd-generation version goes a long way toward cleaning up some of the first version's cluttered lines, especially in back. And yes, there's even a bit of practicality thanks to high-illumination bi-xenon headlights and a power tailgate.
The base 2017 BMW X6 is the sDrive35i, which comes with a 6-cylinder engine powering the rear wheels (RWD); the xDrive35i and xDrive 50i both have all-wheel drive (AWD) standard. Other standard features include a leather interior, moonroof, power tailgate, parking sensors, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, 10-way-power front seats with heat, and universal garage remote. A recently upgraded Bluetooth gives drivers better control over their devices, and integrates with the standard iDrive infotainment system that includes navigation, 9-speaker AM/FM/CD player with Bluetooth streaming, USB port and hard drive for music storage. The niche X6 M model has the lineup's most powerful engine.
The 2017 BMW X6 comes nicely equipped, but upgrade packages are available for those willing to pay. We suggest the Driver Assistance package that adds a rearview camera and head-up display; the Driver Assistance Plus package also adds blind-spot monitoring, bird's-eye-view camera system, active cruise control and lane-departure warning. A Bang & Olufsen sound system is available if the standard harman/kardon system isn't spectacular enough, and there are ventilated front seats, satellite radio, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. M Sport and X Line packages feature 20-inch wheels and unique interior and exterior aesthetics.
There are three different turbocharged engines to choose from in BMW’s 2017 X6. First is the 6-cylinder available in the RWD sDrive35i and AWD xDrive35i. The xDrive50i uses a twin-turbocharged V8, and the X6 M uses a higher-output version of that engine for ultimate go power. All models use an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission, and all also feature an auto stop/start function that stops the engine in situations such as traffic lights where it would otherwise idle. The startups can be jarring and, if frequent, annoying. Thankfully it can be disabled with the touch of a button.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (sDrive35i, xDrive35i)
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (RWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (xDrive50i)
445 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (X6 M)
567 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The least you can pay for a 2017 BMW X6, including the $995 destination charge, is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $62,395 for a base-level X6 sDrive35i. In other words, you're paying about $6,000 more than a base X5. Add about $2,500 for all-wheel drive. If you want the V8-powered xDrive50i you're looking at nearly $77,000. And for the ultimate in ridiculous power in your SUV, the 2017 BMW X6 M starts at around $103,000. That's Porsche Cayenne money no matter how you slice it, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is in the same neighborhood. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their X6. If past performance is any indicator, the X6's resale value is expected to be in line with Infiniti's coupe-like SUV rival and lower than that of the Porsche.