Range Rover Velar vs BMW X6

The new Range Rover Velar may look great, but is the V6 diesel version better than the car that invented the SUV coupé – the BMW X6?...

Range Rover Velar vs BMW X6

The contenders

BMW X6 xDrive40d M Sport

  • List price £65,005
  • Target Price £58,801

Nobody has more experience of building sporty SUVs than BMW

Range Rover Velar D300 HSE

  • List price £65,320
  • Target Price £62,919

The Velar has the looks, but it will need more than that to succeed here

Ironic, isn’t it? Range Rover’s Velar takes its name from the Latin word ‘velare’, meaning ‘to hide’, which was what the secret Range Rover prototypes in the 1960s were codenamed. Yet, judging by its rakish looks, this is hardly a car for the shy and retiring.

The Velar has arrived to fill the sizeable void in price and size between the smaller, heavily styled Evoque and the larger, more functional Range Rover Sport. On the face of it, the Velar’s sleek lines make it seem a closer relation to the former, but in fact its size places it nearer the latter.

Bear in mind, though, that nearly £40,000 separates the cheapest and most expensive Velars and it’s the more expensive end of the range that most buyers will gravitate towards. Indeed, we’re focusing here on the V6 diesel version in lofty HSE trim, which pushes the asking price north of £65,000.

BMW X6 front

BMW knows a thing or two about building eye-catching SUVs, too; its X6 has been dividing opinion for nearly a decade. But whether you love or loathe the looks, there’s no doubt the X6 is a capable car that actually looks well priced next to the Velar after you've factored in the sizeable discounts available. We’re testing the X6 in punchy six-cylinder 40d form and range-topping M Sport trim.


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Try as we might, we couldn’t launch the Velar from standstill to 60mph as quickly as the official performance figures suggest is possible – a common trait among Land Rover models. Still, it offers enough low-down pull and outright pace to dispense with slow-moving traffic on motorways and fast A-roads when you need to.

The X6 isn’t much more powerful than the Velar, but acceleration is noticeably more urgent and its 0-60mph time was 1.5sec quicker.

Both cars have eight-speed automatic gearboxes, but the X6’s is the better-tuned, hesitating less when you pull away from junctions and flicking between gears more responsively when you engage manual mode by pulling the paddles behind the steering wheel.

Range Rover Velar front

The X6's steering is more communicative than the Velar's, too, although it's slower to respond, which means more arm work is required to thread your way around urban backstreets. Add in the Velar's smaller size, and it's certainly the more wieldy car around town.

True, if you up the speed, you notice that the Velar sways about more than the X6 when asked to make sudden changes of direction. However, hold your nerve, and it will grip the road similarly well.

There’s more good news when it comes to the Velar’s ride quality. The car wafts along on its standard air suspension, soaking up most bumps remarkably well – especially at high speeds. By contrast, the X6 jostles you around quite a bit.

Throw in a gruffer engine note and more wind noise, and the X6 is the definitely the less refined cruiser. Unfortunately, some tyre and suspension noise spoil the Velar’s otherwise peaceful interior at low speeds.