2015 BMW X6 Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Powerful engines
- comfortable ride
- top-quality, quiet interior with comfortable front seats and ample storage.
- Small cargo area
- poor rearward visibility
- limited rear headroom
- rear seats don't recline
- priced higher than many other luxury SUVs.
The BMW X6 is redesigned for 2015. Although it looks much the same as last year's model, the sheet metal is, in fact, new and this luxury crossover is slightly longer, taller and wider. Its updated interior includes standard five-passenger seating, a much-needed increase in room for rear passengers and a wealth of the latest electronic features. For those who don't need all-wheel drive, there's now a six-cylinder X6 model with rear-wheel drive, while every AWD model enjoys a slight increase in fuel economy. The optional V8 gets a power boost.
Marketed as a cross between an SUV and a high-end coupe, the 2015 BMW X6 is engaging to drive but offers little in the way of utility.
Practicality is central to the mission of most crossover SUVs; after all, "utility" is part of the name. At the other end of the spectrum, you have coupes, which generally forego everyday usefulness for swoopy styling and sporty handling. Trying to marry the two, as BMW does with the 2015 X6, can be problematic. Based on the midsize X5, the BMW X6 has a dramatically sloping roof line that gives it a unique silhouette but puts the squeeze on interior room. It provides quick acceleration and a comfortable ride as crossovers go but not significantly more so than the more conventionally shaped X5, which has vastly more space for groceries, people and pets. See what we're getting at?
That's said, there's a sinuousness to the BMW X6's sheet metal that might be appealing if you want a luxury crossover that looks different from the rest. For 2015, BMW has redesigned the X6. The flavor of the styling hasn't changed, but the automaker has tried to make this midsize crossover a bit more useful. This is most evident in the backseat, as the 2015's X6 longer, taller, wider body has opened up considerably more headroom and legroom. By popular demand, the previous X6's standard rear bucket seats have given way to a more useful three-person bench seat. The cargo bay remains small for a midsize SUV, though.
However, the X6 does deliver great performance from its stout inline six-cylinder and V8 engines. The V8 is up to 445 horsepower this year, and keep in mind that a new high-performance X6 M model is still to come later in 2015. Beyond that, the X6 features a taut suspension and impressively smooth ride. Couple that with the 2015 X6's truly posh interior furnishings, and there's a case to be made for this BMW.
In the end, though, most shoppers will be looking for more utility than the 2015 BMW X6 can really deliver. If you find the performance potential of the X6 most appealing, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne all have plenty of entertainment value of their own, yet are far more practical for families. If it's the coupelike styling that grabs you (and you don't necessarily think you'll use the X6's 8-plus inches of ground clearance), cars such as the Audi A7 and even BMW's own 5 Series Gran Turismo have all-wheel drive and similar-sized interiors without all the X6's extra bulk.
Performance & mpg
For 2015, the X6 sDrive 35i and xDrive35i have a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that develops 300 hp and 300 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard for the sDrive 35i, and all-wheel drive is standard for the xDrive 35i. Both models use an eight-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway) for the sDrive 35i and 21 mpg combined (18 city/27 highway) for the xDrive 35i. During Edmunds performance testing, the xDrive35i went from zero to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds, which is a quick time for the segment.
The 2015 X6 xDrive50i gets a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine that produces 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Using the same eight-speed automatic transmission as the six-cylinder X6 models, the V8-motivated X6 will hit 60 mph in a claimed 4.6 seconds. Fuel economy is 17 mpg combined (15/22).
Every 2015 BMW X6 includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes, automatic brake drying, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which provides automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.
Other safety features that are optional or standard (depending on the trim level) include a rearview camera, blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, a forward collision warning and mitigation system with pedestrian detection, sideview and around-view parking cameras and a night-vision system.
During Edmunds performance testing, braking performance was excellent, as an X6 xDrive35i with summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet, which is much shorter than other luxury SUVs and even on pace with some high-performance sports cars.
BMW's insistence on performance suspension tuning and high-end hardware help the 2015 BMW X6 bridge the gap between a taut sport sedan and a large, high-riding crossover. The X6 has a smooth ride over bumpy surfaces but it can also be switched to Sport mode for a stiffer, more taut driving experience. Handling and steering are acute (especially for such a large vehicle) but there is minimal feedback through the steering wheel. The X6 can be driven quickly, but it isn't a very rewarding experience. One of the clearest realizations of the X6's size occurs on challenging back roads, where you discover that the X6 is neither small nor light.
However, your sense of the 2015 X6's considerable size will quickly be erased by the brilliant performance from both the inline six-cylinder and V8 engines. The historically snappy turbocharged six-cylinder should be enough for most, especially since the steep premium for the X6 xDrive 50i is due almost entirely to the engine under the hood. Then again, what an engine: Plant the throttle on an open road and it seems the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 wouldn't be out of place in a locomotive, as it propels the X6 with supreme authority regardless of the driving situation.
The X6's interior has always been a strong suit, and the redesigned cabin for 2015 is even nicer than before. With a Jumbotron-sized 10.2-inch screen positioned at the top of the center dash, an all-new electronic gauge cluster and rich-looking upholstery and trim throughout, BMW hasn't cut any corners when in here. The slick and attractive iDrive interface works well for controlling and adjusting all of the X6's systems, though in our experience it typically takes a few more clicks and twists of the control knob to get what you want; some rival systems are easier to use.
Front-seat passengers will welcome both the X6's exclusive padded knee bracing along the center console (a feature the X5 doesn't have) and the deep door pockets for oversize drink bottles and other supplies. Perhaps more important is the extra legroom and headroom in the backseat, which now seats three across in the standard configuration. Getting in and out of the backseat can be a bit of an event, too. The sloping rear roof forces most adults to duck down pretty low to climb in, while also maneuvering around the arch for the rear wheelwell. Once inside, the extra legroom on this year's model is noticeable, but headroom will still be an issue for taller passengers. And in an SUV that nears six figures with options, we'd like to have rear seats that can recline, too.
But the extra passenger space comes at the expense of the X6's already skimpy cargo hold. Last year's X6 offered 25.6 cubic feet of cargo volume behind its rear seats; now it's down to a meager 20.5 cubic feet. Drop the rear seatbacks and there are just 53.9 cubes. For perspective, Porsche's Cayenne, itself not the most capacious crossover around, has a maximum cargo capacity of 62.9 cubic feet. On the upside, the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks gives you the flexibility to seat a passenger or two while hauling longer items.
2015 BMW X6 models
The 2015 BMW X6 is a midsize crossover styled to resemble a coupe, although it has four doors and seating for five as standard. Unlike BMW's X5, it does not have an optional third-row seat. There are three primary models: the rear-wheel-drive sDrive 35i and the all-wheel-drive xDrive35i and xDrive50i. The high-performance X6 M model (reviewed separately) returns later in 2015.
The rear-wheel-drive sDrive 35i and all-wheel-drive xDrive35i come with essentially the same standard equipment. That list includes 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglamps, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic windshield wipers, a sunroof, a power liftgate and front and rear parking sensors. Standard features in the cabin include dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering column, heated 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, leather upholstery, wood trim accents and a 20/40/20-split-folding rear seat. Standard electronic features for all 2015 X6 models include BMW's iDrive interface with a touchpad controller and 10.2-inch screen, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the BMW ConnectedDrive services and integrated smartphone apps, BMW Assist emergency communications and a nine-speaker sound system with HD radio, CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, 20GB of personal music storage and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Stepping up to the xDrive50i brings a V8 engine, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry with hands-free hatch opening, and 20-way "multicontour" front seats with adjustments for the shoulder and thigh bolsters. Except for the V8 engine, all of these features are optionally available for the X6 35i models.
Both the six-cylinder and V8-powered 2015 X6 models offer two comprehensive option packages, the xLine and M Sport, both of which include unique 19-inch wheels and the ability to upgrade to 20-inch wheels. The xLine also includes aluminum running boards, while the M Sport package also includes special aerodynamic bodywork, the choice of a variety of interior trims, a special steering wheel, a choice of sport seats and multicontour seats for the six-cylinder models, and the ability to add other upgrades such as high-performance 20-inch tires, adaptive suspension and a speed governor with a higher limit.
For the six-cylinder sDrive 35i and xDrive 35i, the Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, four-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio. Also for the six-cylinder X6 models is a Luxury Seating package that brings the multicontour front seats with a ventilation function. A Driver Assistance package incorporates a rearview camera and a head-up display that projects pertinent driving information onto the windshield in front of the driver.
There are several option packages available for all X6 models, including the Cold Weather package, which adds a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. A Lighting package brings adaptive LED headlights with automatic high-beam control. The Dynamic Handling package adds an adaptive suspension and enhanced speed-sensitive steering, while the Driver Assistance Plus package bundles the contents of the standard Driver Assistance package and adds adaptive cruise control (that can bring the vehicle to a complete stop), a frontal collision warning and mitigation system (with pedestrian detection), blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and side- and around-view cameras.
The Executive package is available only for the V8-powered X6 xDrive50i and includes soft-close doors, quad-zone climate control, leather trim on the dashboard, ceramic controls, a high-end Harman Kardon 16-speaker sound system, satellite radio and the head-up display. If Harman Kardon audio isn't good enough, you can upgrade to a Bang & Olufsen system for an additional cost.
Significant single options include BMW's Active Steering, driver-adjustable adaptive shock absorbers with rear air suspension, the rearview and side- and around-view cameras, automatic parallel parking, a night-vision system, a rear-seat entertainment system and a choice of premium audio systems.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
The casual observer might mistake an all-new X6 for the one that's been on sale since 2008. But don't be fooled by the similar skin because the coupelike brother of the X5 gets a full remake for 2015. It looks even bolder inside and out and provides improved comfort for rear-seat passengers. A new rear-drive-only version of the six-cylinder X6 will be the best deal of the lineup. But no matter which engine is selected, the X6 is an SUV that prioritizes speed handling and style over utility.
What Is It?
The BMW X6 is a midsize luxury SUV with a coupelike roof profile based on the chassis and mechanicals of the X5. But unlike the X5, which can be optioned with a third row of seats, the chopped roofline of the X6 means it can only fit five passengers. That sleek roofline has always meant the X6 can carry less cargo than the X5, too.
The new X6 rides on the same 115.5-inch wheelbase as the old model but is slightly taller, wider and longer. Despite the growth, BMW has trimmed weight thanks to the use of lighter and stronger materials in the chassis and body. This new X6 weighs about 50 pounds less than the old one.
The X6 is available in three models — two with all-wheel drive and one with rear drive. Just like the outgoing X6, the xDrive35i is the six-cylinder all-wheel-drive variant-packing BMW's 300-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder paired to an eight-speed automatic. For the first time BMW is offering a rear-drive version of this X6 called the sDrive35i.
The top machine, at least for now, is the V8-powered xDrive50i. Here, BMW's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 packs 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. That's an increase of 45 hp and 30 lb-ft over the old X6. BMW says that's enough to trim a half-second from acceleration times. Those longing for an even more powerful M version of the X6 will be out of luck for 2015. And the company has not announced any plans for either a diesel or hybrid version.
The X6 comes standard with BMW's Driving Dynamics Control system. This suite of technologies allows the driver to select between Comfort, Eco Pro, Sport and Sport Plus modes. By clicking through these settings, the driver can really tailor the character of the X6 to the road conditions — or the whims of the personality behind the wheel.
In other words, around town many will choose Comfort so the X6 will slacken its ride and provide smoother shifting and lighter steering. On the morning commute or a long road trip, Eco Pro makes sense to maximize the vehicle's range. But on a tight country road, Sport or even Sport Plus will tighten the suspension, increase the heft of the steering and make the drivetrain functions more responsive and alert. Generally the X6 provides a more sporting ride and handling balance than most European luxury SUVs.
What Bodystyles and Trim Levels Does It Come in?
The X6 is available exclusively as a four-door hatchback SUV with three drivetrains: a six-cylinder model with rear-wheel drive (sDrive35i) that starts at $60,550, an all-wheel-drive (xDRive35i) version of that model that starts at $62,850 or for power-hungry buyers BMW offers the V8-powered $73,850 xDrive50i.
It's not hard to graze from the options list at the local dealer or explore BMW's online configurator to spec out a V8-powered X6 that butts right up against the six-figure threshold. But at a basic level, X6s come in either xLine (19-inch wheels, unique trim around outside of the vehicle and running boards) for $2,500 or M Sport (19-inch M wheels, M steering wheel, aerodynamic kit and unique interior and exterior trim) for $3,500.
Beyond that, the X6 wishlist includes a staggering number of safety, luxury and convenience features that includes automatic parking, rear-seat entertainment and a leather-covered dashboard. Most of the technology is packaged together with related features. And some, like the upscale multi-contour seats, rearview camera and four-zone climate control are standard when you select the more expensive flagship V8 model.
However, if there's one package to select for drivers looking to really enhance the performance of their X6, it's Dynamic Handling package. For $4,500 it equips the SUV with adjustable dampers, rear air suspension and Dynamic Performance Control — an electronically activated rear differential that sends power to the wheel that needs it in certain cornering situations. When combined with traditional stability control, this system can really help the driver steer around, say, an unforeseen object laying in the road, confidently cruise through a mountain pass in foul weather or tackle a curvy road like a sport sedan.
How Does It Drive?
The X6's radical roof is fun to look at on the outside, but when you park the vehicle rearward visibility is compromised. The back window as well as the smaller side windows near the trunk are proportionally smaller than most SUVs and conspire to block quite a lot of your vision as you pass another car on the road or attempt to back into a parking space. It is less of a problem thanks to the X6's host of cameras, parking aids and blind-spot warning technologies. But there are plenty of SUVs that are easier to park because they have larger rear windows.
But make no mistake, as unique as this vehicle may appear, it drives very much like the more traditional X5 in BMW's lineup. The 445-hp V8 not only sounds glorious, but it moves the 2.5-ton SUV away from a stoplight with a thrust that makes it seem like a much smaller vehicle. The X6 is simply a beast when you floor the throttle hitting 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, according to BMW.
But the real benefit of the V8 comes when cruising through city traffic or on the freeway because you only need to toe into the gas pedal a small amount to maintain a brisk pace. And it all happens with such smoothness, you sometimes don't realize how quickly the SUV is gathering speed.
The X6 is designed to be a sporty SUV. So even with the suspension in Comfort mode, this BMW's suspension feels taut over rougher road patches. This is not an SUV that offers such a plush and isolated ride, that the driver never feels a bump or pothole. That's just not the BMW way.
The X6 is not a vehicle you'd likely choose to take on a muddy adventure. This is after all, an SUV that emphasizes and prioritizes on-road sportiness. But the X6 can handle mild water fording as well as the steep ascents and declines. Much of the confidence we felt came from hill descent control — a feature now common on many SUVs. Once engaged, it uses the braking system to slow the vehicle without any driver input. It's like a cruise control for your braking system on steep terrain. And our model was equipped with a slick front-mounted camera that can be activated so you can see what your tires are about to roll over.
How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort?
The previous-generation BMW X6 had a posh cabin with enough pampering to make any long trip comfortable. This new model takes it all up a notch with a revised design that includes a huge 10.3-inch navigation-entertainment screen. The new digital gauges are impressive and will change dramatically depending upon the driving mode you've selected. Sport, for instance, glows red and displays speed and a full tachometer, but Eco Pro glows blue-green and helps to guide the driver to attain the best fuel economy.
Front-seat passengers will welcome both the X6's exclusive padded knee bracing along the center console (a feature the X5 doesn't have) as well as the deep door pockets for oversize drink bottles and other supplies. Passengers in the backseat have much more legroom than the last X6 and two full inches more headroom, too. Six-footers will now be comfortable for longer hauls. Still, in an SUV that nears six-figures with options, we'd like to have rear seats that can recline, too.
Because customers asked, BMW made that rear seat a standard bench for three instead of the bucket seats with a console that came standard on the last one. Four-place seating is now an option.
That increased rear head- and legroom seems to have come at the expense of cargo capacity. That sleek roofline has always meant the X6 can handle less cargo than the X5. And that's still true. In fact this new one has a cargo capacity of just 20.5 cubic feet with the seats in place — about 5 fewer cubic feet than the outgoing X6 and just 2.5 cubic feet shy of the new 428i Gran Coupe, a much smaller vehicle.
So the X6 isn't the best choice for those families who will need to carry bulky items and passengers at the same time. The good news is the rear seat does fold in a 40/20/40 configuration. That means you can carry, say, two passengers (two up front and one in the backseat) and leave 60 percent of the seat folded down. Or you could carry four, and leave that center portion as a pass-through for some longer items.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
BMW has smoothed the X6's bodywork for aerodynamics, engineered it with less mass than the old one and equipped it with an Eco Pro efficiency mode in the Driving Dynamics Control system. But even with all this attention to efficiency, the X6 delivers middling EPA fuel economy ratings.
The X6 xDrive50i returns just 17 mpg in combined driving (15 city and 22 on the highway). The six-cylinder X6 xDrive35i returns a slightly more reasonable 21 mpg in mixed driving (18 city and 27 on the highway). The two-wheel-drive X6 sDrive35i is the fuel economy champ, though, returning 22 mpg combined (19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway). Incidentally those numbers are identical to the corresponding models in BMW's X5 lineup.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
No automaker has a direct competitor to the extroverted X6. Acura's ZDX, which left the marketplace in 2013, had a similar roofline and mission. Mercedes-Benz is working on a competitor, but right now there are two models that come the closest to the X6's blend of sport and utility.
The Porsche Cayenne has always been an SUV benchmark for high performance. The Cayenne has incredible handling agility that belies its weight. It's offered as a fuel-efficient diesel or plug-in gas-electric hybrid as well as an incredibly potent 520-hp Turbo model.
Unlike the BMW X6 or Porsche Cayenne, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class focuses more on comfort than sport. The ride comfort is exceptional, as are the materials and trim inside the cabin. The most pedestrian models can tow a trailer weighing more than 7,000 pounds and offer nearly 40 cubic feet of trunk space with the seats in place (80 cubic feet with them folded). And while many M-Class models are more staid in personality compared to the X6, that's not the case when the buyer steps up to the $98,400 ML63 AMG with its 518-hp V8 and insanely excessive 516 lb-ft of torque.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
You want a unique SUV that stands out amongst its peers. Or maybe you just want a sporty and luxurious vehicle that rides higher than the rest of traffic. Either way, the X6 delivers in a manner that few others can match.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
SUVs are great for hauling around a lot of people and things, but the X6 offers less room inside than many comparably sized models. If utility is a major purchasing consideration for your next luxury SUV, you'll want to test the limitations of the X6 before getting swept away by its sporty handling and unique style.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2015 BMW X6 Overview
The Used 2015 BMW X6 is offered in the following submodels: X6 SUV. Available styles include xDrive35i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), xDrive50i 4dr SUV AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A), and sDrive35i 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A). Pre-owned BMW X6 models are available with a 3.0 L-liter gas engine or a 4.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 445 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 BMW X6 comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2015 BMW X6 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2015 BMW X6?
Price comparisons for Used 2015 BMW X6 trim styles:
- The Used 2015 BMW X6 xDrive35i is priced between $25,888 and$44,998 with odometer readings between 31619 and107201 miles.
- The Used 2015 BMW X6 sDrive35i is priced between $43,998 and$43,998 with odometer readings between 42176 and42176 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 BMW X6?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.