BMW X6 review

Category: Coupe SUV

Section: Performance & drive

BMW X6 2021 RHD rear left tracking
  • BMW X6 2021 COTY
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD rear left tracking
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD dashboard
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD rear seats
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD infotainment
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD front left cornering
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD left side panning
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD right tracking
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD steering wheel detail
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD front seats
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD boot open
  • BMW X6 2021 COTY
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD rear left tracking
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD dashboard
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD rear seats
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD infotainment
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD front left cornering
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD left side panning
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD right tracking
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD steering wheel detail
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD front seats
  • BMW X6 2021 RHD boot open
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The petrol engine line-up opens with the xDrive40i, which we have yet to sample in the X6 but impressed us in the closely related BMW X5. We have driven the twin-turbocharged V8 M50i and it delivers effortless pace, thrusting the X6 from 0-62mph in 4.3sec. There's also the flagship M Competition, which can dispatch the same sprint in 3.8sec. That's simply staggering acceleration for such a big SUV.

The six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel engine of the xDrive30d is our pick of the range, though. It's beautifully smooth, provides tonnes of punch low down in the rev range and is noticeably more responsive than the equivalent Audi Q8 50 TDI. In fact it’s so good that we don’t think you need to step up to the more expensive xDrive40d, which, despite having an extra 54bhp, doesn’t feel significantly quicker.

Whichever engine you choose, the X6’s eight-speed automatic gearbox pounds through the gears rapidly when you’re accelerating to motorway speeds, but there’s a tiny bit of lag in its response at slower speeds, which can make it a little jumpy – when pulling forward in slow-moving traffic, for example. It’s a significantly better gearbox than the hesitant, jerky equivalent in the Audi Q8, though. 

Let off the leash, the X6 is one of the more entertaining cars in the coupé SUV class to drive. You don't get a great deal of feedback through its chunky steering wheel, but the meaty feel of its steering still inspires confidence. Body control is impressively tight, too, so threading the car through a series of sweeping bends is genuinely enjoyable. It can’t beat the truly physics-defying agility of the Porsche Cayenne Coupé, but the X6 is a close match for the nimble Audi Q8 and leaves the Range Rover Velar feeling sloppy by comparison.

Air suspension comes as standard, but the smallest wheels available on M Sport models are 21in (we’ve yet to try a Sport model on 19s) and, whichever driving mode you select, there's a firm edge to the low-speed ride. That said, the suspension never thumps or crashes over imperfections, so life is far from uncomfortable. It’s a similar deal with the M performance models, even though they have adaptive suspension, but once you’re up to speed they start to really flow with the road. 

In all BMW X6s there's a bit of suspension noise when you pass over battered bitumen, while road roar from the tyres grows more noticeable at high speeds. The Q8 is generally better insulated from wind and road noise.

New car deals
Save up to £4,389
Target Price from £64,143
Save up to £4,389
or from £754pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £67,850
Leasing deals
From £863pm