The BMW X6 is a coupe-like four-door SUV with an emphasis on performance and design over utility. It shares much of its core structure and components with the X5, giving it off-roady qualities, while focusing on its road-going ability. Aside from its distinctive shape, the X6 does get several unique features to set it apart from the X5, including an available torque-vectoring rear differential. The BMW X6 has few natural competitors due to this unusual combination of aspects, although Mercedes-Benz recently announced its GLE-Class, which will go up against the second-generation X6 soon.
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New in 2008, today’s X6 gets its power from a range of engines, six-cylinders and eight-cylinders alike, all the way through to the massively powerful X6 M. With a base price tag from about $60,000 to almost $90,000, the X6 has its chief rivals in the Porsche Cayenne, the Infiniti FX (soon to be the Infiniti QX70) and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
From launch, the X6 was available in two configurations. The xDrive35i featured BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine, generating 300 horsepower. The xDrive50i used a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 making 400 horsepower. Both used a six-speed automatic transmission through 2010, and both sent power to all four wheels through a BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system,
Subsequent model years saw the introduction of the X6 M in 2009, which turns up the power on the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 to 555 horsepower. Upgraded suspension, larger wheels and tires, more capable brakes and advanced performance-tuned traction and handling electronics combine to make an impressive performance vehicle despite its size and weight. For the 2010 model year, the ActiveHybrid X6 offered a combination of power and efficiency that erred on the side of performance. Rated at 480 horsepower, it was an upgrade of 80 horsepower over the standard V-8 X6, yet delivered one more mpg on the highway.