As for the success, with nearly 250 000 units sold worldwide and nearly 3 000 cruising around local shores, it certainly proved the motoring press wrong. Now in its second generation I recently had the opportunity to sample the new X6.
You might be as confused as I was when you first see the new car; it could be mistaken for a facelift as the only noticeable change is in its more angular rear-end design. However, the X6 is a new car based on a tweaked version of the new X5 platform, which also makes it up to 40kg lighter than the cars it replaces.
At launch I drove two of the models, the xDrive 50i and the M50d. The former makes use of a turbocharged V8 petrol motor, which is good for 330kW/650Nm and provides a great deal of straight line shove with a 0-100 km/h time of 4.8 seconds.
The latter is the performance diesel with three turbochargers making it good for 280kW/740Nm, which provides a massive punch of overtaking torque, strong acceleration and decent fuel returns for such a big machine. This model also comes with the Adaptive M suspension with Dynamic Damper Control and air suspension with automatic self-levelling at the rear axle.
The other models in the range include the entry level xDrive35i with the familiar 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six motor with 225kW/400Nm on tap and claimed consumption figures of 8.5 litres/100km. The other diesel is found in the xDrive40d and has 230kW/630Nm in reserve, while returning a respectable 6.2 litres/100km.
This is a premium product with a price to match so there are several goodies as standard such as permanent active all-wheel-drive, climate control, BMW’s Connected Drive infotainment system with USB and Bluetooth, large 19-inch alloy wheels, leather seats and trim, bi-Xenon headlamps, an automatic tailgate, the brilliant ZF sports 8-speed gearbox with steering-mounted shifters and a launch control function.
The X6 also comes with a built-in SIM card to make use of the Intelligent Emergency Call system, which features automatic vehicle location and accident severity detection.
The interior of the X6 is a spacious place. Although it can only accommodate four, it will do so in great comfort and swallows the luggage with 580 litres available in the boot and 1 525 litres with the seats folded down.
Design: In and out
The X6 is all about presence and its design cries out for attention from the massive front grille and air intakes to the contoured, sloping side profile that the brand claims improves aerodynamics; the rear-end is where the biggest design change is evident with L-shaped LED-infused rear lights and a more X4-esque bumper and apron.
Inside, the X6 is very much the same as the X5 with the obligatory high seating position and typical BMW facia. The vehicle can, however, be differentiated from its SUV sibling by virtue of its sports leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles. It also has a sportier gearshift lever design and a rear seat bench with two separated outer seats leaving the centre with a storage compartment. There are also knee pads on the centre console which are unique to the X6.
For now, the X6 occupies a piece of the market all on its own. Its blend of high-riding SUV characteristics and sporty styling make it unique and therefore enticing. However, it will have competition soon with the Mercedes-Benz GLE in addition to its current rivals, such as the Porsche Cayenne. Overall, the X6 is a great, albeit pricey car built for a niche that we recently discovered exists.
Peace of mind
The X6 range comes with a five-year/100 000km motor plan maintenance contract and a two-year/unlimited mileage warranty.
X6xDrive35i R947 500
X6 xDrive40d R1 052 500
X6 xDrive50i R1 163 000
X6 M50d R1 327 000