To make the BMW X6, the company turned to the mechanicals of its X5. The two models both roll from BMW’s Spartanburg plant in the United States and the oily parts of both are, if not quite identical, then at least separated at birth.

Ah yes, the X6’s appearance. Seldom has a car divided opinion as much as this one. And seldom has so much of that opinion been negative. But while the X6 does impose itself perhaps too abruptly for a lot of tastes, it has been adeptly converted from concept to production with little dilution, and it does have some striking angles.

Steve Cropley Autocar

Steve Cropley

Editor-in-chief
Despite the huge external dimension, interior space is surprisingly tight

It’s all about presence at the front. The four swaged lines down the bonnet and the large headlights (gas discharge as standard) are all meant to make the X6 look imposing. They do.

The frontal air intakes are split to make the X6 look even wider than it is. Not that they really need to. At 1983mm, it’s 50mm wider than an X5 — about as wide as cars can get before they won’t fit in car washes.

The kidney grilles are the largest ever seen on a BMW. We’re told (though we have our doubts) that they need to be this big to feed the engine with the requisite amount of air. There’s no denying they lend a certain visual impact, though. The revisions have exaggerated this impact further by increasing the the impression of width with the X6. This has been achieved with repositioned fogs, even wider kidney grilles and a new light arrangement.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the BMW range

Driven this week

It isn’t a real diffuser at the back, but it adds some muscle to the rear end. If you get down low you can see the X6’s impressively flat underbody.

With such a beefy front, there’s a risk that the X6 could look limp at the rear. Its high bootlid, pronounced rear wheel arches and strong horizontal lines prevent that.

BMW has managed to give the X6 an authentic coupé roofline. Its height peaks above the front seats then slopes gently towards the rear.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the BMW range

Driven this week