SUV coupes were a bold choice from luxury carmakers: subtract cargo space but add to the price. Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that the enormo-coupe movement has caught on. The 2019 BMW X6 is getting long in the tooth, but it’s still the original specimen. Fiery engines and head-turning style make for a unique ride, although this is a car for buyers who prefer form over function.

Best Value

It’s counterintuitive to talk about value in a car that sells on exclusivity, but if it’s value you’re after, the best bet is an X6 xDrive35i. BMW’s all-wheel-drive system is capable and lends some all-weather capability, and the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine offers plenty of oomph for most buyers. With 300 horsepower, it pushes the X6 from zero to 60 mph in six seconds flat.

Luxury is equally abundant. Leather upholstery is standard, along with automatic climate control, heated front seats, climate and seat memory settings, a glass moonroof, push-button start, parking sensors, and dynamic headlights. Thankfully, BMW has made safety features like automatic emergency braking standard for 2019.

It’s best to be judicious in BMW’s option configurator, where hasty option selection can add thousands in just a few clicks. We’d keep things simple and opt for the Premium Tier, which adds a host of luxury features (like a head-up display, a parking assistant, and a WiFi hotspot) for less than $3,000. So equipped, our X6 just manages to stay just under $70,000:

  • Model:2019 BMW X6 xDrive35i
  • Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder
  • Output: 300 hp / 300 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 18 City / 24 Hwy
  • Options:Convenience Package ($1,150, keyless entry, four-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio with one-year subscription), Premium Package ($1,750, surround-view cameras, enhanced USB and Bluetooth, wireless charging, WiFi hotspot, head-up display, parking assistant)
  • Base Price:$66,845 (including the $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$69,745

Performance

BMW X6

No X6 comes with fewer than 300 horses, but the range includes some breathtaking performance options. The xDrive50i bears a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 445 horsepower, but even that pales in comparison to the mighty X6 M’s 553 ponies. That’s good for a zero-to-60 sprint of four seconds, and it brings along air suspension, a limited-slip differential, and heavy-duty brakes and sway bars. Acceleration is smooth on all trims, and the ride manages to be both competent and comfortable. The X6 M does a passable impression of a sports car.

All the same, true enthusiasts won’t be fooled. Tipping the scales at close to 5,000 pounds, the X6 has too much heft to be truly exceptional in the corners. It isn’t helped by light steering that numbs out some of the feedback from the wheels. Fuel economy is predictably disappointing, ranging from a mediocre 20 miles per gallon combined for the sDrive35i down to a greedy 16 mpg combined for the X6 M.

Style

Style is where the X6 makes its money. Some love it, many don’t, but almost everyone looks at it as it drives by. The front end matches the more conventional X5, but it folds back into a swooping roofline and a tucked lift-back rear end. M-Sport versions dial up the aggression with racy accents. The interior is businesslike but comfortable, made with the high-quality materials we’ve come to expect from BMW. Features are luxurious from the outset and widely customizable, with helpful bundles sorted into tiers. Although the X6 hasn’t been crash tested by either federal or independent testers, for 2019 it gains useful standard safety tech.

The price of the X6’s unconventional profile is cargo space. The X6 loses around seven cubic feet of cargo space on the X5 (even more with the seats down), and the lift-back puts a limit on luggage height. The front seats are comfortable enough, but the second row has less head room and leg room than we’d like. While BMW’s options are comprehensive, they can feel like cash grabs – BMW even charges a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay after the first year.

The Best and Worst Things

SUV space, coupe styling, and all-out performance might be the best of all worlds. Then again, the X6 compromises on all three, so it might be the best of none.

Right For? Wrong For?

BMW X6

The BMW X6 is right for drivers who want to make a statement. If having a regular BMW (or a regular SUV) isn’t exclusive or flashy enough, the X6 is just the ticket. The X6 aware of its own paradox – it’s an SUV for buyers who can afford to be a little impractical.

Buyers who need an SUV to accomplish SUV tasks like carrying tall objects (or tall people) and traveling off-road will be disappointed. The X6 may be tall, but it can’t match the utility of the X5 and its brethren. Sadly, driving enthusiasts may also be let down – the X6 falls short of the dynamics we enjoy in smaller sport coupes.

The Bottom Line

Although brands like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have released their own clones, the 2019 BMW X6 remains a compelling example of the breed. It has proved that the formula is here to stay. That said, it’s an especially difficult proposition next to a freshly redesigned (and still cheaper) BMW X5. Next year may bring similar updates to the X6, but until then, it remains a niche buy.