BMW follows the launch of the fourth-generation X5 and first-generation X7 with the unveiling of its U.S.-made sister model, the third-generation X6.
Arriving in North American showrooms in November following a public debut at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show, the 5-seat model enters a crowded premium-brand SUV coupe market that now includes direct rivals in the form of the Audi Q8, soon-to-be-replaced Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and newly introduced Porsche Cayenne Coupe.
Despite the increased competition, BMW is confident a loyal customer base will see the X6 maintain the sales success of its predecessors, with a lineup that includes the gasoline-powered X6 xDrive40i and M50i in the U.S.
Pricing is yet to be announced, though the new X6 xDrive30d diesel is expected to start at about $65,000.
As with the latest X5, the ’20-model-year X6 boasts an evolutionary design update.
It includes a bold new interpretation of BMW’s signature kidney grille, angular headlamps and a broad-shouldered body.
Overall, the sporting SUV is more angular in appearance than previous generations with flanks that are dominated by a heavy etched feature line and distinctive breather elements behind the front and rear wheel arches.
At the rear, the new BMW shares its look with the second-generation X4, most notably in the shape of its taillamps and design of its heavily angled tailgate.
The fresh look is accompanied by an increase in dimensions. Length is up 1.0 in. (25 mm) over the second-generation X6 at 194.3 ins. (4,935 mm) and width is extended 0.6 in. (15 mm) to 78.9 ins. (2,004 mm).
The interior design (below, left) is largely shared with the X5. BMW says it uses higher-grade materials than the old X6, including Vernasca leather upholstery as standard. It also receives new high-definition digital displays for the instruments and infotainment system as well as revised switchgear to give the new model a more upmarket feel than its predecessor. Redesigned seats are said to offer greater support.
A 1.7-in. (43-mm) longer wheelbase at 117.1 ins. (2,974 mm) is claimed to have created more interior space, though trunk capacity remains the same as before at 20.5 cu.-ft. (580 L) – some 2.3 cu.-ft. (65 L) less than that offered by the latest X5. With the 40:20:40-configured rear seat folded away, capacity increases to 54.0 cu.-ft. (1,528 L).
BMW confirms the new X6 will be produced with four different engines, two gasoline units and a pair of diesels with EU6d-TEMP emissions certification for selected global markets. All come mated to a standard 8-speed torque-converter-equipped gearbox and BMW’s latest all-wheel xDrive system as found in the latest X5 and X7.
At this stage, it is unclear whether BMW will continue to offer X6 with the option of rear-wheel drive as with the outgoing X6 sDrive35i.
Heading the U.S. lineup is the X6 M50i, which runs a turbocharged 4.4L V-8 with 523 hp and 553 lb.-ft. (750 Nm) of torque. It boasts a claimed 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 4.3 seconds and limited 155-mph (250 km/h) top speed along with combined-cycle fuel consumption of 22.6 mpg (10.4 L/100 km) on the WLTP test procedure.
It is joined by the X6 xDrive40i, whose turbocharged 3.0L inline 6-cyl. engine delivers 335 hp and 332 lb.-ft. (450 Nm) for a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds, limited 155-mph (250 km/h) top speed and combined fuel consumption of 29.4 mpg (8.0 L/100 km).
The diesel models available in Europe are led by the X6 M50d with a quad-turbocharged 3.0L V-6 developing 394 hp and 561 lb.-ft. (761 Nm) of torque. It is claimed to reach 62 mph in 5.2 seconds, hit a top speed of 155 mph and deliver combined-cycle fuel consumption of 34.1 mpg (6.9 L/100 km).
It is supported by the X6 xDrive30d, which uses a turbocharged 3.0L diesel I-6 producing 261 hp and 457 lb.-ft. (620 Nm) – enough to provide it with an official 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds, 143-mph (230-km/h) top speed as well as combined consumption of 38.6 mpg (6.1 Nm).
The suspension of the X6 is based on the arrangement already used by the X5 with double wishbones up front and a five-link setup at the rear, with the latest incarnation of BMW’s Dynamic Damper Control system as standard. Buyers can option the new model with a so-called Adaptive M suspension Professional, which brings active roll bars and a rear-wheel-steer function known as Integral Active Steering.
There’s also an air suspension offering 3.1 ins. (79 mm) of ride height adjustment and automatic self-leveling as well as an off-road package for non-M models with four additional driving modes that BMW says have been specifically tuned for driving on snow, sand, gravel and rocks.
In a development already seen on the X5, the new X6 possesses a stiffer bodyshell that is claimed to help it better isolate road shock and secondary vibration for improved ride comfort and refinement.
BMW provides its latest SUV with a wide range of driver-assistance systems, including the latest incarnation of the collision and pedestrian warning with City Braking function, which can alert the driver when a cyclist is detected, as standard. As on the X5, active cruise control with a stop-and-go function is among a long list of options.