2018 BMW X6

2018 BMW X6 Review

Half luxury sedan and half SUV, the 2018 BMW X6 prioritizes style over function.
6.9 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

When the X6 launched for 2008, it was met with skepticism from automotive critics. Its coupelike roofline didn't allow the prodigious amount of cargo space people expected from three-row monster-sized SUVs. Nor did it really drive like a sleek, low-slung sports sedan. There were probably a few who predicted an untimely demise. Yet here we are a decade later and the 2018 BMW X6 is still around.

Undoubtedly, there's a small but willing group of buyers who want a luxury sedan but with a higher seating position and ground clearance. The X6's sporty look has been part of the appeal as well, and it's backed up by two powerful turbocharged engine options.

If you know you won't be transporting five passengers or hauling an armoire, the X6 could be a fun choice for a SUV. But expect to pay a price for its exclusive looks and capability. It's more expensive than its similarly equipped but more conventional sibling, the X5 SUV. And for that "savings" with the X5, you get more interior volume, towing capability and better visibility.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 BMW X6 features a standard rearview camera and an updated iDrive system. The rest of the vehicle remains the same.

We recommend

We'd maximize the sporting aspect with a bit of financial restraint, and opt for the X6 sDrive35i M Sport Design, equipped with Executive Tier and M adaptive suspension. The 3.0-liter turbocharged engine drives just the rear wheels to minimize weight, while the performance tires and adaptive suspension maximize dynamics.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 BMW X6 is a fastback SUV in three main configurations. The X6 sDrive35i has a turbocharged six-cylinder engine (300 horsepower, 300 pound-feet of torque) and rear-wheel drive. The xDrive35i has the same engine but with all-wheel drive. At the top of the range is the all-wheel-drive xDrive50i and its turbocharged V8 (445 hp, 480 lb-ft). Standard equipment is similar on each, and a variety of option packages are available to further deck out the X6.

Standard equipment (BMW calls this the xLine Design) includes 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, driver-seat memory settings and a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat.

The X6 also comes with BMW's iDrive infotainment interface, navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive services (including BMW Assist emergency communications) and integrated smartphone apps, and a nine-speaker sound system.

Stepping up to the xDrive50i gets you the V8 engine, keyless ignition and entry, four-zone automatic climate control, upgraded front seats, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, a surround-view camera system, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision warning with low-speed automatic braking.

Except for the V8 engine, all of these features are optionally available for the 35i models.

Both trims can be equipped with an Executive package that comes with soft-close doors, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, and a head-up display. An available Dynamic Handling package includes adaptive suspension dampers with a rear air suspension and active roll stabilization. There's also an M Sport package that gives the X6 sportier-looking body work and special interior trim.

Finally, Apple CarPlay integration, a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system and a night-vision system are just some of the stand-alone options available.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 BMW X6 xDrive35i (turbo 3.0L inline-6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall6.9 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration8.0 / 10
Braking8.5 / 10
Steering5.5 / 10
Handling6.0 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

8.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.5 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration9.0 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use9.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out5.5 / 10
Roominess8.5 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality9.5 / 10

Driving7.0

Engine and transmission performance are big positives for the X6. It's pretty quick for the class, and the engine and transmission are smooth operators. Unfortunately, the steering communicates little back to the driver.

Acceleration8.0

Smooth shifting and a strong-performing engine are what you get with the xDrive35i. In our testing, it accelerated from from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds.

Braking8.5

The brakes felt good around town, with linear action requiring minimal force to engage. They're plenty capable of stopping this hefty SUV. In our simulated-panic stop, the X6 needed just 108 feet from 60 mph, but there was some minor pedal fade after repeated stops.

Steering5.5

The X6 goes where you point it, yes, but there's minimal communication to the steering wheel of what the front tires are up to. The effort is too light in Comfort mode, better in Sport. It can feel numb just off-center.

Handling6.0

The X6 feels tall, though stiff and capable. Its height limits some connection between driver and road. Body roll is acceptable. Lots of grip from the summer-rated tires. Sport suspension mode tightens things up considerably.

Drivability7.0

The automatic engine stop-start requires a change in driving style to perfect smooth acceleration from a stoplight. With this feature disengaged, though, the X6 is easy to drive.

Off-road7.0

All-wheel drive and 8.3 inches of ground clearance give the BMW some off-road capability. It can handle gravel and fire roads but isn't designed to venture much deeper off the path than that.

Comfort8.5

This is an area where the X6 does it right. Ride quality is good for a performance SUV. The adjustable suspension absorbs imperfections of varying size with ease. Exterior noise stays there, keeping the cabin quiet. Seat comfort is excellent up front and acceptable in the rear.

Seat comfort8.5

The front seats are firm yet supportive and quite comfy for the long haul. Thigh support could be better. The rear seats are flat and a bit vertical, though they are acceptably comfortable. The armrests are reasonably soft for all seating positions.

Ride comfort8.0

The X6 does an excellent job soaking up bumps, be they large or small, especially when the suspension is in the Comfort setting. The ride is noticeably firmer and less forgiving in Sport mode.

Noise & vibration9.0

Interior noise is held to a minimum almost regardless of surface. One exception is the exhaust bark on full-throttle upshifts, but we rather enjoy that. It's just enough to remind you of the turbocharged six-cylinder under the hood.

Interior8.0

Interior space suffers because of the X6's stylized exterior. The sloping roof limits headroom and rear seat access. Rearward blind spots are also prominent. Cargo and storage are merely average, and the rear seatbacks do not fold completely flat.

Ease of use9.0

The centrally located iDrive controller resides at the driver's fingertips. The climate control layout is functional but has too many buttons.

Getting in/getting out5.5

Front seat access benefits from the X6's height and a wide-opening door. Rear seat entry is an exercise in flexibility. The door does not open far enough, the opening is too sloped at the roof, and the wheel hump is a hip bruiser.

Roominess8.5

Most drivers up to 6 feet tall will find plenty of headroom up front. Elbows and knees will be similarly comfy. The back seat offers suitable legroom for adults, but the roof design limits headroom for taller passengers.

Visibility8.0

Forward views benefit from lots of glass and the tall ride height. Over-the-shoulder views are limited significantly by thick rear pillars, and the rear window is small.

Quality9.5

Excellent build quality inside and out. Interior surfaces are soft-touch where they ought to be. Leather is of high quality. No squeaks or rattles.

Utility7.5

The rear hatch opening is low. The smallish cargo area is aided by underfloor storage. The rear bench seat folds 40/20/40 but not fully flat. The door pockets are usefully large, but the door bottle holders are angled dramatically.

Technology

Thanks to constant refinement, the X6's iDrive and standard navigation systems are easy to manipulate. Multiple inputs allow for flexible pairing and connections for music and phone use.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.