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4.1 out of 5 4.1
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Large, premium SUV for those who want to stand out from the crowd

BMW X6 (19 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
Enlarge 139 photos

At a glance

New price £58,685 - £129,745
Lease from new From £714 per month
Used price £43,990 - £68,015
Fuel Economy 23.0 - 37.7 mpg
Road tax cost £465
Insurance group 49 - 50 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Surprisingly roomy inside
  • Slick, tech-laden cabin
  • Drives well, with sporty flavour
  • Quality throughout

CONS

  • Garish wardrobe not for shrinking violets
  • Not as practical as X5 sister SUV
  • Purchase and running costs are punchy

BMW X6 rivals

Mercedes-Benz
GLE SUV
4.2 out of 5 4.2

Written by Tim Pollard on

The BMW X6 is a large premium SUV with a twist – it mixes off-roader hardware and dimensions with a dose of coupe styling, creating a distinctive crossover with some real streetside swagger. Just remember that fashionably plunging roofline restricts headroom and luggage space compared with the BMW X5 sister car, however.

Incredibly, this pioneering type of SUV – dubbed Sports Activity Coupe by BMW – has been around for three generations, and the latest X6 has spawned a series of copycat rivals since it first launched in 2008. So if you’re thinking of buying one, you might like to consider our reviews of the Audi Q8, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, Porsche Cayenne Coupe or Range Rover Velar before you commit.

All these cars mimic the X6’s pioneering silhouette. You get five doors, that upright stance and raised driving position of any full-size SUV, plus some remarkably sporty underpinnings to justify the athletic wardrobe.

Engines and trim levels

There’s a simple choice of engines in the new BMW X6: pick from a standard six-cylinder petrol or diesel motor, with the possibility to upgrade each to a more powerful, M-badged high-performance derivative. Every version comes with all-wheel drive, badged xDrive in BMWspeak, for imperious traction, no matter the weather outside.

The starter model is the X6 xDrive30d, and this 265hp diesel model is set to be the most popular model. It’s no slouch, dispatching the 0-62mph benchmark sprint in just 6.5 seconds. If you want more punch, or are nervous about investing in a diesel SUV, the xDrive 40i petrol entry-level model develops a brawny 340hp and will lop a full second off that 0-62mph time.

For around £15,000 more, buyers can trade up to the range-topping BMW X6 M50d or M50i models. That M badge is the mark of BMW M division, the high-performance department in Munich also responsible for the likes of the M3 and M5 sports saloons – and explains why power outputs climb to 400hp and 530hp, respectively. Make no mistake, these are seriously fast SUVs, and the M50i is capable of outsprinting many junior Porsche sports cars.

UK buyers can choose Sport, M Sport or M Performance trim levels, each adding more equipment and styling accoutrements. Just remember that all BMW X6 models are well equipped straight out of the box, coming with 19-inch alloy wheels, eight-speed automatic transmission, intelligent LED headlamps, air suspension and leather upholstery among the highlights of the standard equipment.

Interior and tech

The BMW X6 interior is largely based on the cabin you’ll find in an X5 (the two cars share the same fundamental engineering platform), but isn’t without its own stylistic flourishes. For instance, the panoramic sunroof is considerably bigger than before and comes with a clever nighttime illumination package that includes 15,000 etched dots in the glass reflecting roof lighting. It’s matched by BMW’s first illuminated kidney grille on the car’s nose – some owners might find such ostentation somewhat bling. You have been warned.

2019 BMW X6 interior

Contrary to what you might expect in a car with a steeply raked roofline, there is plenty of space inside a BMW X6. The front seats are generous in every which direction, while rear-seat passengers are well catered for in the outer two positions – only the central seat suffers from the coupe-style ceiling (think of the X6 as a four-seater, rather than offering full accommodation for five. No third row of seats is available for seven-seater skills).

The dashboard itself is festooned with the latest technology. The third-generation X6 is fitted with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which means all the instruments are digital and there’s a huge touchscreen, which can be operated by swiping it, talking to it, turning the iDrive click-and-twist rotary controller or even gesturing at it (cameras track your finger movement in thin air, as you make flicking or swivelling gestures).

It’s a very high-tech cabin and you can sync your mobile phone easily through the standard Apple CarPlay preparation package; just be warned that BMW was first to start charging customers an ongoing subscription cost to use this service.

What’s the BMW X6 like to drive?

The X6 is a confusing proposition if you’ve been brought up on a diet of more regular SUVs. You climb up into it and benefit from the typically raised seating position of a 4x4, for that superior view out. Yet it feels more snug inside, and the tapered rear end means it is harder to see out of the back (thankfully a reversing camera is standard).

The sporting vibe continues as you set off, the steering feels direct and weighty, the X6 shrugging off its bulk and darting this way and that as you flick into corners. For such a big car, body control is impressive, with none of the ponderous swaying or leaning you might expect in a big, lumbering SUV.

That clever air suspension helps, smothering most bumps and lumps in the road, while also keeping the movements of the tall bodyshell in check. Progress is refined and quiet, with very little engine or road noise percolating the cabin – this is a genuinely quiet cruiser, despite those sporting pretensions.

Yet if the need for a sudden overtaking manoeuvre arises, or if you’re just turning off the motorway and hitting your favourite back road, the X6 rises to the occasion, feeling more like a sports car on stilts than a sensible family crossover. It has the handling prowess to match a Porsche Cayenne, and the performance on offer in all models is impressively fleet of foot for one so big.

Read on for the full BMW X6 SUV review

BMW X6 rivals

Mercedes-Benz
GLE SUV
4.2 out of 5 4.2

Other BMW X6 models: