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.
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.
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.
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.