BMW X6 review
BMW’s latest X6 is its best take on the format yet, and as good to drive as ever, but isn’t quite our favourite SUV coupe
Whatever you think of the styling, BMW’s latest X6 is a competitive SUV coupe. Its driving characteristics and equipment are towards the top of the class and it performs well too, with the X6M being an absolute rocketship. Diesel versions still make the most sense in terms of running costs and drive well, while thanks to a larger cabin than before, interior practicality is good too. It’s a competitive class though, and while neither its Audi nor Mercedes rivals handle quite as tidily, they’re still compelling alternatives, so the new X6 isn’t quite a class leader.
About the BMW X6
The BMW X6 is a car that divides opinion, either the perfect interpretation of the sports SUV format with all BMW’s usual qualities, or a needlessly large, heavy and aggressive vehicle representative of the profligacy with which we consume resources. Whichever camp you fall into though, the X6 is clearly successful for BMW, and the latest model is also the best yet - less cumbersome than before, not as thirsty, better to drive and more generously equipped.
Nor is the more coupe-like styling quite the hindrance to practicality it might once have been. BMW has enlarged the X6 for the latest generation, finding extra space between the wheels and expanding cabin and boot as a result. While you don’t get a seven-seat option like you do in the X5 with which the X6 shares virtually everything, there’s still a large boot, a rear cabin that accommodates even taller frames, and an interior that’s generally spacious, comfortable and well-built.
There’s a usefully wide range of engines too, covering everything from the sensible inline-six diesel models with economy that gets close to the 40mpg mark, to the barmy X6M Competition which is one of few SUVs you might consider taking anywhere near a circuit, and not just because it’s towing a single-seater race car. All X6s drive well too, with a fine balance of ride and handling and good long-distance comfort - though the X6 removes that ride quality factor from its own equation, being rather rough on typical UK roads.
Equipment levels offer no surprises with the usual Sport and M Sport trims offered in combination with the 40i petrol and 30d/40d diesel models. Standard kit includes 19-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights, heated front sports seats finished in Vernasca leather upholstery, an automatic tailgate and BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional infotainment set-up.
It’s a good example of its type then, lining up against rivals such as the Audi Q8 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - other SUVs that, following BMW’s lead with the original X6, received more sloping rooflines and traded ultimate practicality for a dash more style. The X6 doesn’t quite hit the spot in the same way as those two though, driving better but not feeling quite as special from behind the wheel, nor perhaps being quite as easy on the eye. As ever, the X6’s styling continues to divide opinion as much as its mere existence does.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingBMW’s latest X6 is its best take on the format yet, and as good to drive as ever, but isn’t quite our favourite SUV coupe
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe best-driving X6 yet, with good ride and handling and ample performance whichever engine you opt for. X6M’s ride is punishing, however.
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsDiesels offer expected economy, but running costs for the X6 are relatively high, particularly for company users.
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe cabin is just as attractively-styled and well-built as its X5 sibling, while BMW’s iDrive system remains one of the best infotainment setups.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIncreased size has benefitted space inside the X6, with greater interior volume and a usefully-sized boot, despite the sloping roof.
- 6Reliability and safetyBMW’s warranty is fairly average for the industry. Should be as safe as the similar X5, but BMW’s Driver Power record isn’t great.