Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



So wrong, but right. Image by Kyle Fortune.

So wrong, but right
You can debate the relevance of BMW's X6 all day long, but you'd be missing a cracking drive.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> BMW reviews

| Week at the Wheel | BMW X6 xDrive35d |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

An SUV coupé might not be a unique idea, but BMW has been the most successful in advocating it with its X6. Based on the highly successful X5, the X6 is a sportier looking SUV that's aimed at those wanting the lofty in-yer-face stance of a chunky 4x4 but not the boxy looks. BMW uses the coupé word pretty liberally when describing its X6 but it's no more a coupé than any car with four-doors. Think fastback SUV then, the X6's profile more rakish and flowing than the usual two-box SUV norm. Looked at in profile, above the beltline the X6 is a handsomely proportioned car, almost living up to the overused coupé description. It gets a bit messy though below the windows, the X6 not perhaps the most cohesively designed BMW in the range.

Inside it's all very familiar and BMW-like. The fascia is largely borrowed from the X5, though you do feel a bit more ensconced in the driver's seat thanks to the steeper rake angle of the windscreen and the roofline dropping away behind you. Those in the rear two seats will feel pretty cosy too thanks to the narrow windows and that fastback roof. Space isn't quite as compromised as you might think though: the X6's boot is huge - even if getting stuff in and out of it is a bit of a job thanks to its height and massive lip and narrow opening.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

BMW's 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel is one of the finest engines available and it's got a good home in the X6. Badged somewhat incongruously 'X6 xDrive35d' the '35' announces that this is the twin sequential turbocharged version of the 3.0-litre diesel. That not only means a thumping 282bhp, but 428lb.ft of torque at just 1,750-2,250rpm. That's enough to allow the X6 35d sprint to 62mph in just 6.9 seconds and onto a potential maximum of 147mph. It feels that quick too, the sensation of speed increased thanks to the comedy feeling of something so large being so punchy.

All that power and torque is distributed to the four wheels via BMW's complex xDrive system and numerous electronic driver aids. It all combines to allow the X6 to use its ample grunt as effectively as possible - the electronics diverting torque seamlessly to the wheels with the most traction. The automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, though BMW's weird gear selector takes some getting used to, and the push-me-pull-me switches on the steering wheel don't work as well as right hand for up, left hand for down offered on rivals' manual override switches and paddles.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

All the X6's numerous electronic driver aids and complex drive systems give it dynamic ability that's quite sensational for such a tall and heavy car. Such is its enormous composure that it carries speed with ease even on tortuously twisty country roads, the X6 feeling more sports saloon than lofty SUV. The steering is weighty but lacks the sort of crisp feel we'd like in something that offers such precision elsewhere. The brakes do a good job of hauling the big X6 down from the speeds it so easily achieves too, but such is the tight handling you'll soon learn you don't need to slow down quite as much as you might have anticipated when approaching corners.

The body remains almost entirely flat when pushing through corners, the only giveaway to the X6's height on the road being the view out of it. We'd forego some of the X6's phenomenal handling for a slightly more compliant ride though, as the combination of massive wheels, run-flat tyres and firm suspension often results in harshness when driving on our underinvested in, crumbling tarmac.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

Like all recent BMWs, the X6 features EfficientDynamics to help scavenge back energy through braking to reduce the load on the engine. That's as may be, but even combined to the fact that this is a turbodiesel engine it's unlikely you'll ever come close to BMW's 34mpg combined consumption figure. Emissions of 220g/km is impressive though and keeps the X6 turbodiesel out of the most expensive VED tax brackets.

Equipment levels are pretty generous in what's a £45,000 car, but for the best handling X6 you need to shell out for the Dynamic package. It includes sports suspension, a three-spoke steering wheel, 19-inch alloys, electric seat adjustment, sports seats and other trim details like leather upholstery and high gloss exterior trim.

Overall: star star star star star

The idea of the X6 might be an alien one to many, but BMW has created a remarkable car. It drives like a sports saloon, has a modicum of off-road ability in the unlikely event you'll ever use it and looks individual. It's not much less practical than its X5 relative but drives with even greater verve. It's perhaps not the most politically correct car in these times, but it's a towering achievement from BMW's dynamics people.

Kyle Fortune - 7 Jan 2009



  www.bmw.co.uk    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- X6 images

2008 BMW X6 specifications:
Technical specifications for 2008 BMW X6 xDrive35d

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.



2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©