The BMW X6 is a more style-focused version of the X5. Its coupe-like looks are certainly more eye-catching, but they come at the expense of boot space and some practicality
The BMW X6 is essentially a sleeker and sportier version of the X5. The two cars are based on the same building blocks, but the X6 has a more coupe-like profile, making it an alternative to models such as the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q8.
The link with the X5 is obvious as soon as you sit inside, as the cabin of the X6 is virtually identical to the X5’s – save for a gorgeous three-spoke steering wheel with gearshift paddles, and leather-trimmed knee pads for the two up-front. Mind you, that’s no bad thing, as the cabin is beautifully put together, with leather upholstery on every model, and the iDrive infotainment system is one of the best around.
There’s plenty of room in the front, too, and the wide range of adjustment on the driver’s seat and steering wheel means that most people will be able to get comfortable at the wheel.
As you might only expect, it’s in the back where you more obviously feel the effect of the coupe-like looks. However, you may still be surprised just how much room passengers have. Yes, taller ones will need to duck down a bit to get in, but only if they’re more than six foot will they complain about a lack of head or legroom once they’re in the seat. The BMW X6 is certainly big enough to cope with a family of four.
Actually, it’s the boot that suffers most from the swooping lines. In particular, whereas the X5 has a more boxy rear end, the sleeker BMW X6 can’t take anything very tall in the boot – and, for the same reason, the X6 can’t have the third row of seats you can get in the X5. The high lip also makes the boot awkward to load, but the overall capacity is still pretty good and the split rear seat is easy to fold down.
A few years ago, I’ve had laughed at the idea of a SUV coupe, but somehow the X6 combines those two apparent opposites into a pretty desirable and capable vehicle
Everyone who buys an X6 will choose a diesel engine, but that’s not a problem. Even the cheaper X6 30d can fire the car from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds while returning fuel economy of around 33mpg. That’s impressive for such a heavy, un-aerodynamic SUV.
On the road, the X6 is as you’d expect a BMW to feel and the X6 is easily one of the finest handling SUVs. Not only does it offer enormous reserves of grip, it feels very well balanced and will be as happy weaving its way around a mountain pass as it will be cruising along a motorway.
The only thing to bear in mind is that the X6’s sporty intentions translate into a firm ride and you will feel a lot of bumps in the road. It’s also a very wide car – wider than even the X5 – so it’s not the most sensible town car.
What’s more sensible is the amount of equipment that you get with the BMW X6. This is an expensive car and even the more basic M Sport model comes with adaptive suspension, a DAB radio, sat-nav and leather upholstery. Meanwhile, the range-topping M50d model has its own lavish package of equipment.
Overall, the styling is certainly the most divisive thing about the BMW X6. However, if you can live with the looks and the relatively limited practicality, it’s a very fine car that injects some style into the SUV market. And, of course, if you want a more practical version, there’s always the X5…