The third-generation BMW X6 was launched today, with a brand new design and a couple of big changes happening, not only in terms of design. The new model comes at a time when the 'Sports Activity Coupe' segment is getting crowded. The BMW X6 basically invented the niche when it was originally launched but now faces competition from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and even Porsche, all brands launching Coupe versions of their most popular SUVs.
The new X6 is 26 millimetres longer than the outgoing model (now 4,935 mm), 15 millimetres wider (2,004 mm) and 6 millimetres lower (1,696 mm). The wheelbase increased by 42 mm to 2,975 millimetres. That gives you an idea of what BMW is trying to do here. The Bavarian brand is betting a lot on sportiness, trying to make the X6 a more agile car, by getting it closer to the ground and making it wider. The design is brand new and, unlike on older models, it's quite different than the one on its more practical brother, the X5.
The front end has a new take on the kidney grilles, that looks like the one used on the 8 Series, if you ask me. The grilles can also be illuminated now, if you're willing to pay for that. The headlamps have a similar style to the ones on the X5 and hey have X-shaped elements inside, splitting the lenses, a nice touch.
BMW also offers the optional xOffroad package for the X6 for the first time. The xOffroad package is meant to be the choice people go for if they want to actually take the X6 off road. The cars will come with two-axle air suspension, underguard element at the front end and electronically controlled rear differential lock. It also includes special graphics in the instrument cluster and Control Display. Four modes can be selected at the press of a button to optimize the vehicle’s setup for driving over snow, sand, gravel or rocks.
The cabin is roughly the same as on the other new SUVs in BMW's range. The main difference is the lack of space in the back, but people under 6-ft should be comfortable back there. The Bowers & Wilkins sound system is still on the table. The new panoramic roof is larger and you get the BMW Live Cockpit Professional display and iDrive 7 as well. Multifunction seats with massage function for the driver and front passenger are available, four-zone automatic climate control, cooled and heated cup holders, Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge, Ambient Air package for interior fragrancing all available as options.
There's also an extensive range of driver assistance systems available, depending on where you live. Cruise Control with braking function comes as standard. Driving Assistant Professional – including steering and lane control assistant with Traffic jam assistant, lane keeping assistant with active side collision protection, Evasion Assistant and rear collision warning, crossing traffic warning, road priority warning, Lane Change Warning and wrong-way driving warning systems – available as an option. Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function also optional.
The new X6 will be available with four engine choices at first, depending on the market, of course. European customers will have two diesel and two petrol choices. The xDrive30d and M50d models will burn diesel while the xDrive40i and M50i models will be running on petrol. The US customers won't get access to diesel choices. Production is slated to begin in Spartanburg, South Carolina this year with the first X6 models being delivered in November this year.