By Jennifer Geiger on June 6, 2014
Competes with: Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne
Looks like: Similar to the X5's updated front end, the new X6 wears a chunkier front bumper and revised 3-Series-style grille
Drivetrain: 300-hp, twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder; 445-hp, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8; eight-speed automatic transmission; and rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: late 2014
BMW recently redesigned its X5 crossover, so it's no surprise that the related X6 is also getting an update for 2015. The swoopy "sports activity coupe" gets freshened styling, a new rear-wheel-drive model and a tweaked version of last year's V-8.
BMW says the new X6 wears "an even more extroverted design," which to us looks like an exaggeration of the current model with a larger, beefed-up front bumper and more chiseled lines. BMW's kidney grille, and the model's circular headlights and LED fog lights, are again front and center. The SUV also retains its sweeping, coupelike profile but adds more contoured body side lines for a more athletic stance.
Two exterior colors are new this year — Dark Olive and Flamenco Red Metallic — and aluminum running boards are newly optional.
Inside, a subtle design update and richer materials add elegance for 2015. Interior updates match the X5's and include a large range of new wood and aluminum trim options. A 10.2-inch infotainment screen, controlled by BMW's iDrive, is standard; a power moonroof that's 5 inches longer than last year's model is also standard. A foot-activated power tailgate is a new option.
Like the updated X5, the 2015 X6 welcomes its first rear-wheel-drive model to the lineup. The X6 sDrive35i gets power from last year's 300-horsepower, twin-turbocharged six-cylinder. It joins the carryover X6 xDrive35i and the X6 xDrive50i. The latter uses what BMW says is a revised version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8. It makes 445-hp this year, up from 400-hp last year. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
BMW says the new X6 uses more lightweight aluminum and plastic components outside, which should equate to weight savings over the previous generation, but official EPA fuel economy numbers haven't been released. No word yet on the high-performance M version either.
Several active safety systems are available this year: active blind spot detection; lane departure warning; the auto parallel parking assist system; pedestrian and collision warning system with braking; active cruise control with a stop-go function, which allows the driver to choose and maintain a safe following distance at speeds up to 130 mph; and the Driving Assistant Plus system, which will automatically brake the vehicle if a crash is imminent.
The 2015 BMW X6 will again be made in Spartanburg, S.C.; prices will be announced closer to the vehicle's late-2014 on-sale date. The 2014 X6 starts at $61,725, including destination, but that's for the standard all-wheel-drive xDrive35i model; the new rear-wheel-drive sDrive35i model will likely come in lower.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer