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Essentially a derivative of the X5 sport-utility vehicle, the BMW X6 flaunts a sleeker, more fluid appearance. Regardless of BMW’s preferred nomenclature as a Sports Activity Coupe, the four-door X6 is not a coupe. Nor is it a true SUV. Since its debut, the X6 concept has been echoed by several premium automakers, including Mercedes-Benz and Range Rover. BMW itself markets a smaller X4 version.
Introduced for the 2008 model year, the X6 started the fashionable coupe-like SUV trend. For 2017, BMW has added a 10.2-inch touchscreen to its standard navigation and infotainment system, upgrading to iDrive 5.0. BMW’s xLine is now standard, including stainless steel underbody cladding and 19-inch Y-spoke wheels; 20-inch tires are an option. Premium and Executive option packages now include wireless charging and a wi-fi hotspot.
Powertrains essentially duplicate those available in BMW’s more upright-looking X5. A turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine goes into the rear-drive X6 sDrive35i, as well as the all-wheel-drive X6 xDrive35i. Working with an 8-speed automatic transmission, the six-cylinder version performs with passion.
A twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that develops 445 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque goes under the hood of the X6 xDrive50i, which comes only with all-wheel drive. BMW claims 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.6 seconds, versus 5 seconds for the X6 xDrive35i.
For those who crave even more muscle, the BMW X6 M comes with a stepped-up V8 that whips up 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet. That’s sufficient to blast this comparative heavyweight to 60 mph in an even four seconds. The X6 M also gets an 8-speed automatic transmission, but with a taller first gear. Performance enhancements for the X6 M include stiffer springs, rear-axle air springs, adaptive shock absorbers, and high-performance brakes. Driving modes include a Sport+ setting that almost shuts down the stability-control system.
Available safety features for the BMW X6 include Night Vision with pedestrian, animal, and object detection. A Driver Assistance package includes a rearview camera and head-up display. Active-safety features, including forward collision and lane-departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring and surround-view cameras, come in a Driver Assistance Plus group. Neither the National Highway Traffic Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the X6 models.