BMW X6 xDRIVE 40i Hits The Crossover Coupe Sweet Spot
The sleeker coupe version of the X5 ticks several good boxes.
Accepting that crossover coupes are outselling their SUV siblings, BMW's X6 is playing nothing but the hits during its performance. As the middle of the road trim level, the xDrive 40i gets all-wheel-drive, BMW's splendid 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo engine, and a 48V mild hybrid system that gives a little extra punch. The X6's coupe body gives up a bit of cargo space and rear seat headroom versus its X5 sibling in exchange for better looks, while fortunately avoiding the massive grille treatment other BMW models are receiving.
Not as flashy as the more powerful M variant, and not as stylish as the competition from Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes, the X6 sneaks into the mid-sized crossover coupe class without getting too much attention. After testing all sorts of German crossover coupes in the past year, it was time to see how BMW's offering scored.
Covering The Numbers
Under the hood, BMW gives the X6 xDrive 40i its tried and true twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that produces 335 horsepower from 5,500 - 6,500 RPM and 321 lb-ft (435 Nm) of torque across a big plateau from 1,500 - 5,200 RPM. Paired with BMW's eBoost 48V mild hybrid system, the X6 gets a little extra electrified shove to give drivers linear power delivery on demand. Through an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive, the X4 xDrive 40i can leap from 0-60 MPH in a respectable 5.3 seconds on its way to an electronically limited 130 MPH top speed.
With seating for five in its crossover coupe cabin, the X6 is 195 inches long, 79 wide, 66 tall, and boasts a 117-inch wheelbase, and weighs in at a somewhat light for its size 4,855 pounds (2,202 kilos). At a base price of $66,600, while going easy on the options list, the Mineral White Metallic xDrive 40i X6 I tested rang up an MSRP of $72,020. In a class that includes the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, Audi Q7, Jaguar F-Pace, and the entry level Porsche Cayenne Coupe, the X6's price is right in the middle of the field.
A Zippy Errand Runner
As opposed to many crossovers that flood the market with bland dynamics, the BMW X6 sticks to its "ultimate driving" roots, with nicely weighted steering, agile handling, and smooth weight transfer when you're hopping around town. Damping is a bit on the firm side, even in the comfort drive mode, but the reasonably sized sidewalls on 20-inch wheels help absorb harshness too many manufacturers are inflicting upon drivers with massive wheels and tiny sidewalls. Despite packing all-wheel-drive and good ground clearance, don't take the X6 off road, as its all-wheel-drive system is more intended for duty on paved surfaces.
In sacrificing storage space for better looks, you'll still be able to stash away plenty of shopping bags and luggage in the X6's coupe-shaped rear hatch, and there's an additional storage bin hidden beneath the lifting floor. Two rear seat occupants will be comfortable, and the center seat is probably best for kids. BMW was smart to simply place the USB-C charging ports in the back of the front seats, for easy access by rear seat passengers.
Seating position is spot-on, leaving you sitting just high enough up, and without feeling like you're towering above the world in a big truck. Standard 16-way power front seats are comfortable for long drives, and induce the perfect amount of lateral padding for any spirited driving manners. I also love the shade of brown leather selected for my tester. Figuring out which ambient lighting theme best matched the brown leather was one first world problem I encountered, but I like playing with that feature.
Cockpit layout is tidy and cool, with all the controls offering easy usability. There's a good blend of leather, cool silver (plastic) trim, and black upper panels to give the interior theme the right amount of darkness. As opposed to the lower level M235i Gran Coupe I reviewed earlier this year, the X6's interior is more upmarket, with better fit and finish, and a more tidy layout throughout the cabin.
Just Sporty Enough To Please A Driving Enthusiast
Using the Sports Activity Coupe naming convention, this BMW has to possess a sporting behavior to keep drivers happy, and the X6 xDrive 40i is more fun to drive than I anticipated. On paper, 335 horsepower doesn't impress, but the eBoost mild hybrid assistance gives you buttery smooth torque at any RPM, and allows you easy passing and quicker sprints on an open back road. The X6 could use more juice to please my power-fueled cravings, but for the average driver the crossover coupe is quick enough, and there are faster models available in the BMW X6 lineup to please the enthusiast.
Configure the Driving Dynamics Control with your ideal setup for the engine and suspension to have more fun behind the wheel, and appreciate that BMW allows you individual custom modes in the eco and sport settings. For my daily driving, I set up an eco pro mode for the engine with sharper steering and suspension settings, to save a little fuel, and my individual sport mode was configured with softer damping with everything else in the fun setup.
When in the sportier drive modes, there's a noticeable yet positive weight increase felt through the almost too thick steering wheel. Equipped with a set of 275/45/20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires, the X6 offers good grip without being too harsh, thanks to taller sidewalls and rubber that isn't obsessed with peak performance. Credit the adaptive suspension for coping with any changes in driving behavior and road comfort, as it easily deals with your adjusting driving mood or bumpier pavement.
Given a test on a windy road, the X6 carried its weight effortlessly, and while I could sense there was plenty of ground clearance beneath the crossover coupe and a hint of body roll, it made quick work of any sweeper I tossed it into. In tighter corners, the not too grippy tires and weight would come into play, but this isn't an M model, so I cut the X6 plenty of slack.
Keeping up on the tech front isn't easy these days, and I appreciate that BMW gives the X6 a full suite of advanced features without making the cockpit overly complicated. iDrive may not be my favorite infotainment system, but with a 12.3-inch touchscreen it's making improvements, and the setup is much easier to use in the X6. With wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enabled, BMW reduces clutter around the center console while wirelessly charing your mobile device.
I did experience some radio interference and sporadic drops of the wireless CarPlay system, but it would quickly recover and get back to playing my music. If any passengers want to charge their phones, stock up on USB-C cables, as that's all you get inside the X6, and I'm happy more manufactures are stepping up to better tech on this front. BMW's infotainment screen can be customized to include several data points and entertainment details, which is a nice feature if you aren't using one of the wireless mobile device connectivity options.
Ambient lighting systems are becoming common in any lineup, and I like how subtle the BMW strips of light are incorporated throughout the cabin, with a big selection of moods and colors to suit your tastes. BMW's Live Cockpit Pro gives your instrument cluster more details for music you're listening to, a comprehensive trip computer, and integrates the satellite navigation system between your speedometer and tachometer (if you so choose), but I think it adds to much clutter to an already complicated gauge pod. Go with a more simplified setup for your daily driving, and you'll be happy. Besides, the big touchscreen can give you plenty of info on demand.
Goldilocks Found Her Crossover Coupe
BMW is making it easier to select the right crossover for any buyer, and the X6 in its xDrive 40i trim is hits a sweet spot in the segment. It's fun enough to drive, offers plenty of space, and pleases the tech-minded user. The X6 may not be as cool inside and out as the Mercedes GLE, nor as fun as a Porsche Cayenne, but it's designed to cover plenty of bases for several drivers, and I think BMW did a good job.
If you want more performance, bust If you crave more performance from the X6, bust out your checkbook and opt for one of BMW's M crossover options. As a performance-focused driver, I'm surprised with how well the X6 handles itself while being a good all-around crossover coupe, and I think most drivers will agree.