The BMW X6 is an X5 with its butt cut off. What it lacks in practicality it makes up for in bizarre proportionality, but we can’t help but admire its audaciousness. What do you need to know before you buy a BMW X6? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.
The BMW X6 was what BMW refers to as “the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe.” By that, they really mean it was the first SUV whose ass they chopped off to favor a streamlined profile over practicality.
But BMW has sold over 250,000 of the things, and you have to wonder how. Aside from its peculiar looks, the X6 doesn’t make a lot of sense as a car. It’s got ground clearance, but it’s not great off-road. It handles well, but it would handle better if it weren’t on stilts. It’s got a coupe-style body, but at 5,000 pounds, it weights no less than any other SUV. And there’s just not enough room in the back seats. Ultimately, it makes no logical sense.
But people don’t always buy cars based on logic and reason; car buying is an emotion-filled game, and that’s the thing about the BMW X6. It’s like a Fast and Furious film: if you turn off the parts of your brain that manage analytical, fact-based thinking, and perhaps let a few drops of drool hang from your mouth, you might just like it.
And when we drove the BMW X6 M, we began to see the X6's emotional appeal. In his review “The BMW X6 M Is 567 Horsepower Of Useless, Lovable Madness,” Travis Okulski wrote:
I love it because this is a car that takes a lot of chutzpah to build. I’ve said it before, but there is absolutely no rational reason for BMW to build this car. There is also no rational reason for anyone to buy this car.
Not one person needs this car. BMW has built a tall sports coupe that has no rear head room, can’t go off road, has 21 inch wheels, yet also has hill descent control. It’s insane. BMW builds this car because BMW wants to build this car. That’s it.
And not only did it take balls for BMW to build it, but you need to have a ton of self confidence to buy one.
So, ugly and impractical it may be, but the X6 (and especially the X6 M) is ballsy. And we like ballsy.
The second generation BMW X6 “Sport Activity Coupe” made its debut at the Moscow Motor Show in 2014 and arrived with an available two-wheel drive model. The new X6 was lighter, 1.5-inches longer, taller and wider than its predecessor and the styling both inside and out were all-new, albeit not dramatically different from the previous X6 and hardly different from its little brother, the X4.
Engine options were essentially carryover, though the 4.4-liter V8 in the xDrive50i received a 45 horsepower and 30 lb-ft bump over its previous-gen counterpart. The X6 got two extra gears for 2015 and an updated V8, scoring a bit more power and a major boost in torque: up 12 horses and 50 lb-ft.
This year’s 2016 model adds a few standard features to the xDrive50i and makes enhanced USB and Bluetooth standard across the range, but is otherwise unchanged from the model that debuted for ‘15.
Which One We’d Buy
You’ve got three main trim levels to choose from: sDrive35i, xDrive35i, xDrive50i and X6M.
All X6 variants gets single piston floating calipers front and rear, with the V8 models receiving 15.15-inch rotors in the front and 13.6-inchers in the rear, while the 3.0-liter models get 13.1-inch vented rotors in the front and 12.6-inch pies out back. The high-performance X6 M comes to a halt via six piston calipers in the front and single piston floating calipers in the back, both grabbing 15.15-inch vented and slotted discs.
Suspension is double wishbone front and a multi-link setup in the back. Springs are either pneumatic or coils, and steering is electric on all models.
Powertrain options are typical BMW. Slap three Maßkrugs of Augustiner on the table and you’ve got the displacement of the Bavarians’ ubiquitous 3.0-liter inline-six. That’s the standard mill in both the rear-wheel drive sDrive35i and the all-wheel drive xDrive35i. That motor cranks out 300 horsepower and the same number of torques— enough to get the chubby Alpenboy to 60 MPH in six seconds. If you think 300 horses shooting a 4,600 pound car to 60 MPH in only six ticks seems a bit quick, you’re not alone. BMW has a tendency to underrate their power figures.
Like its X5 and 5 Series Brüder, the upper trim levels get a 4.4-liter turbo V8 in a couple different flavors. The xDrive50i gets a 445 horsepower version of the eight, enough to get it to 60 MPH in 4.6 seconds. But if you really to Vergnüg your Fahr, there’s the X6 M, 567-pony 5,185-pound “Sport Activity Vehicle” that zips to 60 MPH in only four seconds flat.
And we’re into Fahrvergnügen, hence why, if we had to buy an only moderately practical alien of an SUV, we’d go balls-out and get the $103,195 X6 M.
MSRP: $59,800-$102,200 Top Speed: 156 MPH [X6 M]
Acceleration: 4.0 to 60 [X6 M]
MPG: 14-18 city / 19-25 hwy / 16-21 combined [X6 M-sDrive35i]
Engines: 3.0-liter I6, 4.4-liter turbo V8
Max Horsepower/Torque: 567 hp/553 lb-ft
Curb Weight: 4,630-5,185 IIHS Safety Rating: NA
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, RWD/AWD
Photo credit: BMW