Road test: BMW X6 xDrive30d M Sport
Can the segment-defining X6 fend off a raft of new coupe-SUVs? Alex Grant finds out.
SECTOR Coupe-SUV PRICE £59,340-£63,840 FUEL 42.8-46.3mpg (WLTP) CO2 159-172g/km (NEDC Correlated)
Taste dictates whether it’s an accolade or not, but BMW can lay claim to inventing the coupé-SUV segment with the original X6 and – although it’s not a massive seller in the UK – the idea has caught on. Audi and Mercedes-Benz have rival products and, with traditional coupe sales flatlining as SUV demand continues to grow, it’s a useful niche to fill.
The demands are polar. Cars like this are either cleverly blending desirable coupé design with a tall SUV driving position, or they’re a disastrous cross-breed of SUV bulk and coupé space compromises. Luckily, for BMW, the X6 sits somewhere in the middle ground.
It’s a big car; five metres in length and two in width, like its sister product, the X5. The two SUVs share a platform and dashboard but diverge rear of the B pillar, the X6 (tolerably) compromising rear headroom, load space and optional third-row seating for a tapered roofline. There’s roughly a suitcase worth of extra luggage capacity beneath the load cover in an X5.
Size alone makes it a little unwieldy on British roads, but this is a surprisingly agile drive and doesn’t feel top-heavy either. We tested the UK best-seller, the 265hp six-cylinder diesel in M Sport guise, which certainly offers the pace and a throaty soundtrack befitting a coupé. Optional air suspension offered compliant ride quality, even on 22s, while the four-wheel drive system is rear-axle biased for authentic BMW handling. However, the X5 offers pretty much the same sure-footedness when driven with gusto.
Its biggest threat is growing competition. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are offering plug-in hybrids in this segment, and the latest X6 doesn’t move things on, counting only its optional illuminated grille as a unique selling point. Deal-breaker or deal-maker? It’s a matter of taste.
Fleet rating: 3/5