2011 BMW X6 Review
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel
Model: 2011 BMW X6
Engine: 4.4-liter DOHC twin turbocharged V8
Horsepower/Torque: 555 hp @ 6,000 rpm/500 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-5,650 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Adaptive Transmission Control, sport and M manual shift modes with paddles.
Wheelbase: 115.5 in.
Length x Width x Height: 192 x 78.1 x 60.3 in.
Tires: P315/35R20R; P275/40R20F
Cargo volume: 59.7 cu. ft. (max)
Fuel economy: 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway/16.5 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 22.5 gal.
Curb weight: 5,324 lbs.
Sticker: $94,775 (includes $875 destination charge, $3,900 in options ($600 cold weather, $1,900 rear camera with top view, $1,400 premium sound, $1,000 keyless entry)
The Bottom Line: The BMW X6 isn’t for everyone, however, if you want a sport utility vehicle with the emphasis strongly on the “sport,” then the X6 may be what you want, assuming you have deep pockets.
We all know that BMW is in the habit of naming its sport utility vehicles “Sport Activity Vehicles.” While this tends to reduce the “utility” aspects of the X3, X5 and X6 to a degree, it does allow BMW to focus on what it believes these vehicles really are intended to do.
Well, in the case of the X6, Sport Activity may not be a misnomer. First, our tester was the M version, which in BMW-speak identifies the vehicle as BMW’s sportiest. While the base X6 sports a 300 horsepower 3.0-liter, our tester had a 4.4-liter twin turbocharged V8 that pumped out an impressive 555 hp through an overly adjective 6-speed automatic transmission. That’s enough to wake you up in the morning.
We found the power to be excellent, although you’d have to be a true junkie not to like it. There is some turbo delay, but you can learn to work with it, especially when you know that in a millisecond or so 555 horses are going to wake up. Zero-to-60mph time is 4.5 seconds.
The suspension is firm, as you would expect from the M version. It isn’t too harsh or uncomfortable, but you shouldn’t expect the same ride quality as in a 6- or 7-series.
What annoyed us the most about the X6 were the brakes. Oh, they did an excellent job of stopping the car, but they squeaked. I have never had a car that was so annoying in that department. After a while of local driving, the squeak would go away, but it would come back next morning.
Even though it looks like a sedan, the X6, which is built on the X5 platform, rides high. It’s lower than the X5, but it’s somewhat disconcerting when you discover you have to step up.
With its sloping rear window, visibility out the back isn’t great. That sloping rear window covers a good-sized trunk that does expend with the rear seat backs folded. There’s also an extremely useful small concealed cargo area under the cargo area floor that we found to be ideal for clothes, etc.
The front seats offer decent side support, although I would have expected better. Each seat has thigh extensions for increased ride comfort on longer trips. Since we drove the X6 in early spring we appreciated the heated seats (and steering wheel) that are part of the cold weather package.
Only two people can ride in the rear because of the fixed console between the seats that has a pair of cupholders, an ash tray and cubbies. The rear seats are also heated. The rear seats also have their own entry and reading lamps.
Since I’m a believer in cruise control, both to increase economy and to reduce chances of speeding tickets, I liked the arrangement in the X6. First, when you set it, a marker on the speedometer shows the speed, but it is also shown digitally on the heads up display. You can also use the HUD to set the speed at the speed limit, then “unset” it, while the digital speedometer shows actual speed, so you can make a comparison.
BMW has made tremendous strides in its iDrive since the introduction, but the screen is still confusing. There are almost too many options. And I almost destroyed the dash trying to get into the glove box, before I noticed the small button hidden under a panel.
The BMW X6 has many virtues and a couple of quirks. If I had that much discretionary income, it’s a vehicle I might seriously consider.
©2011 The Auto Page