It's time for the third-generation of the contentious BMW X6, the vehicle that invented coupe-SUVs. Based on the current X5, the X6 is an upmarket model that aims to attract the fashion-conscious SUV buyer.
More than 443,000 X6s have been sold since the Mk1 appeared in 2008 and so the new one must build on that global popularity. Built in Spartanburg, South Carolina - where all BMW X models barring the X1 and X2 are made - the new X6 is bigger than its predecessor. The overall length is up by 26mm to 4,935mm in total, with a 42mm stretch of the wheelbase bound to offer more interior space. The X6 is wider (+15mm, 2,004mm total) than the Mk2, but it's fractionally lower (-6mm, 1,696mm total), while a broader front track (+44mm, 1,684mm total) should improve the BMW SUV's handling characteristics. In terms of boot space, there are 580 litres on offer as standard, while folding the 40:20:40 split backrests down increases that volume to 1,525 litres.
Has a very shiny nose...
The X6 Mk3 will premiere BMW's illuminated kidney grille. As is the fashion with BMWs these days, the grille itself is a very large, single-piece item, but the fact it can glow is new: illumination is activated by opening or closing the car, while the driver can switch it on or off manually. It is not clear yet whether this function is deactivated while the car is in motion. In terms of more conventional lamps, the X6 gains LED head- and taillights as standard, with optional BMW Laserlights with Adaptive LEDs an option that can light up the road 500 metres ahead at night. Further exterior styling details include alloy wheels that range from 19 to 22 inches in diameter.
Inside, the BMW X6 sports much the same cabin architecture as the closely related X5. That means a 12.3-inch digital control touchscreen in the dash, complemented by a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster as part of BMW's Live Cockpit Professional Operating System 7.0. This also includes a whole suite of driver assist and connectivity software, such as the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant function. More prosaically, Vernasca leather upholstery is standard with Merino hide an upgrade option, sports seats are fitted to all models with multifunction chairs on the extras list and 2.5-zone climate control is the factory spec; four-zone climate can be ordered. A panoramic glass roof is 83 per cent larger than the old X6's, in terms of its clear-surface area, while Panorama Glass Roof Sky Lounge adds ambient LED lighting into said glass expanse. Also choose from crystal glass appliques for various interior controls, Welcome Carpet Light features and thermoelectric cupholders, which can keep drinks warm or cold as necessary.
Two M Performance models for kick-off
As the X6 is a sporty BMW, there are three six-cylinder engines and a twin-turbo V8 forming the launch line-up. The xDrive30d uses a 3.0-litre inline-six turbodiesel, delivering 265hp and 620Nm. Expect 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h, with best eco-stats of 6.1 litres/100km (46.3mpg) and 159g/km of CO2. The xDrive40i is that model's petrol analogue, offering 340hp and 450Nm from its 3.0-litre six engine, with 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds and a limited top speed of 250km/h. BMW quotes 8.0 litres/100km (35.3mpg) and 181g/km CO2 for it.
Not fast enough for you? Then you'll need one of the two M Performance models available from launch. The X6 M50d uses a quad-turbo 3.0-litre diesel, thumping 400hp and 760Nm into the tarmac for a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds. Like the 40i, the M50d is limited to 250km/h flat out and uses 6.9 litres/100km (40.9mpg) with 181g/km of CO2 emissions. Faster again, but considerably less frugal, the flagship M50i has a 4.4-litre biturbo V8 petrol engine rated at 530hp and 750Nm. This means the hottest X6 can hit 100km/h from rest in 4.3 seconds and go on to 250km/h where permitted, although 10.4 litres/100km (27.2mpg) and 237g/km of CO2 mean this one will only be for those with deep pockets.
All Mk3 X6s come with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission and xDrive all-wheel drive with a rear bias; indeed, these coupe-SUVs can run purely in rear-wheel drive to save fuel if needs be. BMW BluePerformance tech on the diesels (particulate filter, oxidation catalyst, NOx adsorption catalyst and an SCR catalyst with AdBlue injection) means all new X6s meet the EU6d-TEMP emissions standard. An M Sport exhaust system is fitted to the M Performance models and will be an option on other X6s, or part of the M Sport package on M Sport models, while all variants get Dynamic Damper Control as standard. Options include twin-axle, self-levelling air suspension, active anti-roll stabilisation, four-wheel Integral Active Steering and an xOffroad Package, although we suspect low take-up on the latter.
Heading for Frankfurt
The X6 will make its global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of this year, before going on sale in November.