BMW purposely designed the X6 with an identity crisis. The self-titled “sports-activity-coupe” is the newest vehicle in a segment largely invented by the German automaker to compete against the likes of the Porsche Cayenne. The X6 is also a starting point for a number of advanced technologies that will ultimately make their way throughout the rest of the automaker’s lineup.
The X6 comes in two variants: a 300 horsepower, 3.0-liter twin turbo inline-six cylinder and 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. Both engine variants are mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and come standard with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system that sends 40 percent of the power to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear under normal driving conditions. The new V-8 is rated at 400 horses and 450 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful engine ever available in a BMW SUV/Crossover/SAC…whatever you want to call it. BMW says the engine will take the X6 from 0 to 60 in just 5.3 seconds which is impressive for a vehicle that weighs nearly two tons, though it is still 0.4 second slower than the 500-horsepower Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. This sort of power comes with an equally downgraded level of fuel efficiency. The six cylinder version is rated at 15/20 mpg and the V8 loses two mpg off of those numbers in both city and highway driving. Like the twin-turbo inline-six, the new V-8 uses direction fuel injection and two small turbochargers. The X6 also highlights the new Dynamic Performance Control system. Standard on the X6, this computer-operated system distributes power between the two rear wheels. It works in conjunction with other power and chassis management systems on the vehicle, including traction and stability control, the previously mention xDrive all-wheel drive system, active steering, and Electronic Damper Control to maximize the vehicle’s traction in any condition and greatly improve its handling. The X6 comes standard with 19-inch wheels and 20-inchers available for the xDrive50i.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint the X6 contains the traditional BMW DNA of dual “bladder” grille openings and a roofline that ends in a ducktail at the rear. Essentially it looks like a beefed up five-door hatchback, but don’t tell BMW that. Still, from many angles it is attractive. Cargo space is a respectable 25.6 cubic feet that is expandable to 59.7 with the rear seats folded. Standard BMW accoutrements include BMW’s iDrive, navigation, power seats, side, knee, and curtain airbags, power tailgate and rear-seat entertainment system. An abundance of leather options are offered along with three trim levels. Pricing is a bit on the steep side, starting at around $55,000 for the six cylinder and 11 grand more for the V8. But actually these prices are either reasonably in line with, or a bargain compared to the various Porsche Cayenne models that run up and over the $123,000 mark on the high end.