One day, we might all look at the 2019 BMW X6 as an odd kind of vehicle. It’s a premium midsize crossover/SUV made less practical by a sloping, fastback roof. Or perhaps we’ll see it as the point where the timeline of personal transportation took a particular direction. Where style was allowed to take precedence over practicality, even in something as functional as an SUV. Between then and now, though, let’s see the X6 as a rare beast in a small niche.
The design of the X6 is undeniably distinct and actually quite imposing, but its roofline hinders rear headroom and cargo space. And its base price is higher than that of the X5’s, its sensibly boxy sibling.
On the plus side, the cabin is appropriately upscale, the driving position is suitably elevated, engines are strong, and 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. Well, by a couple of tons, at least.
What’s New for 2019?
Some previously optional driver aids — such as forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and low-speed automatic braking, and lane-departure warning — are now standard under the umbrella term of Active Driving Assistant, along with blind spot monitoring and speed limit information. Apple CarPlay smartphone integration also becomes standard. And there’s been a reshuffle of optional equipment. See the 2019 BMW X6 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Smooth and powerful engines
- Top-notch interior craftsmanship
- Great technology features
- Confident handling
What We Don’t
- Modest cargo capacity
- Pricier than the X5
The rear-wheel-drive sDrive35i packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the sDrive35i returns 18 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in combined driving.
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 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.
An 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard in every version.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 BMW X6 is available in sDrive35i, xDrive35i and xDrive50i forms. A high-performance X6 M version is reviewed separately.
The sDrive35i ($64,545) comes standard with the aforementioned trapezoidal tailpipes, plus 19-in alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED fog lights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a sunroof, a power lift gate, front/rear parking sensors, self-dimming side mirrors, a digital instrument cluster, a power-adjustable steering wheel with paddle shifters, driver memory settings, adjustable drive settings, heated/10-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings for the driver, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood trim, Apple CarPlay, Active Driving Assistant, blind spot monitoring, speed limit information, Bluetooth phone/audio, USB port, HD radio, an auxiliary audio input, a 9-speaker audio system, navigation and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-in touchscreen.
The xDrive35i ($66,845) is similarly equipped and adds AWD.
These two models with the 6-cylinder engine are eligible for a new Convenience package that includes satellite radio, quad-zone climate control and keyless entry/ignition. Selecting the M Sport cosmetic package brings these features, as well.
The xDrive50i ($79,295) upgrades to the V8 engine, a hands-free powered lift gate with a foot sensor, keyless entry/ignition, 20-way multi-contour front seats, quad-zone automatic climate control and a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound system.
As usual, BMW has an extensive list of extras. The Premium package comes with a partially autonomous parking feature, a 360-degree camera system, a head-up display, wireless charging and Wi-Fi.
The Executive package builds on the Premium package by adding adaptive full LED headlights with automatic high beams, soft-closing doors and manual sun shades at the rear.
Options include 20-in alloy wheels, sport-tuned adaptive dampers with a rear air suspension, leather-covered dashboard, ventilated front seats, a sport steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, a rear entertainment setup, ceramic-trimmed controls, adaptive cruise control and night vision.
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.
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).
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have put the X6 through their crash test programs.
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 coupe like 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 multi-contour front seats.
The iDrive infotainment system has improved steadily over the years. The X6 has a beautiful widescreen display, navigation, hard-drive music storage and an advanced controller with touchpad functionality.
Rear-seat comfort is enhanced by lower cushions with a pleasant upward tilt providing welcome thigh support, while headroom is quite good considering the X6’s fastback roofline.
The X6 is inescapably huge, 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 0-to-60 mph 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
2019 BMW X5 — It’s only reasonable to compare the X6 to its sensible sibling, and the X5 has a lot going for it, including relatively generous cargo capacity. An all-new generation debuts for 2019.
2019 Infiniti QX70 — The QX70 has concept-car looks and optional V8 power in a crossover body style.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe — A natural rival to the X6 and with arguably more agreeable styling.
2019 Porsche Macan — Smaller than the X6, but the driving experience is exceptional. It boasts an attractive interior, as well.
As we just mentioned, a new generation of the X5 is upon us. And the X5 is the foundation for the X6. The current X6, however, is still using the previous generation’s underpinnings. Let’s assume there will be another generation of the X6 coming soon. The immediate question is whether to wait for that model or take the plunge right now. If it’s the latter, why not go all the way and get the V8-powered version? It’s not particularly sensible, but the X6 as a whole isn’t either. Find a BMW X6 for sale