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BMW X6 2015 review

Toned down rear end of the second generation BMW X6 works very well.

Let's get the styling out of the way first, because the original BMW X6 was criticised by many for its looks when it first hit the roads of Australia midway through 2008. A cross between the very successful BMW X5 SUV and a five-door coupe it polarised opinions here, indeed globally right from the start.

BMW Australia's people were alway keen to point out the X6 was selling its wheels (very large wheels) off and that we journos didn't understand what it was all about. It seems they were right, the X6 was a big hit, selling almost twice its original projections made by the German giant.

The lines the new X6's rear end have lost their controversial 'does-my-bum-look-big-in-this?' shape and now carry a touch of the fastback theme that was all the rage in the 1970s. We like it.

BMW X6's front is big and bold with large cutouts in the modern manner and certainly cries out that this is a sporty BMW

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BMW X6's front is big and bold with large cutouts in the modern manner and certainly cries out that this is a sporty BMW. Interestingly, the air extractors behind the front wheel arches aren't there for decoration, they are part of the aero package and pull air quickly out of the front of the big Bimmer.

We find the BMW X6's interior excellent, it has a wide dashboard area featuring multiple inserts and interesting curves, it has a good array of materials and the typical BMW big-dial look for the instruments.

The central infotainment screen is nice and wide but rather shallow to our eyes; it seems as though the designers squeezed it on there at the last minute. Anyhow, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so have a look for yourself.

The front seats are big, spacious and comfortable (to suit the posteriors of our American cousins) but the back seats are almost in the kids-only category, being tight on leg and headroom. This is a coupe so we can't expect a limo-like rear, but for a vehicle of this size the space is disappointing.

Engines are improved versions of those used in the previous X6. The turbocharged six-cylinder diesel gains 10 kW and 20 Nm over its predecessor, bringing it up to 190 kW and 560 Nm, yet it has fuel consumption by 1.4 litres per hundred kilometres to 6.0 litres per hundred.

The TwinPower Turbo V8 petrol in the X6 xDrive50i generates 30kW/50Nm more than predecessor, now 330 kW and 650Nm. It's zero to 100 km/h time is just 4.8 seconds, an amazing figure for a vehicle like this. Though the all-new X6 is bigger in most dimensions than the gen-one it's a smidgin lighter, only by about 10 kg depending on the model, but every little bit helps.

On the road we greatly enjoyed our time in the BMW X6 M50d. One of the topline models, this high-performance turbo-diesel, and its brother the petrol powered X6 xDrive50i, now have Driving Assistant Plus with active cruise control; automatic Parking Assistant (very handy in a giant vehicle); Harman-Kardon audio; and digital radio.

The triple-turbo diesel six has the sort of grunt keen drivers just love. There's minimal lag and once you do get all the Newton metres up and running the best effect the surge of acceleration makes for ridiculously short, safe overtaking distances. This engine climbs hills as though they don't exist. Yet fuel consumption is routinely below 10 litres per hundred kilometres in normal driving, and only gets into the low teens when you do thrash it along.

Cornering is fast and precise - but not exactly in the nimble class. You're in charge of a two-plus tonne vehicle with relatively high centre of gravity so much of the sheer driving pleasure we enjoy in BMW sedans, coupes, even station wagons is lost.

Ride comfort is pretty good, even in the high-performance variants of the X6 and this big coupe has low wind noise levels and tyre noise isn't greatly increased by rough Australian back roads. 

Verdict

This is a superb long distance cruiser for two people planning extended trips anywhere in this large land downunder.

Large as are the BMW X5 and X6 it's now an open secret that an X7 is well into its development phase. Keep in mind that the big X Bimmers are designed for the American market, and are built way down south in Alabama USA, these extroverted German SUVs make sense. Indeed, on the other side of the Pacific, BMW is seen as an operator in the 'compact' SUV field.

Many Aussies love them as well and the rather upmarket Gold Coast suburb adjacent to ours features dozens of them every time we walk enviously along the streets there.

Pricing Guides

$70,000
Based on 22 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$61,450
Highest Price
$94,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
M 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $89,868 – 94,950 2015 BMW X6 2015 M Pricing and Specs
M50d 2.9L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $82,988 – 82,990 2015 BMW X6 2015 M50d Pricing and Specs
xDrive 30d 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $61,450 – 70,000 2015 BMW X6 2015 xDrive 30d Pricing and Specs
xDrive 35i 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $80,850 – 92,950 2015 BMW X6 2015 xDrive 35i Pricing and Specs