Future Cars: It’s Deja Vu Time For BMW’s Next Generation X6 SUV

Ever since the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe was launched back in 2008, it has been widely regarded as a love or hate-it affair. Why? Because in BMW’s ever-growing quest for creating new niche segment vehicles, someone in Munich decided that blending a X5 SUV and a coupe-like hatch would be a good idea.

Now, while some combinations work well - like wine and cheese, some do not. BMW’s X6 approach was akin to mixing eggnog and mince in a blender. Some strangely warmed to this concoction while others didn’t.

Nevertheless, the Bavarian automaker believes there is still success to be made with this format, hence why a new generation X6 is currently full-steam in development.

Previously, we’ve shown you spy shots of the next-generation X6 trotting around the Nurburgring. However, now we’re skipping straight to main meal; with a rendition of the final product seen here in all its blue glory.


Okay, first impressions may have some checking their glasses, as it appears not a lot has actually changed; however on the contrary, it is indeed all-new.

The front-end now joins the rest of the BMW range with its headlights intersecting the famous twin-kidney grille for a more contemporary look. Below these are circular fog-lights and a front bumper arrangement that mimics that of the latest X5 off-roader.

Even the hood creases mirror that of its more conventional sibling, while the front fenders encompass narrow vertical vents - a design element seen on many other of BMW’s recent offerings. The glasshouse takes on an established approach with its ‘Hofmeister kink’ - again very similar to that of the outgoing SUV.

BMW have spiced things up with increasingly dynamic surface language - a sculptured ‘c-channel’ horizontally flows down both sides of the bodywork. This is then interrupted by a separate shoulder crease that flicks up over the rear haunches, further emphasizing the vehicles strong stance.


While we’ve yet to set eyes on the entire cabin layout, it’s expected to adopt most of the interior fundamentals from 2014 X5. Where it differs, is within the minor details. Dashboard design is rather conventional with a high-mounted infotainment screen and dashboard-wide walnut trim - again, following the new X5 in similar fashion.

Audiophiles will be catered for by Bang & Olufsen and there is a bevy of rear-seat entertainment options; TV, DVD and radio can be enjoyed via dual color screens and wireless headphones. 

Unfortunately, as our rendering attests - rear passenger headroom appears to still be a carryover bugbear from the outgoing X6. Head-banging aside, this Bavarian trendsetter is more about making a visual statement than a chariot used for ultimate practicability.

Under The Hood:

Beginning at the lower end of the spectrum, turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engines available in both diesel and petrol configurations should provide enough oomph for regular day-to-day duties. While at the other end of the equation, a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 will tackle the performance SUV arena once again in X6 ‘M’ format. 

Power will be transferred via an 8-speed automatic to the rear wheels in typical BMW tradition; however, the xDrive all-wheel drive system will be available for those adventurous folk that commute ski-field access roads, farm tracks, school runs and its biggest obstacle - the generic tree leaf.

For the ultra fuel-conscious amongst us, a plug-in hybrid may also be on the cards. If so, BMW’s Concept X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid is a strong pointer as to what system could be utilized. In that application, a 90-horsepower electric motor is mated to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine yielding at least 61-mpg.

Platform & Handling:

BMW’s ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ tagline is banded around a bit, yet it’s still applicable with the departing X6 - a decent steer, even if SUV’s aren’t your thing. So expect the formula to be tweaked further to emphasize its more youthful and sporting pretensions.

Base versions will adopt a fairly conventional setup, while higher-level models will tout Active Suspension Packages with adjustable comfort and sport settings. These utilize Dynamic Damper Control and air suspension at the rear axle for better body control and ride comfort.

Driver assist options are likely to range from Anti-dazzle high-beam lighting, Park Assist and Night Vision - the latter uses thermal imaging using Heads-Up Display to detect straying wildlife and drunken pedestrians.

Market Positioning:

As BMW’s range-topping Sports Activity Coupe, the 2015 X6 sits in a unique segment with little in the way of direct rivals. Until Mercedes-Benz and Audi front up with opponents, the Munich-based manufacturer has the Acura ZDX to battle against. Well, that’s until the unloved ZDX disappears from sale come January 2014.

Expect the upcoming X6 to debut late 2014 or 2015 at the latest; any longer and BMW will have to employ some creative marketing strategies to keep the punters interested.

Overall, BMW has a rather refined answer to a question that nobody really asked. Although I have to admit, such a niche vehicle does have an audience and sells in reasonable quantities. Coupled with strong heritage-bred driving dynamics and intriguing styling - it just may have the right formula to ensure that successive generations of ‘SAV’ come to fruition.

Finally, does the next X6 play it too safe for a redesigned model or has it hit the mark? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Josh Byrnes

Photo Renderings Copyright: Carscoops / Josh Byrnes




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