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- Highs Excellent turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder engines, elegant interior, wealth of standard and available features.
- Lows Lacks the agility expected of a BMW, pricey with desirable options, coupe-like roofline limits rear-seat headroom and cargo space.
- Verdict The X6 comes with a choice of powerful engines, a posh cabin, and host of standard features, but its unusual styling and so-so handling could be deal-breakers.
The BMW X6 is a more rakish take on BMW’s more practical and less pricey X5 midsize luxury SUV. So, why pay more for the X6? That comes down to whether you want the sleeker roofline and more tapered tail of the X6, or the added headroom and cargo capacity of the X5. For our money, the X5 is the better deal, though there’s no arguing the X6 comes with audacious engines and delivers a high degree of luxury. What it doesn’t provide is the handling finesse expected from a vehicle with the BMW logo on its nose.
What's New for 2017?
Changes are few for the 2017 X6. The infotainment system is upgraded to the latest iDrive 5.0 software, and the available Premium package now includes wireless smartphone charging and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
- Base: $63,495
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
When it comes to the X6’s engine bay, there are three very temping options on the table. Calling the standard 300-hp turbocharged inline-six the “base engine” feels like we’re doing an injustice to this silky-smooth powertrain. Coupled to an equally refined eight-speed automatic transmission, this engine delivers seamless power and shows exactly why BMW has such a sterling reputation for building amazing motors. Available in rear- or all-wheel drive, this is probably where most X6 shoppers will find a happy medium of performance and value. Of course, there’s always the optional twin-turbocharged V-8 that comes with the X6 xDrive50i and mighty X6 M. Each comes standard with all-wheel drive, though the X6 M has a staggering 567 horsepower compared to the 50i’s ‘mere’ 445 horsepower. While straight-line speed isn’t an issue with any X6, this five-passenger SUV doesn’t have the precise directional ability found in other BMW vehicles. During our time with an X6 xDrive35i, we found the ride to be comfortable, though even our test vehicle’s adaptive dampers and air suspension couldn’t stop the X6 from leaning heavily during hard cornering. There was little in the way of steering feel, and dialing in sportier drive modes added more heft to the helm but not more agility or driving pleasure.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The cabin of the X6 is filled with high-quality trim and comes standard with leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, a moonroof, and power-operated tailgate. But that’s only the tip of the X6 iceberg, because the list of available comfort and tech touches is exceedingly long—and can make the X6’s price balloon if you’re not careful. Notable extras include everything from safety features like blind-spot monitoring and a surround-view parking camera, to items like a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, head-up instrument display, four-zone climate control, and soft-close doors. The front seats deliver excellent support, and the rear seats don’t skimp on space, but there is a price to be paid for the X6’s sloping roofline. The sportier coupe-like design limits back-seat headroom and also takes a chunk out of cargo space. Behind the rear seats there’s approximately 27 cubic feet of volume, which is about 9 cubic feet down from what you get in the more square-shaped BMW X5.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Other than its spectacular engines, another plus point found in the BMW X6 is this SUV’s highly intuitive infotainment system. A 10.2-inch screen occupies the upper portion of the dash and comes with features like Bluetooth, HD radio, navigation, and a Harman Kardon stereo. Options include wireless device charging, an onboard Wi-Fi hot spot, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto). Admittedly, BMW is a little stingy with its tech and many of these features are standard equipment on many luxury SUVs in this price range.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.