The BMW X6 has been treated to an update.
The changes are subtle on the outside, but under the skin the new model picks up a raft of big changes.
Under the bonnet, the inline-six engine features a more sophisticated mild-hybrid system than before, designed to offer more performance and better fuel economy than before.
Inside, there’s a new dual-screen infotainment system and a flashier range of trim options that bring the X6 into line with newer, more expensive members of the BMW range.
Speaking of more expensive though, prices are up across the X6 line-up for 2024. Is the original still the best coupe-crossover?
The BMW X6 xDrive40i on test here is $4000 more expensive than the base 30d; the pair have different engines but the same list of standard equipment.
It undercuts its nearest rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic Coupe ($156,470) by just over of $10,000. The Audi Q8 55 TFSI S line Dynamic Black is cheaper however, with a starting price of $140,069 before on-roads.
2024 BMW X6 pricing:
- BMW X6 xDrive30d: $140,900
- BMW X6 xDrive40i: $144,900
- BMW X6 M60i: $178,900
Prices include LCT but exclude on-road costs
Engine aside, the biggest changes to the BMW X6 have come behind the wheel.
The dual-screen infotainment system has been lifted from the 7 Series and i7, and is a showstopper with rich graphics and lightning quick responses.
You’re able to control it using touch, the rotary controller on the transmission tunnel, and Hey BMW voice prompts, and all of the animations are lovingly rendered. It’ll make anyone who always has an iPad or phone in their hand feel right at home, although older owners may take a while to dial into what’s required here.
BMW has already given the software in the X6 an update since it debuted, in a bid to make it simpler to use. The update has improved things, but it’s still possible to get lost in the maze of colourful icons. It’s also harder to do certain things, like adjusting the airflow direction, than it was before.
Beyond the technology, the fundamentals are excellent. The front seats are generously padded and offer acres of adjustment for very tall or very short drivers, and everything you touch looks and feels expensive.
The new backlit dashboard trim and angular, glass-effect garnish both elevate the look relative to the last X6, and the tan leather in our tester was just lovely. It’s the sort of car you look forward to sitting in every night.
There’s heaps of storage up front for bottles, along with a wireless charger, a wallet-sized slot beneath the dashboard, and a useful space beneath the split-opening central armrest, and you get a combination of USB-A and USB-C ports.
Rear seat space is excellent, as you’d expect of a big BMW SUV.
There’s acres of legroom behind adult drivers, and headroom is much better than you’d expect from a car with a sloping roofline and a sunroof.
The X5 is still a more practical option; loading a child in through the smaller rear doors on the X6 is more difficult, and the big rear pillar does make it feel more claustrophobic.
With a big hump in the bench and floor, the middle seat is best saved for emergencies. It can be covered by a fold-down armrest with cupholders, and there are air vents and USB-C ports to keep kids happy.
The boot measures in at 580L with the second row of seats upright, which can be expanded to 1530L with them folded.
You don’t get a proper luggage cover that raises with the boot, or can be slid away. Instead, you get a cheap and nasty hard cover that flips up.
Power in the X6 xDrive40i comes from an updated 3.0-litre inline-six turbo-petrol engine, backed by a 48V mild-hybrid system designed to deliver smoother start/stop and offer a performance boost when you put your foot down.
It makes 280kW of power and 540Nm of torque, up 30kW and 90Nm on the model it replaces. The 100km/h sprint takes a claimed 5.4 seconds. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard across the X6 line-up.
Claimed fuel economy is 9.3 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, but we saw 11.1 litres per 100km on a week more skewed to city driving. The fuel tank holds 83 litres, and you’ll need to fill up with 95 RON premium unleaded.
BMW is known for its silky smooth inline-six engines, and the 3.0-litre engine in the X6 40i carries on that tradition in style.
It was already an effortless engine, with loads of performance low in the rev range and a classy growl at the top end, but the 48V system has made it even more impressive.
The automatic start/stop kicks in imperceptibly as you coast up to a set of traffic lights, shutting down the engine without so much as a cough, and there’s no awkward jerk when you want to accelerate away in a hurry.
BMW hasn’t made much noise about its hybrid technology but it’s exceptional, and comes without the awkwardness you get from the brakes in some rival mild-hybrid systems as they harvest energy to feed the battery pack.
Combined with light steering, a comfortable ride, and decent vision out the front, the buttery smooth petrol engine makes the X6 easy to drive in the city. BMW does the best surround-view camera in the business, so there’s no excuse for scraped wheels or bumpers when you’re parking in tight spaces.
This is an effortless cruiser when the road opens up. It’s near silent on the highway, and the ride remains excellent at 100km/h. Put your foot down to overtake and the 3.0-litre engine has power in reserve, making open road overtakes effortless.
The adaptive cruise control smoothly maintains a gap to the car in front, the lane-keep only intervenes when it really needs to, and the blind-spot monitor doesn’t jump at shadows.
It’s a shame BMW has made it harder to fiddle with those driver assists, though. Want to change the following distance on your adaptive cruise control? You need to dive into the touchscreen for that, rather than just using the buttons on the steering wheel that have been blanked out as part of the update.
We’ve said it before, but why not say it again… The move away from buttons makes everything harder
As for when you want to test out the old Ultimate Driving Machine tagline? There’s no escaping the fact the X6 has evolved into a two-tonne hulk, but it does control its mass better than most large SUVs.
There’s enough weight in the steering to inspire confidence, and the all-wheel drive system provides excellent traction in slippery conditions.
It doesn’t feel reactive, and the rear bias in day-to-day driving means you don’t get the feeling of the front wheels slipping off the mark when the road is wet, nor is there any torque steer.
X6 xDrive30d + xDrive40i highlights:
- 21-inch alloy wheels
- Power tailgate
- Illuminated grille
- Panoramic sunroof
- Adaptive LED headlights
- Blue M Sport brakes
- Adaptive M suspension
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- DAB+ digital radio
- Satellite navigation
- Connected Drive package
- Head-up display
- Wireless phone charger
- Tri-zone climate control
- Keyless entry
- Digital Key Plus
- Push-button start
- M leather steering wheel
- Verino instrument panel
- Anthracite headliner
- Verino upholstery
- Heated front seats
- Electric seat adjustment
The BMW X6 hasn’t been tested by ANCAP and is therefore unrated. The closely related BMW X5 has a five-star rating based on testing carried out in 2018, however.
Standard safety features include:
- Driving Assistant Professional
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Front cross-traffic alert
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Steering & Lane Control Assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Side Collision Warning
- Crossroads warning
- Evasion aid
- Parking Assistant Plus
- Rear parking sensors
- Reversing assistant
- Surround-view cameras
- Drive recorder
- Remote Theft Recorder
The X6 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty like the wider BMW range.
Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. A five-year maintenance pack will set you back $2750 upfront.
Putting aside the way it looks, which remains divisive as ever, the BMW X6 is an incredibly polished large SUV.
BMW is really hitting its stride when it comes to building posh, modern interiors, and the X6 is no exception – and the flashy dual-screen infotainment system brings the X6 into line with the rest of the range, for better and for worse.
There wasn’t all that much wrong with the previous model, but the updated mild-hybrid technology improves on the formula again. It makes what was already a lovely powertrain smoother and punchier, but does it without demanding any change from the driver.
With that said, the cheaper diesel has benefitted from the same mild-hybrid technology upgrade and is likely to save you money at the bowser relative to the revvy, but thirsty, petrol we drove.
Click the images for the full gallery
MORE: Everything BMW X6