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2016 BMW X6: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 BMW X6 is a premium crossover with the currently trendy 4-door coupe styling. It's based on the same 5 Series-derived platform as the X5, but its design hinders rear headroom and cargo space -- and the base price is higher than the X5's. Despite all that, the X6 has proved sufficiently popular to enter into a second generation that debuted for the 2015 model year.

What makes the X6 special is that the design is undeniably distinct (and actually quite imposing), the cabin is appropriately upscale, the driving position is high, the engines are strong, and its on-road manners are typically BMW-wonderful. There's always a place in the automotive world for quality, and the X6 has it by the ton.

What's New for 2016?

A second smartphone can now be synced to Bluetooth. The top-line xDrive50i variant adds quad-zone climate control and a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with satellite radio to its roster of standard equipment.

What We Like

Smooth and powerful engines; top-notch interior craftsmanship; leading technology features; confident handling

What We Don't

Modest cargo capacity; pricier than the X5

How Much?

$60,795-$75,495

Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive sDrive35i packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission (with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters) is in every version. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the sDrive35i returns 18 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined.

The xDrive35i (BMW refers to its all-wheel-drive system as xDrive) has the same engine and nearly the same fuel economy, returning 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined.

The xDrive50i comes with a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 developing 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 BMW X6 comes in sDrive35i, xDrive35i and xDrive50i trim levels.

The base sDrive35i ($60,795) comes standard with 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED fog lights and taillights, a sunroof, a power lift gate, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming side mirrors, a digital instrument cluster, a power adjustable steering wheel with paddle shifters, driver memory settings, adjustable drive settings (Driving Dynamics Control), 10-way power front seats (heated) with driver's-side memory settings, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood trim, Bluetooth phone and audio, a USB port, a 9-speaker audio system, navigation and BMW's iDrive infotainment system with a widescreen 10.2-in display.

The xDrive35i ($63,095) is similarly equipped and adds all-wheel drive.

The xDrive50i ($75,495) upgrades to the V8 engine, a hands-free power tailgate with a foot sensor, keyless entry/ignition, 20-way multicontour front seats, quad-zone automatic climate control, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system and a rearview camera.

Some of the standard equipment in the xDrive50i can be optioned in the lower models. As usual, BMW has an extensive list of extras. Highlights include LED headlights, an aero body kit, 20-in wheels, sport-tuned adaptive dampers with a rear air suspension, a self-parking system, power-closing doors, a leather-covered dashboard, ceramic-trimmed controls, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, Bang & Olufsen audio and a rear entertainment system.

Cargo space behind the rear seats measures 20.5 cu ft., a modest figure for a large crossover SUV. Folding down the 40/20/40-split rear seats opens that up to 53.9 cu ft., another humble measurement. The 4-door Volkswagen Golf compact hatchback has a similar amount of space.

Safety

The X6 comes standard with stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (with automatic collision preparation) and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain).

The optional Driver Assistant Plus package includes a head-up display, a 360-degree parking camera system, a blind spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning with low-speed automatic braking. Adding adaptive cruise control also brings the forward-collision warning system with driver alerts.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has put the X6 through their crash-test programs yet.

Behind the Wheel

The X6 largely shares the X5's dashboard and control layout; that's a good thing. The digital instrument cluster is crisp and comprehensive, with a rapid refresh rate that enables the needles to keep up no matter how quickly the vehicle is accelerating. BMW has created a vaguely coupelike feel with the X6's slightly lower seating position, but there's still a commanding view of the road, along with world-class comfort and support with the available multicontour front seats.

The iDrive infotainment system has improved steadily over the years. The X6 gets the top grade with a beautiful widescreen display, navigation, hard-drive music storage and an advanced controller with touchpad functionality.

Rear-seat comfort in the current X6 is significantly better than in the first generation; BMW made it a priority to accommodate larger passengers in the back. The bottom cushions have a pleasant upward tilt that provides welcome thigh support, while headroom is quite good considering the X6's fastback roofline.

The X6 is inescapably large, although BMW's engineers have worked their usual magic with the steering and suspension. For a vehicle weighing between 4,600 and 5,200 pounds, it feels astonishingly nimble, with precise handling and excellent body control. Even though the ride is reasonably supple with the standard suspension, the optional adaptive dampers bring an excellent blend of comfort and sporty composure.

The xDrive50i's twin-turbo V8 hurls the X6 from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in just 4.6 seconds; it feels right to have a profoundly powerful engine in such a heavy vehicle. Still, the 6-cylinder is no slouch and achieves significantly better fuel economy.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW X5 -- It's only natural to compare the X6 to its sibling, and the X5 has a lot going for it, including relatively generous cargo capacity and an optional third-row seat.

2016 Infiniti QX70 -- The QX has concept-car looks and optional V8 power in a crossover body style.

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport -- The Range Rover Sport offers a lot of Range Rover luxury appointments and equipment, but in a smaller package.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe -- Essentially an M-Class, the GLE Coupe is redesigned, renamed and aiming to get in on the X6's act.

2016 Porsche Macan -- The Macan is smaller than the X6, but the driving experience is exceptional -- and it has an attractive interior, too.

Used Porsche Cayenne -- Used examples of the more powerful Cayenne variants are similar in price to a new X6. This combination of practicality and performance is rare.

Autotrader's Advice

The xDrive50i's engine is absolutely worth the test drive, and this model comes with more equipment. But the 6-cylinder version with a few good options might still be enough for most people.

Find a BMW X6 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 BMW X6 xDrive35i
Used 2016 BMW X6
$50,991
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Used 2016 BMW X6 xDrive35i
Used 2016 BMW X6
$48,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 BMW X6 xDrive35i
Used 2016 BMW X6
$41,480
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 BMW X6: New Car Review - Autotrader