Say what you want about BMW’s low-slung X6 and how it tries to be everything without really excelling at anything. The series proved itself where it counts – in the sales field with nearly 250,000 deliveries since the first model launched in 2008. BMW deemed the formula so successful that it created a smaller version in the guise of the X4, and now, it has released the second generation X6.
BMW’s marketers call it a Sports Activity Coupe (SAV) that “blends the robustness and versatility of a BMW X model with the sporting elegance typical of the brand’s Coupes”. We’ll just call it a re-bodied X5 with a swoopy roofline and reduced space for passengers and their luggage.
While the silhouette remains familiar, the new X6 has a more muscular profile with large haunches, plus less rounded and more detailed front rear ends than the outgoing X6. You will be forgiven, though, if you feel the need to zoom into the right edge of the boot to make sure it’s an X6 and not an…X4.
Inside, most of the interior is shared with the latest X5, including the dashboard. The new model gains 10 liters of extra load space at 580 liters total with all seats in place, and an extra 75 liters for a total of 1,525 liters when the rear backrest is folded (split 40:20:40).
BMW says the new X6 is 32mm (1.25 inches) longer, 6mm (0.24 inches) wider and 33mm (1.3 inches) taller than the current model at 4,909mm long (193.3 inches), 1,989mm (78.3 inches) wide and 1,702mm (67 inches) tall. The wheelbase remains unchanged at 2,933mm (115.5 inches).
It may be bigger, and according to BMW, far better equipped than the first X6, but it’s about 10 kg (22 lbs) lighter in base trim, with the Germans stating that, given identical equipment, the new X6 would actually be up to 25kg (33 to 55 pounds) lighter than its predecessor. The company also mentions that the new X6 achieves a 50:50 weight distribution.
In Europe, the new X6 will launch in December with an initial choice of three models, all mated to an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive as standard, starting with the xDrive30d sporting a 258PS (255hp) 3.0-liter straight six-diesel that reaches 100km/h (62mph) in 6.7 sec, has a top speed of 230km/h (143mph) and returns a combined consumption of 6.0l/100km (39.2mpg US or 47mpg UK).
Next up is the xDrive50i with a 450PS (443hp) 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8 petrol capable of 0-100km/h in 4.8 sec, a restricted top speed of 250km/h (155mph) and a combined economy of 9.7l/100km (24.2 mpg US / 29.1 mpg UK).
Europe also gets the M50d boasting a tri-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six diesel that’s good for 381PS (376hp) and 740Nm, 0-100km/h in 5.2 sec, a limited top speed of 250km/h (155mph) and combined economy of 6.6l/100km (35.6 mpg US / 42.8 mpg UK).
In spring of 2015, BMW will enhance the Euro range with the 306PS (302hp) xDrive35i petrol, and the 313PS (309hp) xDrive40d diesel.
In North America, the 2015 X6 goes on sale this fall offering three powertrain options, including the rear-wheel drive sDrive35i and the all-wheel drive xDrive35i, both with a 300hp 3.0-liter turbo-six that allows for a 0-60mph in 6 seconds flat, and the xDrive50i with the 445hp turbo 4.4L V8 that completes the sprint in 4.8 seconds.
Later on, BMW will introduce the X6M with a turbocharged V8 making well over 550 horses.
The new X6 will be available in base, xLine and M Sport trims along with a wealth (both literally and metaphorically) of options such as the Dynamic adaptive suspension package and 20-inch light-alloys.
Pricing will be announced later in the year.
By John Halas