2015 BMW X6 50i REVIEW

BMW_X6_front

BMW X6 is a fascinating cross between the BMW X5 station wagon and a five-door coupe. Performance is excellent if you buy one of the topline models like the BMW X6 50i in which we have just enjoyed a exciting week.

Though the all-new X6 is bigger in most dimensions than the original model it’s lighter, only by about 10 kg, but this mass reduction shows clever engineering.

Big and bold on the outside, BMWX6 is slightly compromised inside, a least in the rear seat. But, that’s hardly a complaint because spacious rear seats in coupes are about as rare as politicians who understand the need for sensible speed limits.

In its first iteration BMW X6’s styling polarised opinions, that all changed with the introduction of the all-new second generation at the start of 2015. The lines the new X6’s rear end have been softened and now carry an almost fastback shape reminiscent of the exciting 1970’s automotive era.

BMW X6’s front is big and bold and shouts out that this is a sporty BMW that’s not ashamed of being noticed.

BMW_X6_rear

The air extractors behind the front wheel arches aren’t there at the whim of a stylist, they are part of the aerodynamic setup and extract air quickly to aid air penetration.

The interior is excellent, with a wide dashboard area featuring multiple detailed inserts and swooping curves. Sitting in pride of place are the very BMW big-dial instruments.

The TwinPower V8 turbo-petrol in the X6 xDrive50i fitted to our test car generates 330 kW of power and 650 Nm of torque. It jumps from rest to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds, an amazingly low figure for a very large SUV / coupe.

Drive is to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW_X6_interior

The central infotainment screen is very wide, but rather shallow to our eyes. Those who are into tablet screens like it, though, so who are we revheads to disagree.

Access is provided through Bluetooth, USB and Aux. The internet can be accessed but only when the vehicle is stationary.

Satellite navigation Professional is standard. The topline models, the 50i we tested and the 50d turbo-diesel, have 16-speaker 600 Watt entertainment that includes a six-disc CD changer.

A full suite of passive and active safety devices ensures the BMW X6 has a five-star safety rating. It even has downhill descent control should you want to tackle fairly serious off-road driving at some stage.

The front seats are big, spacious and comfortable but the back seats are tight on leg and headroom for adults. This is a coupe so you don’t get limo dimensions back there. For a vehicle of this size the space is disappointing.

The big V8 petrol has the sort of grunt keen drivers just love. There’s minimal lag and the surge of acceleration makes for quick, safe overtaking – not to forget a smile on any keen drivers face.

This engine climbs hills as though they don’t exist. Yet fuel consumption is routinely below 10 litres per hundred kilometres in normal driving, and only gets into the mid teens when you do thrash it along. On the motorway there’s little trouble in getting consumption of under eight litres per hundred.

Cornering is fast and precise, but you’re at the wheel of a two-plus tonne SUV with a relatively high centre of gravity so it certainly can never be described as nimble.

Ride comfort is good, even in the high-performance variants of the X6 and this big coupe has low wind noise levels and tyre noise that isn’t greatly increased by rough Australian back roads.

This big BMW coupe is a superb long distance cruiser for two people planning extended trips anywhere in this huge land downunder. Trips that can even include some light duty off-road running to take advantage of the all-wheel-drive system.

AT A GLANCE

2015 BMW X6

MODEL RANGE
X6 xDrive 35i: $121,145 (automatic)
X6 xDrive 50i: $150,545 (automatic)
X6 xDrive 30d: $111,045 (automatic)
X6 xDrive 40d: $127,545 (automatic)
X6 M50d: $157,145 (automatic)

FEATURES
ABS Brakes: Standard in all models
Cruise Control: Standard in all models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in all models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in all models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in all models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in all models
Reversing Camera: Standard in all models
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in all models
Satellite Navigation: Standard in all models
Bluetooth: Standard in all models
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard in all models

SPECIFICATIONS (BMW X6 xDrive50i 3.0-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)

ENGINE:
Engine Capacity: 2.993 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 16.5:1
Bore/Stroke: 84.0 mm x 90.0 mm
Maximum Power: 190 kW @ 5900 rpm
Maximum Torque: 560 Nm @ 1500-3000 rpm

DRIVELINE:
Driven Wheels: AWD
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Eight-speed
Final Drive Ratio: 3.154:1

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4909 mm
Wheelbase: 2933 mm
Width: 1969 mm
Height: 1702 mm
Turning Circle: 12.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 2065 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 85 litres
Towing Ability: 750 kg (2700 with braked trailer)

SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: Double track control arm with double joint principle, small, negative steering roll radius, anti-dive
Rear Suspension: Integral rear axle, spatial suspension with anti-squat and anti-dive;
optional: air suspension with automatic self-levelling.
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Ventilated disc

PERFORMANCE:
0-100 km/h Acceleration: 4.8 seconds

FUEL CONSUMPTION:
Type: Petrol 98RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.7 L/100km

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Three years/unlimited km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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