Can a five-door coupe-hatchback-SUV ever
work? In a word, yes. The BMW X6 is the most striking car the company makes, combining truly gargantuan proportions to offer up massive road presence. Make no mistake, this is a big
The BMW X6 takes the pumped-up looks of the BMW X5 SUV and chops the roof to create the world’s first production SUV-coupe. The sloping roof mixes excellently with the rising waistline sweeping from the front through to the high rear, while the familiar BMW face lends an intimidating front for such a high-riding car.
And it draws attention on the road like no other – be warned, this is definitely not a car for shrinking violets.
10/102. Looks inside
The familiar BMW ergonomics continue inside, and the cabin is lifted pretty much intact from the X5 – which is no bad thing at all.
The interior trim is excellently screwed together and the quality of plastics and overall fit and finish is superb. Everything falls to hand easily, and the iDrive is intuitive and easy to operate, controlling the navigation, phone integration, music selection and TV. Our test car came equipped with a DVD player too.
The back features two sculpted seats with a large storage area separating them, and there are numerous cubby holes dotted around the X6 to hide stuff.
The lack of a third space in the back may prove troublesome, but then that’s not the point of this car…
Surprisingly good, considering its purpose. The boot is massive, with 570-litres of storage space on offer – more than the 555-litre boot in the VW Touareg – and flattening the rear seats opens up 1,450 litres.
The high-riding position and good rear-headroom coupled with simply fantastic supportive seats means the BMW X6 is a comfortable cruiser.
However, the high rear-windscreen combined with the X6’s massive bulk means manoeuvring it around smaller towns and car parks can prove tricky – thankfully our test car came with proximity sensors which show up on the centrally-mounted screen.
But any reservations you may have about its looks, its size or its purpose suddenly disappear when you find a good, quiet road…
4. Ride and Handling
To say the BMW X6 handles astonishingly well it to borrow from a bag of well-worn clichés. That its handling beggars belief is to make a gross understatement – you simply will not believe the level of grip and finesse with which the X6 carries itself.
There is virtually no body-roll through the twisty stuff, and the sensation of ‘enthusiastic’ driving in something so high is a little hard to get around your head at first – but only for a moment.
The X6 settles into a great stance when hustled, offering acres of grip thanks to its Dynamic Performance Control, which monitors the wheels with the most traction and distributes the power accordingly.
The steering feels light when you’re driving straight on, but chuck it into a bend and it feels chunky, weighty and gives good feedback about the road conditions. You will never tire of driving through challenging B-roads and be simply astonished at its composure – it never feels unsettled or messy, and mops up bends with aplomb.
And when you’re just ambling around town or on the motorway, the ride quality is superb – if a little stiff. The ambience inside the cabin when you’re cruising is amazing – there is pindrop silence and little road noise, considering the width and size of our test car’s 19-inch alloy wheels.
Our test car was equipped with the award-winning twin-turbocharged 3-litre diesel unit – and within a few feet it became instantly clear why this is one of the world’s great diesel engines.
While we failed to match BMW’s claimed 34mpg figures – we posted 27.9mpg as an average over town and motorway – the level of refinement and lack of diesel ‘clatter’ was most welcome.
And firing it up through the slick semi-automatic six-speed gearbox was one of the X6’s great joys. The engine produces 286bhp and a whopping 428lb/ft of pulling power – 0-62mph takes just 6.9 seconds and flat out, the X6 will hit 147mph.
Floor the throttle and the X6 flies off the line, and although the twin-turbo unit produces an initial amount of ‘lag’, once wound up the power never stops – you’ll run out of road and bravado before the diesel X6 runs out of power.
Buy higher up the range and you’ll find the range-topping X6 xDrive50i produces a massive 408bhp – around the same as the new BMW M3 – and can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche Boxster.
6. Running Costs
BMW claims an average of 34mpg for the twin-turbo diesel, but we averaged 27.9mpg. The X6 xDrive35d produces 220g/km of CO2, and both diesels fall into tax band F, with an annual bill of £210. The larger petrol models fall into tax band G with annual road tax bills of £400, while averaging between 22mpg and 25mpg on the combined cycle.
Too new to tell, but the X5 on which it’s based is a solid car. The X6 feels reassuringly solid and long-lasting. BMWs are generally a safe bet, and the marque scores well in reliability tests, with few faults recorded.
The BMW X6 comes with six airbags dotted around the cabin, front and rear anti-roll bars and anti-whiplash head restraints. There’s also a first aid kit and warning triangle, run flat tyres and a puncture warning system. The X6 hasn’t been EuroNCAP tested as yet, but does feature side-impact protection, while the front bumper, arches and bonnet are all constructed from light plastic.
Our test car came equipped with satellite navigation, a centrally mounted television screen with DVD player, cruise control, leather, air-conditioning, Xenon headlamps and the iDrive control, which houses the phone preparation and an on-board computer with the car’s vital stats. The X6 also boasts electrically adjustable seats.
Open up your wallet and you can spec your X6 as much as you like – including upgrading to 20-inch wheels, a reverse-assist camera, roof rails and a sunroof.
Is this the
most important car BMW makes? Not for sales – that’s the 3 Series, which accounts for nearly half of BMW’s UK revenue. BMW now hopes to remove its reliance on the 3 Series by selling more niche models, like the new X6.
But as a landmark in engineering – yes. What BMW has done with the X6 is to defy logic, convention and belief and produce a car you never knew you wanted.
The BMW X6 is a car which correlates – perhaps more than any other Beemer – to the claim of being “the ultimate driving machine”. And how.