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Car group tests

BMW X6 vs Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne

Can second-gen X6 recreate the controversial appeal of the original against Porsche and Range Rover rivals?

One thing’s for certain, the BMW X6 has carved a unique niche in the SUV sector. Branded as a Sports Activity Coupé, it has caused controversy with its blend of off-road body and rakish sports car roofline, but that hasn’t stopped the company from introducing an all-new version.

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As before, the second-generation model is based on the X5, and aims to deliver an entertaining driving experience in a unique SUV package. But does the new X6’s performance do justice to its sporty looks? To find out, we’ve lined up two tough rivals in the shape of the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne.

They don’t look as radical as the X6, but they both deliver performance, practicality, luxury and all-round driving ability that will be a stern test for the newcomer. We’ve tested 3.0-litre diesel versions of all three to find out where exactly the new X6 fits in.

BMW X6 review

Range Rover Sport review

Porsche Cayenne review

Read individual reviews by following the links above, and scroll down to see which SUV comes out on top in this test...

Head-to-head

Rear styling

The X6’s Sports Activity Coupé styling stands out, and BMW’s X4 is the only other car on the road with a similar look – for now, at least. But Mercedes’ new GLE Coupé will take the fight to the X6 when it hits dealers in the summer, while Audi has its own coupé SUV plans, too. In this test, you could argue the Range Rover looks as racy as the X6, yet its angled rear doesn’t hit practicality as much as the BMW’s.

Standard kit

Our X6 M Sport is well equipped, with sat-nav, heated leather seats, LED lights, metallic paint and a multimedia system with a parking camera (above). The Range Rover Sport gets a similar amount of kit, but you have to pay £7k extra to get the Cayenne to the same level, cancelling out its price advantage.

Tax costs

A high list price and poorer emissions mean the Range Rover is the costliest car to tax, with higher-rate taxpayers facing an annual bill that’s £2,000 more than the X6. The Cayenne sits in a higher tax band than the BMW, but its lower price means costs for the two are similar.

Verdict

1st place: Porsche Cayenne

The Cayenne’s margin of victory is extremely slim here, but it edges the Range Rover Sport for first place on account of its lower running costs and the proposition of excellent reliability and dealer service. Although it can’t match the British car for style, the Cayenne is the best SUV to drive and cheaper to buy and own, plus residual values of 59 per cent leave the others in its wake.

2nd place: Range Rover Sport

While the Range Rover Sport can’t match the Cayenne’s level of driver involvement, its extra refinement, comfort and marginally better practicality mean it’s a more usable car. However, it’s the slowest of the three, despite having a more powerful engine. It’salso the least efficient, and although it features more standard kit than the Porsche, it costs £11,000 more. 

3rd place: BMW X6

A lack of practicality next to these two more conventional SUVs sees the BMW X6 take third spot, and what you lose in practicality you don’t gain back in extra style. It does come with plenty of kit and offers much of the refinement of the Range Rover with the speed of the Porsche. It’s a comfortable cruiser, too, although depreciation of £29,000 in three years will be hard to stomach.

Key specs: 

 Porsche Cayenne DieselRange Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 HSEBMW X6 xDrive30d M Sport
On the road price/total as tested£50,247/£62,925£61,250/£71,478£55,850/£65,445
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£29,595/58.9%£33,810/55.2%£26,138/46.8%
Depreciation£20,652£27,440£29,712
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,994/£5,988£4,016/£8,032£3,226/£6,451
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,922/£3,204£2,079/£3,465£1,946/£3,243
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost45/£696/H/£20543/£568/I/£22545/£659/G/£180
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£420/£550/£420£699 (5yrs)£525 (5yrs/50k)
    
Length/wheelbase4,855/2,895mm4,850/2,923mm4,909/2,933mm
Height/width1,705/1,939mm1,780/2,073mm1,702/1,989mm
EngineV6/2,967ccV6/2,993cc6cyl in/2,993cc
Peak power/revs258/4,000 bhp/rpm302/4,000 bhp/rpm255/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs580/1,750 Nm/rpm700/1,500 Nm/rpm560/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission8-spd auto/4wd8-spd auto/4wd8-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel85 litres/sealant80 litres/space saver85 litres/run-flats
Boot capacity670/1,780 litres489/1,761 litres550/1,525 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight2,110/760/3,500kg2,115/985/3,500kg2,065/715/3,500kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.9 metres/0.36Cd12.3 metres/0.34Cd12.8 metres/0.32Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/2yrs3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (unltd)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20k miles (2yrs)/36Variable/130Variable/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos6th/3rd20th/28th10th/22nd
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/AN/AN/A
    
0-60/30-70mph7.3/5.0 secs7.5/6.9 secs6.3/6.4 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th2.9/3.9 secs2.8/3.5 secs3.0/3.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th4.6/5.6/7.4/10.2 secs4.9/6.6/8.2/13.4 secs4.2/5.6/7.5/11.7 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph137mph/1,850rpm130mph/1,600rpm143mph/1,700rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.1/32.0/8.7m53.6/36.8/9.9m47.0/34.3/8.5m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph62/48/61/67dB60/45/59/66dB59/56/57/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range33.2/7.3/621 miles30.7/6.8/540 miles32.8/7.2/613 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined37.2/47.1/42.8mpg35.8/44.1/40.4mpg41.5/50.4/47.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined8.2/10.4/9.4mpl7.9/9.7/8.9mpl9.1/11.1/10.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket228/173g/km/30%247/185g/km/33%231/159g/km/27%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/£446Six/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£375
Automatic box/stability/cruise ctrlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/£296Yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Met paint/LED headlights/keyless go£720/£1,886/£744Yes/no/yesYes/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth£2,307/y/£324/£446Yes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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