The new BMW X6 has been spied winter testing close to the Arctic Circle. While its smaller and all-new X4 sibling will be launched later this year, BMW hasn’t forgotten about its controversial large SUV, with the second-generation model set to arrive in 2015.
Although it's heavily disguised, we can see some noticeable changes over the current model. There’s a more prominent version of the trademark kidney grille and the overall proportions of the car are less dramatic than the model it will replace. It’s retains the sleek sloping roofline but has a longer front overhang.
Under the vinyl wrap there are also likely to be tweaks to the front and rear bumpers along with more sculpted flanks for a tauter appearance. Like before, the new X6 will use the underpinnings from the X5, which was modified slightly for the new model launched last year.
Along with the platform, the X6 will also share selected engines with the latest X5. The options are likely to be made up of the larger xDrive30d, xDrive40d and M50d six-cylinder diesel engines, all mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. A more potent xDrive50i 4.4-litre petrol V8 will also be offered as the range-topping variant until the X6 M arrives later in the car's lifecycle.
For the first time a BMW X6 plug-in hybrid may also be offered. Looking at the rear of the car you’ll notice a pair of rather ungainly exhaust pipes - a sign the car has been undergoing emissions testing. BMW only announced the plug-in X5 eDrive last year, so the system could be transplanted straight into the X6; fuel economy is claimed to be 144mpg for the X5 eDrive.
Further boosting the eco credentials of the X6, BMW is also likely to fit the latest EfficientDynamics tech to the new model. Air Curtain and Air Breathers will help guide air around the car increasing aerodynamics and economy.
We aren’t expected to see the new X6 until early next year, possibly at the Detroit Motor Show, with sales set to follow later that year. Prices shouldn’t stray too far from the £48,500 price tag of the current model.