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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - September 14, 2016


BMW led the trend toward premium-level crossover vehicles with shapely coupelike roofs, launching the X6 as a 2008 model. With its fastback styling and rather tall four-door body, the talented BMW X6 has always been a bit hard to classify. BMW calls it a “sports activity coupe,” but traditional coupes have just two doors. We tend to perceive the X6 as more of a rugged—but rounded—luxury sedan that provides wagon-like utility.

What's New for 2017

Navigation has been updated to iDrive 5.0, with touchscreen functionality for its display. BMW’s xLine is now standard, including stainless steel underbody cladding, a Cerium Gray “kidney” grille and front air intakes, aluminum window trim, an anthracite headliner, and revised 19-inch Y-spoke wheels. The M Sport is now an option package; its 20-inch double-spoke wheels are offered in black. Premium and Executive Packages include wireless charging and a wi-fi hotspot. Extended Merino leather upholstery with a leather dashboard is newly available.

BMW X6 Front Quarter

Choosing Your BMW X6

All X6 models can carry five passengers, along with up to 26.6 cubic feet of cargo. With the rear seat folded down, hauling capacity expands to 59.7 cubic feet, which is about the same as a compact wagon. As in prior years, interior trim is top-notch, even compared against other members of this lofty class.

Trim levels correspond to engine and drivetrain. In the 35i, a 3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine develops 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, working with rear-drive or xDrive all-wheel drive. In the xDrive 50i model, a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 whips up 445 horsepower and 400 pound-feet. That one comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board.

Fuel economy is reasonable with the V6 engine, estimated at 18 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway (24 mpg highway with xDrive). No one is likely to call the V8-powered 50i thrifty, with its estimate of 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway (17 mpg combined). Even a six-cylinder X6 can accelerate to 60 mph in a swift 5 seconds, while the V8 model shaves four-tenths of a second off that figure.

sDrive 35i

Starting at $61,400 (plus destination charge), the sDrive 35i comes with the six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. A sizable complement of high-end equipment is standard, such as Dakota or Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats with driver’s memory, wood interior trim, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, front/rear parking sensors, and 19-inch wheels. On the technology front, you get a navigation system with 10.2-inch screen, Bluetooth, integrated smartphone apps, and a nine-speaker sound system with HD radio.

xDrive 35i

Identical to above, priced $2,300 higher, but with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.

Available on both six-cylinder models is the Premium Package with keyless access, four-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, and wireless charging with wi-fi hotspot. The Luxury Seating Package adds 20-way ventilated front seats.

xDrive 50i

For $76,100, the 50i comes with the V8 engine and all-wheel drive, plus a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system and nearly everything in the six-cylinder's option packages. Exclusive to the xDrive 50i is the optional Executive package with soft-close doors, leather dashboard trim, head-up display, sunshades, and ceramic-finish controls.

All models can be fitted with an M Sport Package, which adds an aerodynamic body kit, more aggressive trim, sport seats, and some extra performance options. The Cold Weather Package adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and headlight washers. Adaptive LED headlights with automatic high-beam control come with the Lighting Package. All-wheel-drive models are eligible for the Dynamic Handling Package.

A rearview camera and head-up display make up the Driver Assistance Package. Finally, the Driver Assistance Plus Package includes the Driver Assistance features, plus a collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a surround-view camera system. Adaptive cruise control with automatic braking can be added.

As with many BMWs, several interesting standalone options may be added, including an adjustable rear air suspension, an automated parallel-parking system, infrared Night Vision, dual-screen rear entertainment, and an ultra-premium Bang & Olufsen sound system.

CarsDirect Tip

An X6 with six-cylinder power is likely to please most buyers, especially when they discover that choosing a V8 adds $12,400 to the price. Trying to decide which options and groups to add is quite a challenge—and can get quite costly. We consider the Premium (or Executive) and, especially, the two Driver Assistance packages to be the most essential.

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BMW X6 Rear Quarter

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