From £46,435
Outstanding performance and economy in a package that rewrites the SUV rulebook

Our Verdict

BMW X6
The BMW X6 has challenging looks but impressive dynamics. It is good value too

The BMW X6 is a hard riding but generally accomplished big soft-roader. Just make sure you can live with the looks

  • First Drive

    BMW X6 M50d first drive

    Adds a dose of reality to the X6 M’s madcap formula with a groundbreaking engine that may shine brighter elsewhere
  • First Drive

    BMW X6 ActiveHybrid

    Despite the complexity of the technology the X6 hybrid is remarkably simple to drive
7 April 2008

What is it?

The most powerful diesel version of the new X6 – BMW’s attempt to cross a sportscar with an off-roader. Put simply, the X6 defies all the well managed marketing logic car makers traditionally pride themselves on.

Most significantly, the X6 acts as a platform for the introduction of some of BMW’s most interesting mechanical developments in years – including a new traction enhancing torque vectoring system that’s set to appear in all of BMW’s four-wheel drive models in future years.

The range-topping diesel version will be far more popular in the UK than the thirsty 50i V8 petrol version. It uses the same 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel engine that has already appeared in the X5, with 286bhp and 427lb ft of torque. It’s not as quick as the petrol V8, but with a 6.9sec 0-62mph time and a 147mph top speed it’s still one of the quickest SUVs yet.

What’s it like?

BMW projects that only 10 per cent of British X6 customers will choose a petrol-powered version, with the two diesel engines constituting the overwhelming majority of sales.

And, on the evidence of the 35d version, it’s not hard to see why – this is a truly amazing powerplant. Peak torque arrives at just 1750rpm and the standard-fit six-speed automatic gearbox provides near-seamless drive. The steering-wheel mounted selection paddles also allow the ‘box to put in a decent impression of a sequential manual if the mood takes you.

Granted, the xDrive35d is 1.5sec shy of its xDrive50i sister in the dash from 0-62mph, but the engine’s massive mid-range urge means nobody is going to notice any real-world deficit. For a car weighing all of 2185kg, the X6 feels both remarkably quick and agile.

Indeed, apart from the elevated driving system – 19mm below that of the X5 but still far taller than conventional cars – the X6 really does deliver on the coupé part of its design brief. It feels like an enormous, tall sportscar, especially with the advanced Dynamic Performance Control torque vectoring system deftly doling out drive to the wheels with the most grip.

It’s surprisingly sensible, too. The combined cycle fuel consumption of 34mpg betters that of the turbocharged V8 by a whopping 11.4mpg. And it manages to avoid the highest band of CO2 taxation too, coming in at 220g/km. Considering the X6’s combination of size and performance, that’s an amazing achievement.

Should I buy one?

The X6 is still a hard car to get your head around, and not everybody will want to. But BMW has succeeded in delivering a car that rewrites the rules on the way an SUV should look and drive – and in xDrive35d guise you can add outstanding performance and economy to the mix.

Join the debate

Comments
18

7 April 2008

I'm not sure Autocars "First Drive" headline is backed up by the article as the text doesn't tell us too much about the driving... and the photographs have been on the Skins.be website for 2 months!!

This is a great addition to BMW's range and am surprised they predict only 10% of sales will be petrol. I presume that's only until they roll out the full petrol and diesel engine range under the X6's bonnet.

This is little more than a lowered (20mm) X5 with a funky design inside and out. my only reservation is the shallow rear windscreen and high headrests (park-assist will be a must I reckon!).

Great car and expect BMw to sell as many as they can make which'll add to the sexiness of adding to the Earths CO2 cycle compared to the Governments sad, misguided nannying drive to get us onto bicycles and buses and toward grey trollness. As it's a democracy, mine'll be an X6, in grey or black please.

8 April 2008

I expect the X6 will sell well but to me it seems to take a fairly pointless vehicle, the X5, and makes it worse. If you want a BMW coupe buy a 6 series, if you need a family car by the 5 series estate. Both are available with the same, magnificent twin turbo diesel engine and because of the lower weight and lower height they would be faster, more rewarding to drive and more economical.

8 April 2008

[quote S Moore]

I expect the X6 will sell well but to me it seems to take a fairly pointless vehicle, the X5, and makes it worse. If you want a BMW coupe buy a 6 series, if you need a family car by the 5 series estate. Both are available with the same, magnificent twin turbo diesel engine and because of the lower weight and lower height they would be faster, more rewarding to drive and more economical.

[/quote]

Can't argue with that. Only to add, for all those BMW lovers, other manufacturers offer similar vehicles to those mentioned above. Go on, stop following the herd and try something else.

8 April 2008

J Moore - Point of Order. Why buy the 6-Series coupe when the 3-Series coupe is lighter, more agile, smaller and more compact but also much bigger (totally usable) rear seats and costs £20K less?

8 April 2008

Why buy a 3 series coupe when you can have a 1 series coupe? Why buy the 1 series when you can have a Panda? Why buy the Panda...etc, etc.

Buy the one you want - life's too short!

For me it'll be the 35D X6 as long as the gearbox doesnt get too confused at roundabouts. I just got rid of a 730D that used to take ages to pick up the drive if you'd just braked from speed, spotted a gap, and gone back on the power. Friend of mine says his 535D is the same. That's a worry, but if they've fixed it then I'll go with the X6. Or a 6 series, or maybe a Panda!

9 April 2008

Exactly, you are obviously a BMW owner who does recognise other brands!

12 April 2008

[quote JJBoxster]J Moore - Point of Order. Why buy the 6-Series coupe when the 3-Series coupe is lighter, more agile, smaller and more compact but also much bigger (totally usable) rear seats and costs £20K less? [/quote]

The 6-series, being a bigger car, will offer refinement and safety that the 3 series won't. There is no denying that the X6 is a pointless vehicle. I can make a case for SUVs including the X5, but not the X6. It doesn't offer the practicality or 4wd versatility that makes SUVs so attractive. If you want a driver's car then surely something suited to the task (i.e low, light and rwd) can only be better. I do have to admit the X6 is an incredible feat of engineering, and if the technology will make other large BMWs handle better, then job done.

14 April 2008

[quote Jon Hardcastle]Go on, stop following the herd and try something else.[/quote]

Why do you care what other people think about your choice of car ?

18 April 2008

Im totally divided with this car. On one hand, my sensible side says that it is utterly pointless. yes it'll drive well, but if you want a sports car, then surely you buy a sports car. Granted it will be more practical than say a 911. But as an everyday car, why does anyone need a car that size? The X5 is better packaged, drives very well and has an extra seat. But then so does the S-max and that has seven seats and has the 2.5 engine from the focus ST.

On the other hand, i love it! Its totally unsensible, and i have no idea why i love it, i just do. Mind you, wont be trading my smart roadster for one!

10 June 2008

Not so; I have owned 4 New Lexus, 5 new Audi's and only now moved to BMW with my 635D Sport, I have moved to BMW because the "Efficiency Dynamics" is far in advance of the rest, my 635DS gives me 38/40 MPG all day long, where as my 4.2 TDI sport A8 could not break 36MPG on long runs, the A8 3.0TDI could only manage 30MPG!!!

Audi is behind the game as is Lexus with this "So called Hybrid" which I bought and could not match the figiures they suggested even at 56MPH!!!!

At least with the BMW's I have had, "They do what it says on the Tin".

Best regards

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka