Part SUV, part sports coupe, the 2018 BMW X6 is an automotive amalgamation that stands out from the crowd. Based on the X5 midsize-luxury SUV, the X6 is less practical but more stylish thanks to its sloped roof. Starting around $64,000, its design comes at a premium but is still less expensive than the Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe.
You'll Like The 2018 BMW X6 If...
If you want a nonconformist sport-utility vehicle that’s more sport than utility yet still boasts BMW’s luxury and performance credentials, the 2018 X6 remains a standout. With an ample 8.3 inches of ground clearance and optional all-wheel drive, the X6 is also a worthy winter-weather hauler.
You May Not Like The 2018 BMW X6 If...
With its signature sloping roof, cargo space and rear sightlines take a back seat to style in the X6. Unlike the X5, there is no 3rd-row option, and BMW prices this “Sports Activity Coupe” higher than the X5. Mercedes’ AMG-finessed GLE Coupe rivals, meanwhile, win the horsepower war.
There are only minor changes for the 2018 BMW X6. Among them are updates to the iDrive infotainment system, upgraded navigation and new wheel options.
While the X6’s exterior lines are a departure from other BMWs, its interior will feel familiar to BMW buyers. As with the X5, the front seats are roomy and the seating position is high, providing driver and passenger a good view out front. A wide armrest/stowage bin separates the driver and passenger seat, and centered prominently in the dash is a 10.2-inch screen that controls navigation, audio and other functions via touch or a rotary dial and surrounding keys. Unlike the X5 that can seat up to seven with an optional third row, the X6 maxes out at five passengers, and those in back might feel more cramped due to the reduced headroom. Thanks to folding seats and its hatch design, the X6 has some cargo-carrying practicality, but not as much as the more squared-off X5.
Take one look at the 2018 X6 and you’ll probably come to one of two conclusions: You’ll like it or won’t. BMW took a risk when it introduced the X6 nearly a decade ago, and for some it was and remains a head-scratcher -- a coupe-like design with four doors and a rear liftgate, all lifted like an SUV. For its 2nd-generation revamp a few years ago, the basic contours remained but the skin got nipped and tucked, resulting in even more style. The X6’s most distinctive feature is its sloped roof. Whereas the X5 has the blocky profile of a traditional SUV, the X6 has a tapered top that evokes a stylish coupe. Some could argue the X6 lets you have your cake and eat it, too, by marrying a vehicle with the design of a grand touring coupe and the utility of an SUV.
The X6 isn’t just an amalgamation in the way it looks. The same is true of the experience behind the wheel. Counterintuitive as it may seem, the BMW X6 is one dynamic performer. First, it’s fast. The 6-cylinder models can do 0-60 mph in a commendable six seconds flat. Step up to the V8-powered xDrive50i, and you can hit that number in 4.6 seconds -- right up there with high-powered sports cars. Beyond impressive straight-line performance, the X6 has respectable cornering ability for such a large and heavy vehicle. One differentiator between the BMW X6 and Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe is that you can get the X6 in rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) vs. just AWD in the Mercedes. This is relevant because some sports-car purists want a rear-drive car. It also enables the BMW to undercut the Mercedes’ starting prices by about $7,500. When not trying to imitate a BMW M3, the X6 has comfortable highway manners. Two things to be aware of are its massive rear blind spots and the engine’s start/stop system, which cuts power at idle to save fuel. At least the latter can be remedied by disabling that feature with the press of a button.
Factoring in the $995 destination fee, the 2018 BMW X6 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just shy of $64,000. Stepping up to the all-wheel-drive X6 xDrive35i puts you over the $66,000 mark, and going further still to the V8-powered X6 xDrive50i will run you over $78,000. These are just the starting points. With options, these figures can swell by thousands. All-in, a V8 X6 can surge past the $100,000 mark. At its starting price, the X6 begins several thousand dollars higher than its X5 sibling but below its most like-minded rival, the Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe that starts over $71,000. The all-new Porsche Cayenne, meanwhile, starts directly in line with the X6 all while nailing the performance/utility equation. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their X6. The BMW X6’s resale value has historically held up quite well.
The 2018 X6 comes in two major forms: the sDrive35i/xDrive35i and the xDrive50i. The first two are 6-cylinder models with either rear- or all-wheel drive, while the last one comes with a V8 and AWD. The 35i variants come with Dakota leather upholstery, power tailgate, 14-way-power front seats, rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors, 3-stage heated front seats, universal garage-door opener, dual-zone climate control, and power-adjustable steering column. The X6’s standard infotainment system bundles a 10.2-inch touch-screen display with complementary rotary dial and key controls, navigation, and 9-speaker/205-watt AM/FM/CD/HD Radio audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and USB input. New BMWs come with Ultimate Care, which provides complimentary maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.
All-wheel drive is standard on the 2018 X6 xDrive35i and the X6 xDrive50i. That top-line model also boasts a more powerful 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine, 20-way-power front seats, upgraded 16-speaker harman/kardon audio system and 4-zone climate control. Numerous options are offered across trims, including Apple CarPlay smartphone integration (but no Android Auto), driving-assist packages that include features like active blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and automatic emergency braking. Other amenities include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging and in-car Wi-Fi, and night-vision assist with pedestrian detection. Performance options include a rear-axle air suspension with dynamic damper control.
The X6 has the design and attitude of a maverick, yet is wholly part of the BMW brand portfolio. It’s also a progenitor, spawning the smaller X4 and X2, along with rivals from other brands.
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Under the Hood
You have a choice of two engines in the 2018 X6. The sDrive35i and xDrive35i use a turbocharged inline 6-cylinder, with “sDrive” designating rear-wheel drive (RWD) and “xDrive” meaning all-wheel drive (AWD). If you want the potent, turbocharged V8, step up to the xDrive50i. All models use an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission, and all also feature an auto stop/start function that stops the engine in situations such as traffic lights where it would otherwise idle. The start-ups can be jarring and, if frequent, annoying. Thankfully it can be disabled with the touch of a button. As with other BMWs -- and most luxury cars for that matter -- be ready to spend extra for premium gasoline.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (sDrive35i, xDrive35i)
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,400 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (RWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (xDrive50i)
445 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg
Think of the 2018 BMW X6 as the more vivacious, less practical sibling of the X5. Whereas the BMW X5 midsize-luxury SUV prioritizes hauling people and gear, the X6 favors a sportier nature and design flair with its coupe-like form. This blending of a high-riding premium-crossover SUV with a sports coupe may seem strange, but the X6 has found success among laissez-faire buyers and a newer German rival in the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. The X6 packs a turbocharged 6-cylinder or V8 engine, and can be had in even more powerful form as the X6 M (reviewed separately). Form over function has a price in the X6. At nearly $64,000, the X6 starts over $6,000 beyond its X5 brother.