BMW X6 Review
Car Tested: 2013 BMW X6 XDrive40d
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,07,44,250/-
The BMW X6 offers the practicality of an SUV with the style of a coupe, blended in one terrific package.
Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) is a vehicle type which not many are familiar with, after all there is only one such car in the SAC segment. The BMW X6 or in other words an SUV coupe is an interesting body type, which the German automaker kick started in 2008 and plans to continue by launching more SACs like the soon to be introduced X4. The company agrees the body style is quite unusual but the demand is high with more than 1.5 lakh units sold globally till date. Just last year the vehicle was given a minor facelift and was launched in India in November 2012. The BMW X6 has been suprisingly very successful which has prompted other automakers to consider entry in the segment as well. Audi is working on the Q6 while Mercedes-Benz is already in advanced stages of developing the MLC (ML-Coupe). The X6 has had a free run till now with no competition whatsoever. So what makes this X5 based vehicle tick?
Exteriors – The styling of the BMW X6 is very unique. It’s like nothing else on the road, in a good or bad way. While some might love the X6’s coupe like rear end, others might question the very idea of offering an SUV with coupe like sloping roof as it is pure form over function. The front is very X5 like and the facelifted X6 gets similar LEDs as the flagship 7-Series (along with LED Adaptive headlights). Neat highlights around the kidney grille and fog lights amplify the front-end appeal. The width of the X6 is very apparent.
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The side profile reveals the coupe profile of the vehicle, the roof slants down to meet the boot lid at a weird angle (very 5-Series GT like). There are roof rails and running board, with sharp lines right in between, going through the door handle. The 10-spoke alloy wheels are simply delicious and the X6 has flared wheel arches for that macho appearance. The rear reveals the dramatic design, with a high set boot lid and angled rear windscreen. The tail lights use LEDs too and a subtle rear spoiler is placed at the rear. An exhaust on either side sits on the big bumper, which is pushed upwards to reveal the massively wide tyres.
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Interiors – Once inside, you witness a cabin which is very typical of a BMW vehicle, with the layout being very common among its sibling. You do however get twin AC vents on the right most and left most side of the dashboard. Cabin quality is almost faultless with fit and finish levels being truly phenomenal. The dashboard gets a dark wood insert while the glovebox is very different, it’s not the usual pull down type and instead there is a button below the AC vent which opens a rather small glove box. However there are plenty of storage bins inside the cabin, including one below the centre arm rest. The instrument cluster is easy to read and you also get a heads-up display which shows the speed in your line of sight.
The seats of the BMW X6 are simply fantastic, offering terrific support all around. With the luxury package, one can get special comfort seats which have active seat ventilation, heating and lumbar support. The cabin feels rich in every way and there is plenty of space for four adults. Legroom is good and headroom is decent but a fifth passenger just won’t be able to sit because the sloping roof has cabin lights in the centre, thereby comprising on headroom of the fifth passenger. There is a small storage area on each side of the rear seat. The BMW X6 features a 4-zone climate control and also has an LCD screen for rear seat passengers (placed right behind the front arm rest) which plays multiple video formats including AUX and DVD. The doors which have wood, leather and aluminium on them are heavy but you don’t have to take much effort to close them as they have a suction mechanism which pulls them back into closed position.
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The iDrive system shows an array of data, including torque distribution on each wheel. There are quite a few cameras including 360-degree view. Off-road cameras are placed on either side of the front bumper, while three cameras are placed on the roof to show what’s around you. There is a reverse camera as well with directional marking which is important as rear visibility is poor due to the small rear windshield. The multimedia system has navigation which is quite accurate. Right below the audio system are buttons for the cameras, traction control, boot opening, etc. The boot opens electronically and shuts down with a touch of a button. There is a charging port inside the boot, probably to power your portable refrigerator. There is good amount of boot space but the sloping roof does compromise on the trunk’s carrying capacity to a certain extent.
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Performance – BMW offers the X6 in India with a petrol and diesel engine which offer excellent performance. The xDrive50i produces 407 HP of power and 600 Nm of torque from its 4.4-litre V8 unit, enabling it to sprint from 0-100 km/hr in just 5.4 seconds. We drove the xDrive40d variant which uses a 3.0-litre flat-6 unit to output 306 HP and 600 Nm. Performance is urgent with a tap on the accelerator pedal pulling the X6 quite strongly to high speeds. Power delivery is quite linear with turbolag well contained. 0-100 km/hr takes 6.5 seconds with the top speed being limited to 250 km/hr.
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Even though the BMW X6 is quite heavy, performance is effortless and the mammoth amount of torque really helps in keeping the X6 on the prowl without losing breath even at high RPMs. Redline comes in at 5100 RPM and this motor is simply smashing when it comes to NVH levels, making a sporty hiss when you whip the throttle. Mated to a 8-speed gearbox, the X6 has quick shifts which can be manually controlled via either the joystick gearlever or the steering mounted paddle shifts. Shifting into Sports mode makes the vehicle even more eager and holds the gears longer. It even blips the throttle on downshifts, making the X6 quite fun to drive. Expect a mileage of 7-8 km/l in the city.
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Driving Dynamics – BMW’s are known to be driving machines, the X6’s weight tries to make an exception here. With significant amount of weight under its belly, the X6’s heaviness is felt at high speeds and it has quite a bit of body roll. The vehicle gets bouncy on bad roads and the run flat tyres really don’t help matters much. Surprisingly this BMW has a space saver spare wheel but still BMW has opted for run flat tyres, which do end up spoiling the ride quality to a certain extent. The vehicle is on the stiffer side but still glides on good roads, only to be unsettled on large bumps. BMW doesn’t offer mode selection on this variant of the X6 and you can’t choose between Comfort or Sport, surprising.
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High speed stability is excellent and although it’s not as sharp as other BMWs, its still much ahead of its key rivals (from the SUV segment). The steering is a delight and has immense feel and feedback. It isn’t much heavy at low speeds but as you go faster, the steering simply comes into its own, offering a very tactile feel to the drive. Brakes are very sure footed and have terrific stopping power, with the pedal feel being extremely positive. The X6 has good off-road ability and can easily traverse most terrains, thereby offering an splendid balance of good on and off-road driving.
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Verdict – The BMW X6 might loose out on headroom and boot space against the X5, but it offers an unparalleled level of desirability. While it sure is expensive, it’s a very different and unique body style which is attracting many people to the vehicle. The X6 has carved out such a niche that others are now following with their own offerings (Mercedes and Audi). If you want an SUV which drives well, performs brilliantly and looks out of this world, then the BMW X6 is your only choice today.
The BMW X6 might be a less practical X5 but the style quotient makes all that worth it.
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* Terrific engine
* Well weighed steering
* Unique styling
What’s Not So Cool
* Run flat tyres even though spare wheel is present
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2013 BMW X6 Specifications
* Engine: 2993cc, 6-cylinder, twin scroll turbocharger
* Power: 306 HP @ 4400 RPM
* Torque: 600 Nm @ 1500-2500 RPM
* Transmission: 8-speed automatic
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr
* 0-100 km/h: 6.5 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 8 km/l (City), 10 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Double-joint spring strut (Front), Multi-link self levelling (Rear)
* Tyres: 255/50/19 Runflats
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Disc (Rear), dry braking function, fading compensation
* Safety: ABS, EBD, DSC, DTC, DBC, CBC, Six Airbags, Reversing Camera
2013 BMW X6 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4877 mm X 1983 mm X 1669 mm
* Wheelbase: 2933 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1644/1706 mm
* Turning Radius: 6.0-metres
* Ground clearance: 212 mm
* Boot Volume: 570 liters, 1450 liters (with rear seats folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 85 litres
* Kerb Weight: 2100 kgs