The second-gen X6 is new for the latest model year, featuring a more cohesive exterior design and overhauled mechanicals.
BMW has made enhanced USB functionality and Bluetooth connectivity standard on all X6 models. Owners can now browse their libraries via Bluetooth and sync a second hands-free phone. Four-zone automatic climate control is also now standard on all models.
The second-generation X6 takes the bold exterior of the original and gives it a sleeker, more refined finish. While still far from conservative, the new look is a bit more coherent and purposefully sculpted.
The X6's roofline begins arching downward after the B-pillar and continues plunging right to the X6's rising waistline. As a result, second-row headroom and rear cargo volume are both compromised.
For the first time, the X6 is available in two-wheel-drive, but only in its six-cylinder configuration. The X6 sDrive35i is powered by the same twin-turbocharged, three-liter inline-six found in the all-wheel-drive xDrive35i model, but power goes only to the rear wheels. The latest iteration of BMW's twin-turbocharged I6 makes 300 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 300 lb-ft of torque from 1,200 to 5,000 RPM, providing potent response throughout the engine's power curve. Both configurations will do 0-60 in six seconds flat.
All-wheel-drive is standard when opting for a V8. The twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter follows the six's lead with a peak output of 445 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 RPM and 480 lb-ft of torque between 2,000 and 4,500 RPM. BMW claims it will motivate the X6 xDrive50i to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds—faster than some dedicated sports coupes.
All three variants are equipped with BMW's eight-speed automatic transmission with wheel-mounted paddle shifters and launch control.
On the previous X6, the M-Sport performance package brought with it a power bump on both engines. For now, that option is not available, but the exterior upgrades and dynamic suspension remain.
The M Sport Line adds lightweight, double-spoke 19" wheels, an M-branded steering wheel, an aero kit, an anthracite headliner and "Shadowline" exterior trim to replace the bright chrome exterior accents. The Dynamic Damper control and rear axle air suspension option includes a three-way adjustable suspension to enhance either dynamic response or driving comfort to the owner's taste.
Inside, M Sport models get sport seats, an M-branded steering wheel and anthracite leather.
Buyers who want a less-aggressive exterior treatment can opt for the xLine rather than the M-Sport Line. The xLine includes Y-spoked wheels (also 19") and aluminum running boards.
Equipment and Options
The X6 comes with a slew of standard equipment, including three-stage heated front seats, 10-way power front seats with driver's lumbar adjustment and four-position memory, 40/20/40 split rear-seats, leather interior with wood trim, a power-adjustable steering column, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic xenon headlamps and multiple 12v sockets.
Standard infotainment features include a 205-watt, nine-speaker, AM/FM/stereo/CD/mp3, HD audio system equipped with RDS. The X6 is also pre-wired for available SiriusXM Satellite radio. BMW Navigation is also standard, and comes equipped with a 10.2-inch screen.
Outside, key standard features include 19" alloy wheels, power-folding & heated side mirrors, a power rear liftgate, rear washer and rain-sensing front wipers with heated washer jets.
BMW has several stand-alone options and packages available for the X6. The Cold Weather Package includes heated rear seats, retractable headlight washers and a heated steering wheel. The Lighting Package includes adaptive full LED lights and automatic high beams. The Executive Package adds ceramic controls, soft-close automatic doors, a surround-sound audio system, a driver information HUD and rear side window shades.
BMW offers two bi-color interior packages -- Cognac/Black and Ivory/Black -- with upgraded interior wood and metal trim and Nappa Leather. The Dynamic Handling Package adds the M-Sport's dynamic performance control and active roll stabilization.
A-la-carte interior options include a rear-seat entertainment system, rear side window shades, ventilated front seats, parking assist, concierge services, USB/Bluetooth smartphone integration and soft-close automatic doors. Performance junkies who don't want to spring for the full M Sport package can add Active Steering or Dynamic Damper Control with the rear air suspension as individual options.
All X6 models are equipped with driver and passenger advanced airbags, front- and rear-curtain airbags, active head restraints, DRLs, BMW Assist eCall emergency communications, adaptive brakelights and an automatic response system that detects accidents and activates key emergency features in the event of a crash.
Buyers who opt for the Driver Assistance Plus package also get blind spot monitoring and side- and top-view cameras. BMW's Active Driving Assistant, the side- and top-view cameras and night vision are all available as standalone options.
While the outrageous Acura ZDX has met its end, new entries are appearing from European manufacturers looking to expand this niche. Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz's forthcoming GLE 450 Coupe will give the X6 some competition. Those willing to trade the X6's unique looks for a lower purchase price and more interior space should consider the Infiniti QX70, the Audi Q7 and BMW's own X5.