The brand new baby from BMW India is a big, bold and brawny SUV. Well, SAV as BMW likes to call them. The new third generation of the BMW X6 is like a burst of fresh air blowing in all to familiarly from Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. Why do I say that? Well because that's where it is made for starters, and also - when you compare it to its predecessor, the new car is miles apart. And yet the familiarity comes from the kind of performance, build and interiors the recent launches from BMW have got us used to.
Also Read: BMW X6 Launched In India
The BMW X6 also gets the option of laserlight headlamps
This is the absolute beast in the company's lineup. The car is wider, a tad shorter and has a longer wheelbase than the second generation did. It also has a front grille that might eat you and your neighbour Mr Sharma for lunch, if you are not looking. And by the way, it also gives you BMW's first-ever illuminated grille - an optional extra that could be the perfect show-off party trick to impress your friends and family. Yes I now have all of Delhi NCR and Punjab's attention! The grille's glow feature is reserved just for the X6 for now. You can either have it light up when the headlights are on, or when you lock or unlock the car. And before you get too excited, it's an option you have to pay extra for, ₹ 1. lakh to be precise.
The X6 features BMW's first-ever illuminated grille which is an optional extra
Now BMW is the one that started all of these coupé SUVs - and I say that with disdain, because as many of you know, I am not a fan of the body style. But I am going to say this - of all the generations of this car, this has to be the most good-looking and dare I say - the pretty one. I like the way it looks! It's proportionate, it's stylish and especially at the back I think it has its own distinct personality. The tail light treatment is kind of what you see from BMW's sports cars these days, like that. And the proportions work,and for the first time, this does not just look like an X5 with it's roof lopped off! It has a nice stance, looks muscular and energetic. And to continue my shock and disgust at my own feelings towards this car - it all seems to tie in beautifully to that giant front grille. You know I reckon this is the first new model from BMW, where we aren't focusing on that grille, because from word go, I think it belongs there, and is the size it is meant to be. The finish is really nice too.
The sexy taillights add to the overall look of the car
Yes I am shocked at myself. Or - considering the times we live in anyway - the world has truly gone on its head! Optional laserlight headlamps, an aggressive bumper, the swoopy roofline, - and then there's the overall proportion, build quality, tailgate lip, chrome tipped exhaust pipes, sexy taillights, and this 'Riverside Blue' paintjob. Oh yes - it works. Oh, and before you get confused, there are 12 paint finishes to choose from, including Ametrine - the same purply maroon shade that I drove the X6 M in a few days ago. That is a perfect little segue in to my last BMW drive. It indeed was not just the X6's powerful alter-ego, but also the X5's. The X5 and X6 M Competition twins have 612 bhp engines by the way. So anyhow that was the first X6 in this new generation I drove, only a much more powerful one!
The swooping roofline and the unique Coupe SUV bodystyle will grab everyones attention.
The new X6 has only been offered in India with a 3-litre, in-line 6 cylinder petrol engine. And even though it is not the range topping V8 on the M50i, it is still plenty powerful. The car is agile, powerful, and altogether fun. Needless to say the xDrive or all wheel drive is standard. While the last X6 was also nice to drive, this one is just a whole lot sharper. It is the handling and cornering that have just soared to new heights. It also does not feel as big or heavy as it really is - and that's a hat tip to the engineering. The familiar motor has served well on several BMW models. The 335 bhp setup is not its highest tuned output, but does well on this car. Peak torque has a nice wide band, and it shows in the way the engine responds.
While the last X6 was also nice to drive, this one is just a whole lot sharper
Ride And Handling
The 3-litre is really response and also very agile. Like I said, it's an engine we have seen from the other BMWs, so we know it well. The gearbox is married to it beautifully, and it comes with paddle shifters. Throw-in the fact that we also have the optional twin axle adaptive air suspension and then you are really talking. And that is because in terms of sheer dynamics it adds a lot of sportiness when you want it. And otherwise it also gives you a lot of comfort. So ride quality is fantastic. And that's good news - especially for Indian buyers.
The new X6 has only been offered in India with a 3-litre, in-line 6 cylinder petrol engine
Do note though that the adaptive 2-axle air suspension is standard on the X-Line trim, but optional on the M Sport. So BMW has decided for now, with a lot of the direct imports at least, to go petrol only. That is because there is a shift, which has been happening for a while, and which is why it opted not to bring you the diesel. But you do have a nice powerful diesel in this car, and if there is demand, it could be brought in, especially if the car does move to being locally assembled.
The adaptive 2-axle air suspension is standard on the X-Line trim, but optional on the M Sport.
What will attract you is how quickly the car accelerates - and even gets to triple digit speeds. The ride does feel a tad stiff at the higher speeds, but will still be extremely comfortable - yes even in the back. The new X6 xDrive 40i has a top speed limited to 250 kmph and it does 0-100 kmph in 5.5 seconds. The X6 gets the eco pro, comfort, sport and adaptive drive modes. The adaptive mode is pretty intuitive and I enjoyed staying in that for a good blend of agility and comfort. The car also has electronic stability control, ABS, dynamic traction control, cornering brake control, and other driver aids like the parking assist - all as standard. The 6 airbags and Isofix child seat mounts are also standard.
The paddle shifters make the driver's job easier and of course it's quick to respond to your inputs
An optional extra is the panoramic glass roof with the sky lounge ambient light feature. Remember the xDrive 40i is available in the X-Line and M Sport trims. The one with me is the M Sport. Now despite me wanting to spend all my time only on the driver seat, and I get it - with a ₹ 95 lakh price tag, a lot of buyers are going to spend time back here. And in keeping with that let me reassure you that comfort here is not a problem, despite the sloping, dropping roofline. You still get a nice sense of space, you have actually got good head room, and nice back angle, good seats, and I don't have to tell you this, but at this end of the market, fit and finish is excellent.
The fit and finish in the cabin is top notch and you get optional equipment like ambient air package and head up display, besides the soft-touch door closing function
Now of course if you want an even better sense of space you can get the X5 - or even the X7! The bootspace in the X6 is pretty good at 580 litres. Fold down the 40:20:40 split seats in the rear and you can go up to 1530 litres. Optional equipment also includes the ambient air package and head up display, besides the soft-touch door closing function. The Harman Kardon sound system and screens that come with the rear seat entertainment package - are also optional.
The bootspace in the X6 is pretty good at 580 litres and can be extended up to 1530 litres
As I already mentioned the new BMW X6 is priced at ₹ 95 lakh. The same price applies to both trims, since they have a different mix of standard equipment and features.
The BMW X6 is available in 12 colours and both trims are priced at ₹ 95 lakh
And I have to say seems way better positioned than the rivals - existing and upcoming - i.e. the Audi Q8, Porsche Cayenne Coupé and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé. Having said that adding in some of the optional equipment will take the price you end up paying well over the ₹ 1 Crore mark anyway.