I guess the BMW X6 is a pretty easy car to dislike. I wouldn’t call it particularly good-looking (it gets new headlights and a lower-profile snout for 2015, however), it represents a departure far away from anything BMW did before (the recent GT models followed in the X6’s wake), and the steeply raked hatch makes for a sometimes challenging loading situation.
Take some time to drive it, however, and you'll begin to see why we’re spotting so many of these on the road, and how the X6 fits in the BMW lineup.
What is a 2015 BMW X6?
BMW calls it a “Sports Activity Coupe,” but then they call the X5 -- which is clearly an SUV -- a “Sports Activity Vehicle” so we shouldn’t pay too much attention to BMW’s classification process here.
To put it simply, the X6 is a crossover; except, instead of mixing an SUV with a station wagon, BMW has kind of mixed an SUV (big ride height, big wheels, big bumpers) with a sports coupe.
It starts at $66,800 if you’re happy with the turbocharged 3.0L inline-6 engine. If you want the twin-turbocharged V8-powered xDrive50i version we drove (it’s a 4.4L unit, as opposed to a 5.0L as the name would have you believe), you’ll have to shell out $82,700, which is an additional $5,000 over a comparable X5.
However, for 2015, you get quite the array of standard features even if you select the base model: 19” wheels, bi-xenon headlights, power liftgate, 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and dual-zone climate control. You also get 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats which expand cargo capacity from 580 litres to 1,525 (75 litres more than in the previous-generation model), making the shallow loading area a little easier to manage.
The base motor gives 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque while the V8 provides a somewhat startling 445 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. That’s a ton of power for what is likely to be used more as a grocery-getter and hockey practice shuttle than a performance sports car.
Driving the 2015 BMW X6 xDrive50i
The X6 being a BMW and BMW having a penchant for turning pretty much everything into a driving machine, if you want to do more than head over to the local Loblaw’s then it’s perfectly able to do that, too.
Due to the clever placement of the turbochargers, exhaust gasses have less distance to travel meaning turbo lag is greatly reduced. It also helps maintain a flatter torque curve: peak torque comes at 1,750 rpm, and it continues to flow all the way up to 4,500 rpm. That’s a lot of gusto very low in the rev range so you’ll want to keep a very close eye on the speedometer or the Head-Up Display in front of you.
Speaking of which, the new gauge cluster is digital and changes depending on which of the four drive modes you select (ECO Pro, Comfort, Sport, Sport+). In ECO mode, the tachometer becomes a gauge that provides a look into BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology, with a useful display showing how many clicks you’ve added to your tank by driving in this mode.
Switch to Sport mode (the gauge cluster becomes red), and the shackles on the transmission and throttle are taken off, meaning the BMW X6 kicks down faster and surges forward with even the slightest of throttle inputs.
This machine handles pretty well, too; when the road begins to bend, the intelligent AWD system is on-hand to keep things copasetic. Up to 100% of the available torque can be sent to either axle to help mitigate understeer and oversteer. It’s impressive, and makes the X6 feel smaller than its 2,370kg curb weight would suggest.
It’s not all roses, however. Smaller drivers may have a hard time seeing over the X6’s tall beltline, and the swooping hood makes it a little tough to place in tight quarters. Everybody, meanwhile, will have a hard time seeing out of the rear window: it’s tiny to begin with, and the sharp rake makes the opening even smaller.
Inside and Out of the 2015 BMW X6
Up front, there’s plenty of room for even the tallest adults, but it does get a little tight in the back due to that swooping roofline.
As is the case with BMWs in general, the centre stack and even the controls to the left of the steering wheel are angled toward the driver, making them feel that much more cocooned in the cockpit.
The X6 also gets BMW’s iDrive infotainment system as standard, complete with a ceramic control dial that actually lets you spell out an address or a point of interest.
Comparing the 2015 BMW X6
The BMW X6 is certainly unique; there are very few direct competitors for a sports coupe on steroids such as this. The closest thing to an X6 -- on the dynamic front, at least -- is probably the Porsche Cayenne, although its two-box shape is much more reminiscent of the X5. I guess you could give a nod to the Range Rover Evoque, too, but it’s a smaller vehicle.