BMW

2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i review

18 minutes, 9 seconds Read

BMW’s oddball X6 started the SUV coupe craze, but it has had a lot more competition 15 years since its introduction.

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What we love
  • Smooth and efficient drivetrain
  • Comfort and dynamic balance
  • Excellent efficiency
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What we don’t
  • Optional tyre pressure monitoring
  • Reflective cabin surfaces
  • Feels hefty at times

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2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i

I was still on the tools as a BMW mechanic when the first examples of the bizarre E71 X6 rolled into the dealership in 2008, and the strange hump-backed sibling to the X5 was met with deeply polarised opinion.

Some of us (myself included) believed the coupe-profiled large SUV was nothing more than a styling folly, conceived to demonstrate BMW’s daring Bangle design days weren’t behind it, and would be quickly forgotten in the shadow of the cheaper and more practical X5.

How wrong we were. Instead of being consigned to the archives and largely forgotten, a not inconsiderable audience loved its unique stance and unusual blend of SUVs and sports cars. Three generations on, the X6 is still asserting itself as a force to be reckoned with, and as for those rival brands that scoffed from the sidelines, well, they all have their own equivalents today.

Late last year, BMW introduced what it calls a Life Cycle Impulse – midlife update to you and me – for the G06 generation model, bringing a significantly revised look, refreshed technology and the arrival of mild hybrid engines.

Here, we’re focusing on the xDrive 40i to see if the mid-range X6 continues to be as strangely compelling as the version that started it all.

How much is a BMW X6?

As is typical of BMW’s model roll-out, you can expect the X6 range to grow alongside the arrival of a mighty X6 M and perhaps another mid-spec version to split the pack a little. For now, though, there are three to choose from in the ‘mainstream’ range.

At the top of the range, the X6 M60i is the only other V8 on offer without stepping up to the X6 M halo model, and brings monstrous power thanks to a pair of turbochargers and hearty outputs of 390kW and 750Nm. It costs $178,900. Despite the introduction of a mild hybrid system, power and torque figures are unchanged over the previous M50i equivalent, although delivery of torque is earlier in the rev range and lasts longer.

Opening the range is the $140,900 X6 xDrive 30d, which is the sole diesel representative of the range. Unlike the V8, its 3.0-litre straight six has an output boost with 15kW/30Nm taking peak performance to 210kW and 650Nm.

But the version we’re focusing on is the mid-range straight-six petrol, which has the greatest performance gains with the introduction of the 48-volt hybrid system and a bump of 35kW and 90Nm taking maximum power and torque to 280kW/540Nm.

Despite its significant engine enhancement, it costs only $4000 more than the diesel. Speaking of pricing, with the midlife refresh, all X6 variants cost $8000 more than their 2023 equivalents.

Notable inclusions in the base price are 21-inch wheels, M Sport body kit and brakes, all-LED lighting including adaptive headlights, black roof liner, panoramic roof, ‘verino’ synthetic leather, and colour-changing ambient interior lighting.

That said, our car had been treated to a number of BMW’s ‘equipment offers’, which added metallic paint, 22-inch wheels, an impressive Harman Kardon sound system and tyre pressure monitoring as part of the Enhancement Package.

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The optional M Sport Package Pro brings a selection of gloss and blacked-out exterior trims, M Sport seatbelts, and colours the standard blue calipers red as well as adding a sports exhaust.

Finally, and as the name suggests, the M Carbon interior set of trims boosts the cabin with sporty (and possibly lighter) carbon-fibre finishes. All up, the packs added another $10,700 to the bottom line.

Key details 2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i
Price $144,900
Colour of test car M Brooklyn Grey
Options Enhancement Package – $6000
– Metallic paint
– 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
– Tyre pressure monitoring
– 22-inch alloy wheels
M Sport Package Pro – $3000
– Red brake calipers
– Sports exhaust
– Black grille
– Tinted headlights
M Carbon interior trim – $1700
Price as tested $155,600 plus on-road costs
Rivals Mercedes-Benz GLE450 Coupe | Audi Q8 55 TFSI | Porsche Cayenne Coupe

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How big is a BMW X6?

Perhaps one of the main criticisms of the X6 compared with its X5 sibling is that not only does BMW charge a premium for the unique profile and stance, but the more coupe-like roof line comes at a cost to interior space.

However, in practice, the difference is not that noticeable. A 580-litre boot is generous and is easily accessible through a large hands-free operated power tailgate, while the second row of seating is still permissible for adults, if not quite as lofty as the X5, which has a 650L boot and more head room.

A majority of the space sacrificed is in the rafters; however, the difference is only felt when loading the boot above about the half-height point. A key difference is that the X6 has a conventional lift back, while the X5 has a split door with a fold-down lower section. Which is best is most likely a matter of preference.

For maximum storage, the rear seats fold opening up to 1530L of volume or a number of options in between thanks to 40-20-40 split seating. There’s also a space-saver spare under the boot floor, not the dreaded sealer and pump kit.

Storage about the cabin is also good with deep door pockets in both rows and more options to stow stuff in a deep central bin, and a useful compartment ahead of the gear selector that doubles as a phone slot with wireless charging in one half.

Dotted about the cabin, you’ll find four cupholders and the same number of bottle holders.

With the lowest roof height at the very back of the X6, a seven-seat option is not possible, while the second row is a true three-person bench but the two outermost seats offer the best comfort and space.

Up front, the X6 strikes a good balance of cosy comfort and supportive seats, while still managing to impart a sense of space thanks to a large panoramic sunroof. We particularly liked the tinting that allowed the light in without becoming oppressive on hot days.

That said, some of the glossy surfaces catch the sunlight and can be dazzling for the driver.

Standard equipment is relatively well represented with some attractive features included in the price, such as 12-volt power supplies in the first and second rows as well as the boot, electric front sports seats, an M Sport leather steering wheel, keyless entry and start with BMW’s NFC key card that replaces the conventional key with a card that can be simply kept in your wallet.

For those millennials who don’t even carry a wallet any more, the Digital Key Plus replaces any separate key with a compatible smartphone for locking, unlocking and starting the X6.

2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i
Seats Five
Boot volume 580L seats up
1530L seats folded
Length 4960mm
Width 2004mm
Height 1700mm
Wheelbase 2975mm

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Does the BMW X6 have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

A significant chunk of BMW’s 2024 update focuses on the technological proposition of the X6, including the arrival of its stunning all-in-one curved information and entertainment screen and digital instrument cluster.

Forming the centrepiece of BMW’s ConnectedDrive suite of technology and information systems, the beautifully clean Live Cockpit Professional offers access to a plethora of applications and services including both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay without having to connect via a cable.

As if the display wasn’t enough with a 12.3-inch driver’s cluster positioned with a 14.9-inch touchscreen behind the same seamless pane, there’s also an impressive head-up display with excellent full-colour graphics and a useful feature that displays the position of nearby road users in real time.

With so much technology stuffed into the new curved screen, it can seem a little daunting to navigate at first, but with a logical tile layout and intuitive swipe navigation along with BMW’s traditional iDrive-style control wheel, it’s fast and easy to find your way around.

We also very much enjoyed the augmented-reality option in the navigation, which imposes arrows to assist with route finding over an actual image of the road ahead. It’s not as distracting as it sounds, although we can’t wait until BMW incorporates the feature into the HUD for proper augmented reality.

We found the new and improved voice-control system to be very effective at understanding conversational/natural language instructions, while the customisable digital instrument cluster also offers numerous display styles and information to create a personalised panel.

Our time with the X6 was really only enough to scratch the surface of this impressive new information and entertainment offering, and with more time, an owner would thoroughly enjoy discovering and optimising the system to their own tastes.

Signing up to a MyBMW account unlocks more features and services and fully exploits the range of digital features on offer.

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Is the BMW X6 a safe car?

The BMW X6 has not been specifically tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), and as such does not have an ANCAP (or Euro NCAP) rating.

As the model range aligns closely from a mechanical and technological perspective to the X5 range, it may provide some insight into the X6’s potential performance. Click here to see the X5’s ANCAP report.

The X5 has a 2018 five-star rating that includes an 89 per cent rating for adult occupant protection and 87 per cent for child occupant protection.

A 71 per cent rating for safety assist might have been higher if reverse AEB were included, while the forward-functioning AEB was praised.

It is important to note that while current for now, the X5’s 2018 test results will expire in December 2024, at which time it will revert to untested unless put forward for retesting. Due to ANCAP’s evolving test process, older scores may not be comparable with more recently tested vehicles.

2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i
ANCAP rating Untested

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What safety technology does the BMW X6 have?

BMW has a reputation for offering safe cars with good levels of both passive and active safety technology – and deservedly so.

In the case of the X6 range, all versions have a respectable level of standard kit, including the most sophisticated level of autonomous emergency braking that can identify the most vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

It also has seven airbags including head airbags for both rows of seating and a driver’s knee airbag. There’s also a high level of active driver assistance technology, including a very effective but not annoying lane-keep assistant, front and rear cross-traffic alert, a crossroads warning, and adaptive cruise control to name a few highlights.

When parking, there is a long list of helpful technologies that aren’t intrusive, such as parking distance radar all round, a 360-degree camera, and a very cool 3D monitoring feature that allows the driver to position a virtual camera at any point around the vehicle to make sure there are no objects about to scuff the lovely Brooklyn Grey paint.

As our model was rolling on the most expensive 22-inch wheels and equally premium Continental tyres, tyre pressure monitoring is recommended for the obvious safety advantages, as well as potentially catching a puncture before it becomes unrepairable. However, TPM is only available as part of the $6000 Enhancement Package.

How much does the BMW X6 cost to run?

BMW offers an optional five-year all-inclusive service package that covers all scheduled maintenance for up 80,000km for an additional $3450. The standard Basic service plan can also be upgraded to the Plus schedule, which includes some wear-and-tear items such as brakes and wiper blades.

Unlike some high-performance turbocharged engines, the X6 can run on the most affordable 91RON unleaded, although BMW recommends 98RON for best performance.

While some manufacturers have fixed service intervals, BMW uses a system called Condition Based Servicing (CBS) that dictates how frequently a vehicle requires servicing depending on how it is used and driven and in what conditions.

Generally speaking, a BMW will want about 15,000km between services, but that could be increased or reduced if the vehicle has been driven hard, such as at a track or in dusty or very hot/cold weather for example.

Full comprehensive insurance for the X6 xDrive 40i costs $5050 per year based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates will vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals Condition based
Servicing costs $3450 (5 years)

Is the BMW X6 fuel-efficient?

BMW’s iconic straight-six cylinder engines have a well-deserved reputation for high performance, smoothness and refinement, but sometimes those attributes can come at a cost to fuel efficiency. Not so with the X6.

At the core of the X6’s B58 3.0-litre 24-valve inline six is a highly evolved version of the brand’s much-loved engines, offering smooth power delivery, impressive performance figures and a pleasant note.

However, bolted to it are a number of technological advances that enable typical BMW characteristics without the fuel bill to match.

For a start, there’s BMW’s TwinPower turbocharging, which is not a pair of turbos as the name might suggest, but a single twin-scroll turbo for a healthy boost, improved fuel economy but minimised lag (better engine and accelerator response).

It also has the highest-pressure fuel injection yet offered for the B58 engine, again improving fuel economy and power, while a 48-volt mild hybrid system is also added to the powertrain.

The net result is a solid and sophisticated engine that produces respectable power and torque, but during our time with the X6, we exceeded even the manufacturer’s claimed economy figure.

Even if it had hit the official 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres mark, the X6 is still pretty frugal for a large performance SUV, but as it actually managed an indicated 8.4L/100km, we’re suitably impressed.

We subjected the X6 to a variety of driving conditions, including three people on board and metropolitan and freeway driving, so expecting similarly good efficiency in day-to-day duty is not unreasonable.

It’s also worth repeating that the B58 does not have expensive tastes for fuel and is fine on a diet of the cheapest 91RON, although its full performance might not be liberated.

Fuel efficiency 2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i
Fuel cons. (claimed) 9.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 8.4L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 83L

What is the BMW X6 like to drive?

BMW’s original X5 proved that large luxury SUVs could be rewarding to drive, and the contemporary X5 and X6 of today are upholding that principle.

The X6 might weigh more than two tonnes and have a 216mm ground clearance, but it manages to hide most of its traditional SUV traits when pushed.

Firstly, the updated six-cylinder engine is wonderfully eager and, while subtle, the new 48-volt hybrid system feeds in a little assistance to flatten the already decidedly un-curvy torque curve.

Acceleration off the mark is brisk and the eight-speed automatic transmission has been well calibrated to deliver fast gear changes but without jolting occupants. The 3.0-litre engine also has a pleasant note that’s not unnecessarily brash.

Behind the wheel, the X6 offers a strangely paradoxical driving experience with the posture and driving position one might expect from one of BMW’s coupes, but with the commanding view of the road and light cabin more commonly associated with an SUV.

The ride and handling continue the yin-yang theme with smooth and precise steering and excellent body control thanks to adaptive M suspension. Although, the X6’s sheer weight cannot be entirely hidden despite the impressive performance, manifesting itself in some body roll and a tendency to understeer.

For more cash, BMW will supply air suspension which would likely improve the ride comfort, but the steel-spring version was adept at banishing lumps and bumps before they got to occupants despite the massive 22-inch optional wheels.

Living with the X6 was easier than expected, thanks partly to the excellent digital manoeuvring aids and beautiful resolution camera angles, but its overall scale does occasionally present parking and positioning challenges, particularly the turning circle which is big at 12.6 metres.

That said, you can forgive the X6 a lot for its rewarding dynamics and sharp manner on the road. Taking it off the asphalt might also reveal a modicum of all-terrain ability, but to do that would be to take this large but sporty pumped-up coupe away from its natural habitat.

Key details 2024 BMW X6 xDrive 40i
Engine 2998cc inline six-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 280kW @ 5200–6250rpm
Torque 540Nm @ 1850–5000rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission 8-speed torque converter automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 129kW/t
Weight 2165kg
Spare tyre type Space-saver
Tow rating 3270kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 12.6m

Should I buy a BMW X6?

Buying an X6 was once a bit of a rebellious move and a way to stand out from the crowd by sacrificing a little practicality in the name of style, but an ironic shift has occurred in the 15 years since its introduction.

Not only have coupe-profiled SUVs become somewhat commonplace and fashionable, but the X6 has found ways to mitigate almost all of the practical compromises it once brought.

It’s still one of the clear choices for fans of large premium European SUVs who want something a little different, but perhaps less divisive and easier to justify these days. That’ll upset the automotive anarchists out there, but there’s a much larger audience who understand what the X6 is about.

It’s not quite up to the dynamic package offered by Porsche’s Cayenne coupe, but its price is representative of that. And while Mercedes-Benz and Audi can also offer surprisingly well-rounded equivalents, neither can quite match the neutrality of the BMW’s balance of ride, handling and comfort.

So if you want something that’s a lot like the original SUV game-changer that started this surprising revolution a decade-and-a-half ago, it’s probably going to have to be an X6.

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How do I buy a BMW X6? The next steps.

BMW does offer new vehicle online reservations for some small SUV models but not currently for the X5 or X6. Instead, the ordering process is a little more traditional. For existing models on the ground in Australia, there is, however, a useful stock locator tool for finding a model including the X6s near you.

We liked the X6 xDrive 40i’s silky petrol engine, but it’s also worth considering the xDrive 30d that has a diesel 3.0-litre straight six with the same 48-volt hybrid system and identical levels of equipment to the petrol.

That’s worth considering, as BMW is renowned for its excellent six-cylinder diesels that promise even better efficiency than the xDrive 40i.

There’s no more affordable version, but with a bit more cash to spend you might be interested in the flagship (for now) M60i, which ups the performance stakes with V8 power but has a price that increases correspondingly.

While popular, BMW is not reporting any supply issues with the updated X6, and there are plenty of stock options depending on where you intend to shop.

Alternatively, you can search for BMWs for sale at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale/ and, as always, test-driving as many vehicles as you can before making an informed decision is highly recommended.

In the meantime, continue your research of X6s, all BMWs, and the models they compete with here.

Ratings Breakdown

2024 BMW X6 xDrive40i M Sport Coupe

7.7/ 10

Performance

Safety Technology

Ride Quality

Infotainment & Connectivity

Handling & Dynamics

Energy Efficiency

Driver Technology

Value for Money

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Fit for Purpose

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After ten years on the spanners as a BMW technician and a tenure as a project engineer, Dan realised that writing about cars was far better than a real job. More than a decade later he’s still at it, contributing to many of Australia’s leading publications including Wheels magazine, 4×4 Australia, Carsguide, Chasing Cars and, of course, Drive.

Domiciled with Australia’s most successful female racing driver Molly Taylor, there’s no room in the trophy cabinet for any of Dan’s accomplishments although he was once nominated for an International Motor Film Awards – Best Journalist Film, and he recently finished second in a Power Karts Raceway 16-lap grand prix against some children.

On the days Dan isn’t on the road somewhere in the world making suspiciously good stories, you’ll most likely find him at he and Molly’s joint venture – the MaD Garage – attempting to make an unsuspecting vehicle go faster without ending up in a hedge or on fire – more often than not unsuccessfully.

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