Sleeker, South Africa bound BMW X6 finally bears all

Easily one of the most controversial vehicles ever made when it bowed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit 11 years ago, BMW has now, finally, taken the wraps off of the new, third generation X6.

The initiator of the rapidly expanding coupe-SUV trend, the long awaited rival for the Audi Q8 and the incoming Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the X6 borrows styling elements from new X4, X5 and 7 Series, and becomes the latest model to ride on Munich’s CLAR platform with dimensions of 4 935 mm in overall length, a wheelbase of 2 975 mm, width of 2 004 mm and height of 1 696 mm. This translates to a boot space of 580-litres or 1 525-litres with the 40/20/40 split rear seat folded down.

Measuring 26 mm longer overall with the wheelbase growing by 42 mm, the X6 is 15 mm wider and six millimetres lower than predecessor, with the styling traits from its mentioned siblings such as the wider kidney grille with optional illumination, standard LED headlights or the optional Adaptive LED as well as Laserlights and flared wheel arches being offset by the characteristic sloping roofline, upwards styled rear window line, a prominent bootlid spoiler and LED taillights similar to those of the 8 Series.

In Europe, the X6 will have a choice of two trim levels, xLine and M Sport with each bringing their own assortment of exterior fixtures such as a Pearl-effect chrome finish, high gloss black detailing, the option of a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) rear spoiler, faux carbon fibre mirror caps and a choice of four alloy wheel options; the standard 19-inch and optional 20 or 22-inch.

On M models, the X6 will ride on unique 21-inch light alloys, while the aforementioned M Sport pack receive upgraded M Sport brakes with blue calipers and the M Sport exhaust previously reserved for M models only.

Inside, the X6’s interior now mirrors that of the X5, X7, 7 Series and 8 Series in design and layout, with standard items being the Vernasca leather upholstery, heated electric sport seats, optional Merino leather and, in the case of the M Sport, aluminium inserts, the M Sport steering wheel, optional carbon fibre inlays and M Sport pedals.

In terms of equipment, either standard or optional, the X6 features a 2.5-zone or quad-zone climate control system, the BMW Live Cockpit Professional made up of the 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment system with 7.0 operating system and the 12.3-inch all digital instrument cluster, the new panorama Sky Lounge roof, ambient lighting, heated and cooled cupholders, wireless smartphone charger, dual USB ports and a 20-speaker, 1 500-watt 3D Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System.

New to the safety and driver assistance spec sheet are Active Cruise Control, Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking and Cyclist Detection, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Change Assistant, Lane Control Assistant, Traffic Jam Assistant, Lane Change Warning, Emergency Stop Assistant, Parking Assistant, 360 degree surround view camera system and Active Side Collision Protection.

Fitted as standard with the Dynamic Damper Control system and optionally, the Adaptive M suspension Professional with Integral Active Steering, the X6 can also be had with the auto-levelling, twin-axle air suspension system and, like the X5, the xOffRoad pack that consists out of an electronic rear differential lock, underguard protection, the aforementioned air suspension and four driving modes; Sand, gravel, Snow and Rocks.

Despite debuting in M50i and M50d guises, the X6 will in fact be offered in two turbocharged petrol and two turbodiesel flavours, all teamed to the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox with the sports-optimised ‘box being optional and standard on M models.

Starting the petrol line-up off, the sDrive 40i and xDrive 40i come powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six producing 250kW/447Nm, which allows for a top speed of 250 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. As their respective nomenclatures point out, the 40i will have the option of two-or-all-wheel-drive with the latter setup resulting in the benchmark sprint time being 0.1 second slower.

For now the flagship X6 until the arrival of the yet-to-be-revealed M, the X6 M50i carries over the now widely used 4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 that punches out 390kW/750Nm, meaning a top speed once again limited to 250 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds.

Making up the diesel range, the xDrive 30d delivers 195kW/620Nm from its 3.0-litre motor resulting in a top speed of 230 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, while the M50d adds three additional turbochargers and outputs a mammoth 294kW/760Nm. While limited to 250 km/h, the M50d will complete the 0-100 km/h dash in 5.2 seconds.

Set to make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the X6 will once be built at BMW’s Spartanburg Plant in South Carolina and go on sale in November. BMW South Africa has meanwhile confirmed that the X6 will arrive soon after going on sale globally, but only in M50i and M50d guises with pricing to be confirmed.

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