In-depth reviews

BMW X6 (2014-2019) review - Engines, performance and drive

The X6’s engines are powerful and smooth, while the handling is typically sharp

The defining characteristic of the BMW X6 (and to a lesser extent the X5) has always been the car-like way it drives. Despite tipping the scales at more than two tonnes, the X6 manages to weave its way through corners with masses of grip and precious little body roll – especially in the incredible (and bonkers) X6 M performance version. It certainly rivals the Porsche Cayenne for driving entertainment.

The steering could do with a little more feedback but it’s still very responsive. Four driving modes are available – Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ – that alter the mechanics of how the car feels to drive, although Eco Pro is mainly focused on setting the car up to be as frugal as possible.

The X6's ride is noticeably firmer in Sport and Sport+ modes with the Adaptive M suspension, which is standard on M Sport models, the M50d and the X6 M. It can become quite unsettled over bumps, but changing the suspension's damper control to its softest setting cures that, while still retaining superb body control.

Every X6 comes with BMW’s eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard – and it’s extremely smooth. 


Every one of the X6’s engines – petrol and diesel – is refined and powerful in equal measure. There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines including a 568bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 in the flagship X6 M and a 376bhp 3.0-litre tri-turbo in the X6 M50d, both of which have massive performance.

The X6 M is incredibly fast for such a large car with 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and handling to match, making it supercar fast on the road and surprisingly capable on a track given its size and weight.

The M50d is only a second slower to 62mph at 5.2 seconds and has almost as much torque as the X6 M at 740Nm, so there’s a huge amount of mid-range pulling power and the M50d is over £25,000 cheaper. 

By far the biggest seller is the 254bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine in the X6 xDrive30d. The X6 is still not a slow car, even with this engine, as it’s capable of 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds and has heaps of pulling power.

Move up the diesel range to the xDrive40d and you get 309bhp and 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds, while the petrol xDrive50i is good for 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and has a hearty 444bhp. 

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