BMW X6 Performance
Reviewers just love the way the X6 drives. Many say it’s not only car-like, but even sports-car-like, which is high praise for an SUV. All trims come standard with xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel drive system. The ActiveHybrid X6, the hybrid trim, also has standard all-wheel drive. The X6 is available with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, a 4.4-liter V8, and a surprisingly powerful hybrid powertrain. However, the hybrid comes with a $19,400 price increase over the X6 xDrive50i’s price, while getting one mpg less on the highway.
- “Once on the road there will be a smile on your face, the power and grip of the X6 is nothing short of spectacular, considering it weighs roughly 5,000 pounds.”-- Motor Trend
- "On the surface, the X6 ActiveHybrid feels much like the all-wheel-drive X6 xDrive50i on which it's based. And that's a good place to start, because although we still find the vehicle's overall design and purpose confusing, it's fast, agile, and immensely capable, despite weighing in excess of 5200 pounds." -- Car and Driver
- "The sport suspension smothers pavement imperfections fairly well. Rougher roads bring out unwanted side-to-side body motions and some impact harshness.” -- Consumer Guide
Acceleration and Power
Reviewers agree that for such a heavy vehicle, the BMW X6 has plenty of get-up-and-go with any of its engine options. The X6 is available with three powerplants, all of which feature xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel drive system. Buyers can choose from a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six in the xDrive35i, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the xDrive50i and a gas-electric hybrid twin-turbo V8 in the ActiveHybrid model. The 35i’s 3.0-liter inline-six makes 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, and gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The 4.4-liter V8 that comes with the xDrive50i makes 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, while getting 14/20 mpg city/highway.
Reviewers love that the ActiveHybrid X6’s engine makes 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, which is the same as the xDrive50i’s gas-powered V8 and an unusually large amount of power for a hybrid. In fact, the hybrid powertrain is so powerful that it beats the base xDrive35i by a full 100 horsepower and a whopping 150 pound-feet of torque. However, keep in mind that not only will opting for the hybrid powertrain run you $30,000 more than the X6’s base price, but the hybrid actually has lower fuel economy ratings in the city and on the highway than the base 35i, and lower highway gas mileage than the 50i. The ActiveHybrid gets 17/19 mpg city/highway. If you’re still sticking to your guns and are considering the hybrid powertrain, you’ll be happy to know that reviewers have high praise for the engine’s performance.
Out of the three drastically different models, reviewers prefer the xDrive50i. They feel the ActiveHybrid offers few rewards for its sky-high price, and the base xDrive35i’s inline-six engine is not quite as powerful as they would like. The xDrive50i is the best compromise between powerful performance and price.
- "Acceleration is brisk with either of the available engines (the 300-hp 35i is definitely more than enough).” -- Edmunds
- "With the 6-speed automatic transmission, xDrive35i and xDrive50i have strong acceleration from a stop and in highway passing and merging. Neither engine shows any noticeable turbo lag.” -- Consumer Guide
- "You have a variety of engine options for the BMW X6; from the 300 horsepower, 3.0-liter I-6, to the awesome 555-horsepower, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 found in the X6M. It doesn't matter which you choose, all will put a smile on your face.” -- Motor Trend
Handling and Braking
The gas-powered BMW X6’s handling is especially sporty for an SUV, with good cornering and excellent grip. However, some reviewers say that its sporty ride may be a downside for shoppers looking for a comfortable commuter vehicle. The automotive press agrees that the all-new 2012 X6 ActiveHybrid model handles almost as well as the gas-powered models in every aspect except for its brakes, though some mention that the ActiveHybrid’s brakes are too soft for such a big, heavy SUV. For better performance on its non-hybrid models, BMW offers two different sport packages that offer features like run-flat tires, adaptive drive controls and sport seats.
- "Cornering prowess is impressive thanks to a balanced weight distribution, wide, sticky tires and an all-wheel-drive system with lots of electronic features. The steering is great when going fast, but the effort level is a bit too heavy at low speed.” -- Edmunds
- "Dry-road grip and balance are very good on X6 models with the sport suspension and 20-inch wheels. On wet surfaces, X6s so equipped become more skittish, with lots of slowing required before entering corners. Some testers find the steering to be too heavy at low speeds. One test X6 suffered from touchy brake-pedal action, making it difficult to stop smoothly.” -- Consumer Guide
- "Unlike the 7-series hybrid's electrically assisted brakes, which we said remained firm and linear despite their regenerative capability, the X6 hybrid's felt rubbery and isolated. We eventually got used to them, but the initial lack of confidence wasn't good in something approaching three tons." -- Car and Driver