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BMW X6 road test report

BMW X6

The X6 Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) is for drivers who like the high up seating position of the X5 but still want a classic sporty BMW drive and don’t really need the practicality. It may be odd to look at but given its huge dimensions, the X6 is remarkably agile. It's also beautifully built and very fast. The X6 is an X5 with attitude.

Road Test Reports Says4 star rating
A front-facing image of the BMW X6

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Performance Performance - 4 stars

The X6 has three turbo-charged engines to choose from - two 3litre diesels and a 4.4litre V8 petrol. The top-spec version, the 35D, is an absolute gem, it’s a six-cylinder, twin-turbo number, making 286 big, tough diesel horses. It sounds great, tough and meaningful, and it pulls like a powerful diesel engine. Try 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, a top speed of close to 150mph and fuel economy that still tops 25mpg. It really does feel as if you’re driving a sports car and the twin turbo diesel and with the engine note it feels a bit like driving around with a six pack. The single turbo-charged 3litre diesel is also impressive and does 34.4mpg.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

As soon as you’re on the move you’ll understand why they call it a Sport Activity, because this is one very active BMW, even though it weighs more than two tons. If you thought the X5 handled well for a big 4x4, the X6 is in a different league, thanks to its improved aerodynamics and a host of hi-tech gadgetry. The X6 not only gets a new four-wheel-drive system, but also something called Dynamic Performance Control, which detects either over or under-steer in a bend at speed, as well as improving driving stability at all speeds. What all this means is that you can go round corners as if you’re stuck to the road, so people think that you are a really great driver.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 4 stars

The interior is smooth, clutter-free and feels like it will last a thousand years. You’ll again recognise elements of the X5 in the cabin layout. But it’s a much racier affair, with the individual rear seats and the low roof giving the interior much more drama. Rear passengers get proper chairs rather than a bench seat and there's plenty of space, though it is designed for just two in the back, not three. The driver enjoys a head-up display of the speedo, nifty steering wheel buttons to control the six-speed automatic gearbox and a lofty view ahead. From behind, the view is not so good. The narrow rear window spoils visibility but it looks great from the outside.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 5 stars

The X6 is packed with the latest electronic driver's aids and comes with front, side and curtain airbags. The four-wheel-drive system also provides superb traction and masses of grip, so you should never be caught out by slippery conditions. Its desirability will no doubt make the X6 a prime target for criminals, but BMWs have an excellent reputation for thwarting thieves.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 3 stars

The X6 is slightly longer and wider than the X5 but is a tad lower. Its boot is also a bit smaller, it’s wide and long, but the swooping roofline means it's quite shallow. Also, the load lip is high and awkward, and there's only a singe hatch opening, rather than a more useful split tailgate. There's plenty of leg- and elbowroom for rear passengers, but that sloping roof means headroom isn't great. Small rear windows add to the rather claustrophobic feel.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

The X6 is all about the driving, which is why BMW will have no difficulty selling the X6, even with prices ranging from £41,995 to £44,135. But like most BMWs, resale values means you’ll get a fair chunk of your money back. BMW's Efficient Dynamics system, which includes the latest high-pressure fuel-injection system and brake regeneration (which recharges the battery by using energy created when braking), help reduce emissions and boost fuel economy. The results give the X6 a significant running-cost advantage over similar premium cars from the likes of Porsche and Range Rover.

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