BMW X6 4×4 (2008 – ) expert review
Read the BMW X6 4x4 (2008 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
Interested in buying BMW X6?
The BMW X6 4×4 takes the pumped-up looks of the
BMW X5 4×4 and chops the roof to create the world’s first production SUV-coupe. The sloping roof mixes excellently with the rising waistline sweeping from the front through to the high rear, while the familiar BMW face lends an intimidating front for such a high-riding car. And it draws attention on the road like no other – be warned, this is definitely not a car for shrinking violets.
The familiar BMW ergonomics continue inside, and the cabin is lifted pretty much intact from the BMW X5 – which is no bad thing at all. The interior trim is excellently screwed together and the quality of plastics and overall fit and finish is superb. Major controls are well placed and the iDrive is intuitive and easy to operate, controlling the sat-nav, phone integration, music selection and TV. The back features two sculpted seats with a large storage area separating them, and there are numerous cubby holes dotted around the X6 to hide smaller items.
The boot is massive, with 570-litres of storage space on offer, and flattening the rear seats opens up 1,450 litres. The high-riding position and good rear-headroom coupled with supportive seats means the BMW X6 is a comfortable cruiser. However, the high rear window combined with the X6’s bulk means maneuvering it around towns and car parks can prove tricky – our test car came with proximity sensors which show up on the centrally-mounted screen.
Ride and handling
There’s little bodyroll through the twisty stuff, and the sensation of ‘enthusiastic’ driving in something so high is a little hard to get used to at first. The BMW X6 4×4 offers acres of grip thanks to its Dynamic Performance Control, which monitors the wheels with the most traction and distributes the power accordingly. The steering feels light when you’re driving straight on, chuck it into a bend and it feels weighty offering good feedback about the road conditions. The X6 never feels unsettled or messy, and mops up bends with aplomb. The ride quality is superb – if a little stiff. It’s one of the best-handling 4×4s on sale, but can’t quite match the Porsche Cayenne for outright handling ability.
Every engine in the X6 range offers impressive performance, with even the lowliest X6 xDrive30d sprinting to 62mph in 7.5 seconds, thanks to 245bhp. The standard range also offers a 306bhp diesel and 306 or 408bhp petrol engines. If those figures leave you cold, how about a 555bhp X6 M, with a turbocharged V8? That’ll hit 62mph in 4.7 seconds, quicker than most sports cars. We’ve also tested the triple-turbo diesel M50d, which has 381bhp and an epic 546lb/ft of pulling power. In normal driving it feels just as quick as the petrol X6 M, thanks to an immense surge of torque and quick gear changes from the auto gearbox.
BMW claims an average of 38mpg for the xDrive30d, with CO2 emissions of 195g/km of CO2. Amazingly, the rapid M50d emits only 9g/km more CO2 and averages 36.7mpg, compared to 325g/km and 20.3mpg for the petrol X6 M. There’s no hybrid model – yet – so if that’s your preference, you’ll need the Cayenne.
The X6 feels reassuringly solid and long-lasting, but it is a complex car, and the X6 has been subject to three recalls in the UK, which affected small numbers of vehicles. BMWs are generally a safe bet, and the marque scores well in reliability tests, with few faults recorded.
The BMW X6 comes with six airbags dotted around the cabin, front and rear anti-roll bars and anti-whiplash head restraints. There’s also a first aid kit and warning triangle, run flat tyres and a puncture warning system. The X6 hasn’t been EuroNCAP tested as yet, but does feature side-impact protection, while the front bumper, arches and bonnet are all constructed from light plastic.
The X6 is very well-equipped as standard, with top features including 19-inch alloy wheels, air-con, cruise control, iDrive, wooden trim, Nevada leather upholstery, automatic tailgate, Xenon headlights and parking sensors. Choose BMW’s ‘Dynamic Package’ and there’s a different wheel and exterior trim treatment, dark interior headlining, electric and sports front seats.
The BMW X6 is the most controversial 4×4 on sale. It’s a niche-buster that defies logic, convention and belief to produce a car you never knew you wanted. Despite its vast bulk, it still adheres to “the ultimate driving machine” mantra.