Third-generation X6 has its coming-out party
No electrification, bigger body, and more power for BMW’s latest SUV coupe
There are cars that are need, not want. And there are cars that are want, not need. And then there is the X6. And then there is the all-new X6, which BMW is about to launch.
It was the original WTF car that spawned an entire genre of so-called Sports Activity Vehicles, including from rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi and even Volkswagen.
And now it’s all new, growing in length and width but dropping slightly in height, adding more power and better (claimed) economy and scoring more of BMW’s better luxury bits and pieces off the shelf.
The front end continues BMW’s metamorphosis from a kidney grille to a lung grille, and they’re now so wide that they join up with the adaptive LED headlights.
To be launched in November this year, the Spartanburg-built X6 will grow in length by 26mm to 4,935mm, in width by 15mm to 2,004mm and will shrink just 6mm in height to 1,696mm.
It rides on a wheelbase that’s been eked out to giving more legroom for the rear passengers, sitting on 40:20:40 split-fold seats.
It will begin its next life with four engines and a pair of M models, though none will be electrified. That is expected later, with a plug-in hybrid and a mild-hybrid version.
The headline act will be the 390kW, twin-turbo, 4.4l V8 in the X6 M50i (and its accompanying 10.7l/100km fuel consumption figure).
The next machine down in the strength range will be the X6 M50d, with its four turbochargers hanging off the in-line, 3.0l six-cylinder diesel motor. This will be good for 294kW of power in X6 form, delivering 6.9l/100km of consumption.
The straight-six turbo petrol motor in the X6 xDrive40i will peak at 250kW of power, with 8.6l/km of consumption, while the xDrive30d’s straight six will produce 195kW.
Exclusively all-wheel drive, the X6 models all run variants of an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the latest generation of all-wheel drive systems able to constantly split the torque between the front and rear axles on demand.
The cars can all run as rear-drivers when there’s no need for front-drive assistance, and retain a rear-drive bias in sporting situations. There’s also the option of an M differential lock on the five-link rear axle and an off-road package.
Active damper control is standard, while the adaptive M setup (which includes an active rear roll bar and rear-wheel steering) is an option, as is two-axle air suspension.
With the two-axle air suspension system in place the car can rise or fall up to 80mm, which BMW claims can be useful in off-road situations (except on the M50i and the M50d, which don’t allow the off-road package).
The base car scores 19-inch wheels as standard equipment, while the other wheel sizes range from 20 inches to 22 inches, though the M50i and M50d use 21-inch wheels.
The luggage capacity has risen to 580l (or 1,530 with the rear seats folded flat), and the interior includes four-zone climate control, massage seats, thermo-electric cupholders, a panoramic glass roof and even ambient air fragrancing.
Extra-cost options include a Laserlight with Adaptive LED headlights, Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function, and Driving Assistant Professional which includes semi-autonomous features such as lane control and emergency stop assistant.
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