BMW X6: comfort comes first
On the test, we have a BMW X6 in the back of a G06. I will say right away that this X6 is no longer the one we are all used to. How "wrong", we will find out in this test. Will true BMW fans refuse it? Has it become a full-fledged alternative to Mercedes-Benz or Audi? How is it better than its predecessor, and how is it inferior to it?
After the transition to the new CLAR platform, the BMW X5 and X6 settings vector has shifted significantly towards comfort. But it was precisely the sporty settings that BMW cars always differed from. Of course, this could not but affect the handling of the car. How are things going with M-drive now?
If for the BMW X5 in terms of design there are still questions about the too wide “nostrils" of the radiator grille, then in the case of the X6 for me personally, everything is clear. This is a beautiful car. I will say even more – stunningly beautiful.
The rear end is the hardest part (in terms of design) for coupe-style crossovers. But in this case, it seems to me, the Bavarians did a great job! Someone may even note that it turned out very aggressive, but I like it even more. But I didn’t like the drawing of rims here. It feels like these wheels are generally borrowed from another car.
The test crossover is equipped with an external M-package. As with the Mercedes-Benz GLE adorned with AMG exterior additions, the car would have looked much simpler without these decorative elements. The 20-inch rims don’t look too big: even with relatively high tire profiles, the wheels look very "out of place". And for sometimes not the best Ukrainian roads, this combination is even winning.
This BMW X6 costs an incredible €94,000. But this equipment is not the maximum. For example, the base (for the X6 model) 3.0-liter 30d diesel engine is installed here. Yes, our car already has air suspension, M package and laser head optics. At the same time, there is no rear axle thruster, top-end leather trim, night vision system, and some other expensive options. But the X6 boasts a luminous false radiator grille, which looks very impressive at night. For this crossover, it is available for 600 euros, but there is no way to equip the X5 with such an element.
The laser headlights that our X6 is equipped with shine well, so there are no complaints about them. The cost of this option is about 1500 euros. But here it is important to understand that this technology manifests itself best when driving on the highway at high speed. If you most often move in the city, I don’t see the need for laser headlights.
Engines and dynamics
I already mentioned that the engine of the test X6 is the base one. However, the fact that something more productive can be installed here becomes clear by the amount of space in the engine compartment. On the other hand, unlike the X5, units with a volume of less than 3 liters cannot be ordered here.
Our 30d modification is equipped with a B50D30 series motor. This is an inline six-cylinder engine with an aluminum block, chain drive, direct injection, intercooler and hydraulic lifters. Peak engine power – 265 liters. s., torque – 620 Nm. It provides the X6 with the fastest acceleration to 100 km / h among all competitors with 3.0-liter diesel engines (in basic boosts) – 6.5 s (our test confirmed the result declared by the manufacturer). Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d accelerates a little slower – in 6.6 s. The Audi Q8 crossover in the 50 TDI version in theory needs only 6.3 seconds, but in fact the Audi accelerates in almost 7 seconds.
As for other engines, the 40d version is equipped with exactly the same engine, but with two turbines (the result is a return of 340 hp). But the 50d version already has four turbines at its disposal (on the same cylinder block). This motor produces 400 hp. c. Today it is the most powerful six-cylinder diesel engine (among passenger cars). But, unfortunately, this 400-horsepower unit lacks reliability.
The B50D30 engine has appeared relatively recently in the list of BMW power plants. It was first tested on the 7 Series in 2015, then it was equipped with the 5 Series, and now it is installed on many cars of the German brand. Of the characteristic features of the engine, one can single out the presence of two EGR valves (usually one is installed), which can cause significant – double – problems when refueling with low-quality fuel.
But thanks to new technologies, this 3.0-liter diesel engine pulls perfectly, and it consumes 10% less fuel than the previous generation of engines (N57). In addition, the declared resource of this motor is pleasantly impressive – 300 thousand km !. The only condition (it is worth repeating again) is to refuel with exceptionally high-quality fuel.
The gearbox is an eight-speed Steptronic automatic (from ZF). The platform of the X6 is rear-wheel drive, and the front axle is connected using a clutch located in front.
How the car behaves in extreme conditions, we tried to check with the help of slips in a skid. Of course, many buyers are not going to do something like this at all. But I’m sure most of them just want to know about their car’s capabilities so they can enjoy that potential or just be able to tell their friends about it.
The test car is equipped with everything so that – in theory – it can be put into a controlled skid. Firstly, the engine produces a sufficient amount of torque over a wide rev range. Secondly, the main drive here is rear: torque is transmitted to the rear wheels constantly, to the front – when the electronics consider it necessary. Thirdly, this crossover is equipped with a rear locking differential (which in BMW is called the M-differential).
Did it work out that way? Unfortunately, no matter how we tried to break the rear axle into sliding, the clutch was blocked, and the car prevented all our attempts. But this continued until the clutch overheated. The electronics then shut down the overheated node. And only after the clutch "surrendered", we were able to prove that the current generation X6 and drift are still not so distant stories.
After switching to a new platform, the X6 has become more comfortable, and I only welcome such changes. In my opinion, the sports habits of a car are needed according to the mood, but you always want a comfortable behavior on the road. Especially when it is not about some kind of coupe, but about a crossover for every day. Like the new BMW X5, the X6 also received a full air suspension. After that, both cars became significantly softer on the go. Of course, the X6 is not yet such an “omnivorous” car as, for example, the Lexus RX, but now this crossover absolutely suits me in terms of comfort while driving on city roads of not the best quality. Even despite the complete set of tires RunFlat.
Now I can confidently say that the current X5 and X6 have already become as comfortable as Mercedes-Benz, and more comfortable than Audi (not to mention Porsche). Interestingly, the air suspension in this model can only be ordered with base motors. But in versions with the “50” nameplate, you can only get an M-suspension on stiffer springs (which I would not recommend doing). “Pneumatics” in Sport mode are also quite assembled here, and you can be sure that there is plenty of tenacity in such a suspension. And even more: such a running gear is enough not only for the base motor. And the more powerful 40d version is also easy to get along with.
The weak link in this whole bunch is the steering wheel more than the suspension. It is the steering settings (and not the chassis) that will make you move more calmly. With active maneuvering, I lack the heaviness in the steering wheel, and I guess the position of the wheels more from body roll than from the resistance on the steering wheel. As a result, there is absolutely no desire to go somehow aggressively; there is a desire to deactivate the Sport mode and calmly roll yourself. If we compare the current X6 with the previous one (F16), it can be argued that that car was much sharper and more exciting to drive. But the price for such pleasure was a stiff and shaky suspension, which at times simply bothered with its uncompromising nature.
Now I state the fact that the current X6 can compete with Mercedes-Benz and Audi precisely as a car for those who are primarily looking for comfort, softness and luxury. The sports niche now remains only for Porsche.
However, it is worth clarifying that I mean precisely the “civilian” versions of all these models. Because there is also M, AMG, Turbo, RS and so on, and this is a completely different segment and a special element.
I liked the noise isolation in the BMW X6. Its level is very decent, but in fairness it should be noted that the test car is equipped with an additional soundproofing package. This option includes double side windows and a thickened windshield. If we compare the Shumka with competitors, then in BMW it is absolutely not inferior to the same Mercedes-Benz or Audi.
Since we are talking about sounds, I must say that the sound of this engine is just fine. No 3.0-litre diesel sounds like a BMW engine. The only competitor in the “feast for the ears” category could only be the Maserati Levante, but mechanical shutters are installed there. As for the BMW, this sound is available exclusively as an option called "M-exhaust".
We did not dare to check the BMW X6 offroad. Yes, and there is no need for this. The off-road environment is not the element of BMW. On the other hand, for those who want to give their X6 an off-road look, there is an option to order an optional xLine package. In this case, the car will receive unpainted plastic in the lower part of the body and lining on the arches.
Behavior on the road
The current BMW X6 is a kind of Gran Turismo. It is customary to call this name powerful, fast and, of course, beautiful cars in which sports features, being really important, should in no way interfere with enjoying the journey and the road. In these cars, you need to be able to keep a high speed of movement confidently and safely.
In the current X6, everything is implemented that way. At high highway speeds, this crossover just “floats”. At the same time, there are no vertical bouncing or swinging. There is also no overly sharp steering or nervousness in behavior that would prevent you from relaxing. And the return of even the base motor is enough for the eyes.
The steering and suspension settings are also balanced enough to drive smoothly and confidently, easily overtake and maneuver smoothly at speeds in excess of 200 km/h. But “playing checkers” in city traffic or taking turns sideways is no longer about the current BMW X6.
Our car is equipped with more efficient M-brakes. Front mounted discs with a diameter of 395 mm (which is 5 cm more than standard mechanisms), which are difficult to fit in 20-inch wheels. Of course, we measured (already traditionally) how effectively such brakes can stop a car from a speed of 100 km / h.
Previously, we carried out such measurements, and some cars surprised us unpleasantly. For example, the Lexus RX stopped at 42m, which is a very poor result today (any distance exceeding 40m is already considered unsafe). Well, our BMW X6 with M-brakes achieved an absolutely mediocre result of 38.5 m. The expected figure was much less, especially since we are not talking about standard brakes.
Salon and trunk
Previously, I have already tested several BMW cars with updated interiors. Among them are the new X5, X7 and 8 Series. And now – X6. So I’m already starting to get used to the design of Bavarian cars, and more importantly, I’m starting to like her. For some time I had to get used to the unusual dashboard (which, of course, was initially associated with Chery cars), but that is in the past. And I have already come to terms with the “world domination” of the BMW multimedia system. Otherwise, there were no special complaints about BMW cars, so there was nothing to complain about.
The front panel is qualitatively sheathed in leather, the line on it is even. The carbon inserts and black ceiling look great (although they cost a hefty 1500 euros). There is a small remark to the leather upholstery of the seats. Here they are covered in Vernasca leather. Yes, it’s softer than the rather rough Dakota we’ve used before, plus Vernasca feels closer to Nappa (which is in a very different price range). But personally I liked Dakota more.
What really appeals to me is the amount of soft materials in the interior of this BMW. In this regard, Mercedes-Benz should learn from the Bavarians.
The buttons on the front panel are comfortable, the M-steering wheel causes exceptionally positive feelings, it is really pleasant to control the multimedia system. There are, however, comments on the build quality. For example, some trim elements are fixed with tiny, but still gaps. There are such shortcomings in places associated with additional elements (for example, with decorative lighting; apparently, these details are still “grinding in”).
Despite the almost complete technical identity of the BMW X6 and X5, the difference in fit is noticeable significantly. Armchairs in the "six" engineers placed a little lower. This is done to make the landing seem more “driving” to buyers than in the X5th. In addition, this position of the seats leaves more space in height, and tall drivers will no longer rest their heads on the ceiling. On the other hand, those who liked the landing in the "five", the configuration of the position of the driver’s seat and steering wheel in the X6 may not seem so convenient.
The seats installed in the test car are optional “comfortable”. Their cost is 1500 euros. For the same money, you can get M-chairs, which have a different design, but the same mechanisms; their distinctive feature is more developed lateral support and a rigid headrest.
The basic seats of the X6, called “sports”, can be even more comfortable for a tall driver and passenger due to a different angle of inclination, and in addition, lateral support is most pronounced in them. So if the lack of ventilation and massage is not critical for you, you can safely opt for the basic option.
Due to the “flattened” proportions of the car, the interior here seems wider than in the X5. And if, after finding a comfortable fit, you can freely place both hands on the armrests on the left and right, you will find another nice bonus in the form of heating these armrests. True, this option costs a lot – 900 euros.
Of the pleasant features, it is worth noting cup holders with heating, cooling and lighting and wireless Apple CarPlay (which, thanks to the new firmware, works flawlessly). A USB Type-C port is hidden in the armrest, which gives out all 3A, and in a niche on the central tunnel there is also a traditional USB port that gives out 2A, which is quite enough for normal charging of the device.
As a result, the design, materials and ergonomics in the BMW X6 receive an excellent rating from me. Comparing the interior of this generation of crossover (which is only worth the orange backlight at night!) With the previous generation means to consider cars as if from different eras. But there is one "but". There was less space in the cabin of the previous X6, and formally this can be considered its weak side. But it was precisely this feature that made the interior of the previous X6 more comfortable.
There is nothing for tall passengers to do in the back row. If your height is above 185 cm, then you are guaranteed to rest your knees on the backs of the front seats. In the Audi Q8, for example, there is much more space in the back. I still don’t understand how the engineers from Ingolstadt managed to make the second row in the Audi so spacious.
The backs of the second row in the X6 are not adjustable in slope (as in the same Q8), but the seats themselves are soft. But the upholstery, unlike the front seats, without perforation. Separate climate control is available for rear passengers, and heating can also be ordered as an option. In fairness, it should be noted that the main competitors also do not offer much space and comfort on the back sofa. The already mentioned Audi Q8 is an exception: it has no equal in these parameters.
In the trunk of this crossover, you can put a fairly voluminous luggage (although not the same as in the X5). The first impression of this compartment is misleading, because it seems that due to the coupe-like proportions, the height of the trunk may not be enough. But it is worth looking into the niche under the floor (which, like in the previous generation, is equipped with a pneumatic closer), and you immediately understand the real volume of the compartment.
It’s nice that the top shelf is rigid, and you can put something heavy on it (this solution is much more convenient than the flimsy curtains in most SUVs). It is also convenient that you can lower the level of the rear axle using the button on the trunk, which activates the air suspension. The trunk lid, of course, is equipped with an electric drive.
In the end, it is worth mentioning another very practical feature – the ability to display the car in real time. It is very useful when you are moving in tight spaces at low speeds. The display shows a summed image from several cameras, processed so that you can see obstacles ahead, but only from a height. It will allow you not to miscalculate the distance while parking. In addition, from this functionality there is also an automatic parking attendant, who must independently find a suitable parking space. But you need to be careful with this function, because there are still some flaws in its work.
A test drive of this generation of the BMW X6 showed me that the crossover in the back of the G06 is really not the one we are all used to. Drive on the BMW X6 is no longer incredibly emotional and vibrant (thanks to the sportier settings of the previous version). True BMW fans may even be disappointed. The “consolation” can be the chic appearance of the crossover (which he could not refuse before). I repeat once again: I believe that among cars with a similar body type, the X6 looks the best (and, let me remind you, the competitors are Cayenne Coupe, GLE Coupe, Audi Q8 and even Maserati Levante).
If you like a comfortable and measured ride with the ability to press the pedal to the floor at any time and feel the thoroughbred roar of the engine, then this generation X6 is for you. And in addition, you get a really good interior and polished functionality of the multimedia system. The main thing (and now I have no doubt about it) is that the current generation of the Bavarian crossover will easily charm those buyers who, yesterday, were ready to look towards only Mercedes-Benz or Audi. That’s because the X6 is really not what it used to be.