Ten years after its release, the BMW X6 is still alive and kicking - or at least, twitching from time to time. It is a bold experiment in SUV design that seems to have more shortcomings than advantages, but it still appeals to enough buyers that the German manufacturer hasn't totally abandoned the concept - if the X4 is anything to go by. For the starting price of $62,950, you get a 300-horsepower inline-six engine that delivers 300 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to move this hefty vehicle along. But, unlike the cheaper X5 or Mercedes GLE, the X6 presents you with a sleek roofline that accentuates its athletic playfulness. The SUV has always had impressive handling dynamics for a vehicle of its size, but now it has the looks too, and all you have to sacrifice is a large chunk of cargo space and the comfort of your rear passengers.
The BMW X6 enters 2018 almost completely unchanged. As per the 2018 U.S. regulations, a rearview camera is now equipped as standard.
As you'd expect from a luxury brand like BMW, the X6 sits on the pricier side of the spectrum. But even within the luxury mid-size SUV segment, it's pretty expensive with a starting MSRP of $62,950 for the base-model sDrive35i. Opting for the all-wheel xDrive35i variant will cost you an additional $2,300. The price hike up to the top-tier xDrive50i is quite startling, as it asks you to lay down $77,700 without any optional extras. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and BMW's destination charge of $995.
See trim levels and configurations:
Despite the sporty styling of the chassis, the X6 is not a sports car. It has the power of one, especially when equipped with the available V8 engine, but its size will always play against its handling. Nonetheless, BMW has applied its expertise well with this SUV. The summer tires cling to the road well, and body roll is surprisingly tame for a vehicle of this size. However, steering is often a guessing game as the wheel gives little idea of what the tires are doing, and the high ground clearance of the X6 only serves to accentuate the detachment of the driver from the road further.
Still, the steering is light and responsive, and the choice between Comfort and Sport modes allows for a certain degree of control over how engaging the SUV can be. While the steering might not inspire as much confidence as we may like, the brakes don't disappoint. They are powerful and receptive to input. Despite the X6's 4,500 - 5,000 lb weight, it can be brought to a swift halt from 60 mph in just 108 feet.
As with the steering, ride comfort is strongly affected by the choice between Comfort and Sport mode. As the name implies, Comfort mode encourages the suspension to soak up road imperfections without letting the driver know they were even there. Combined with the plush seats around the cabin, this delivers a ride that lives up the luxury BMW brand. In Sport mode, the suspension stiffens, trading comfort for better control and engagement with the SUV.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The BMW X6 fills an unusual niche segment that only recently came into being - the fastback crossover SUV, or Sports Activity Coupe, as BMW calls it. Other manufacturers are still trying to play catch-up to the innovative German company, so it's no surprise that the BMW still stands out. That said, this niche segment is not for everyone. True, the X6 delivers an interesting and unique driving experience, being more sporty and exciting that other SUVs, but it makes some pretty serious sacrifices for this playfulness.
Sometimes all play and no work can be a vehicle's downfall, and it could be argued that the X6 falls victim to this. The sloping coupe-style roof gives the car a sporty, almost sedan-like appearance, but it still has all the weight of a mid-size SUV. However, for these looks, it pays a hefty price in utility, losing around nine cubic feet of cargo space over the X5 on which it is modeled. The rear passengers also suffer from limited headroom and awkward ingress.
Still, the X6 delivers a driving experience that can hardly be faulted. It is athletic and fun in a way that few large vehicles can compete with. If you don't particularly mind the reduced cargo space, and you have a small family (with members on the short side), then this SUV could certainly spice up your daily commute or family outings. Just be sure you know what you're getting into, as the BMW doesn't have stellar fuel economy, and it already costs more than its more practical X5 counterpart. The BMW X6 is a great SUV if you can look past all these factors.
With so many packages available to customize your purchase, you can get everything you really need on the 35i models without needing to shell out the extra $10k for the V8 xDrive50i. 300 hp and 300 lb-ft is plenty of power to move the sporty SUV. The sDrive feels more focused on performance in this guise thanks to its rear-wheel drivetrain, but the xDrive35i is still a great performer and offers the added peace of mind that all-wheel-drive brings, especially if you drive in adverse weather conditions often. If you truly desire pure road dominance, the xDrive50i with its 445-hp engine won't disappoint. But if you want that level of aggressive driving, should you even be looking at an SUV to start with?
|BMW X6||375 hp||23/26 mpg||$73,900|
|Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV||255 hp||19/27 mpg||$56,150|
|BMW X4||248 hp||21/28 mpg||$54,200|
The niche coupe-style crossover SUV is still a relatively new segment, and not many have tried to emulate what BMW started with the X6. But, never one to back down from a challenge, Mercedes offered up its GLE Coupe as a rival. Now both SUVs have been on the market for a while and are beginning to show their age. Naturally, the GLE makes similar sacrifices in terms of utility and interior space, and while its rear seats are easier to access, they aren't as spacious as the X6's. Where the GLE does outpace the X6 is the base engine, which delivers 362 hp as opposed to the BMW's 300 hp, while also offering more balanced handling compared to ride quality. However, it doesn't offer a second engine option to compete with BMW's impressive V8. So if you are still trying to be economical, the Mercedes offers more at a more affordable price tag. But let's face it, if you're looking at these brands and this particular style of vehicle, you're trying to make a statement - and that statement won't be "I couldn't afford the beastly BMW X6 xDrive 50i".
Built as a follow-up to the successful experiment that was the X6, the BMW X4 follows the same approach and serves as a redesign of the smaller X3, with a focus on sportiness that doesn't sacrifice too much utility. It is smaller and nimbler than the X6 and only gets access to the weaker 300-hp engine that BMW uses in the X6 35i twins. However, due to its smaller size and lower overall weight, the X4 gets performance from this engine that competes with the X6. So if athletic handling is your primary concern, then the X4 does seem like the logical choice, but the X6 is bigger, more luxurious, and makes a bolder statement. Considering that neither of these vehicles is particularly practical, you may as well opt for the most ridiculously opulent one and get the X6, despite the $15k hike in pricing.
The most popular competitors of 2018 BMW X6: