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BMW X6 (2009)

Published: 16 July 2007

Another 4x4 from BMW?

Yes, and the arrival of the new X6 means the Bavarian manufacturer will soon have a three-strong line up of 4x4s. Not that any of them are mud-tackling 4x4s in the truest sense, and the X6 will be BMW’s most road-oriented SUV so far. Or rather SAC, as BMW is bringing a new acronym to the market with its Sports Activity Coupe. Nearly a year ago, CAR Online first brought you some of the first scoop photos of the X6. Now we have the most accurate artist impressions to date and exclusive proof of the coupe-style slanting roofline. Read on for the full story.

So the BMW X6 is being called a coupe?

That’s what the marketing people are saying, though just like the Mercedes CLS it’s nothing of the sort. Nevertheless, as our artist impressions show, the X6 will have a distinctly slopping roofline. It worked for the CLS, so expect a raft of copies to follow if BMW can make this car a success. Expanding into new niches is all the rage these days and BMW will follow up the X6 with a couple of FAVs (Family Activity Vehicles), the first of which is due in 2009.

The X6 looks low...

Indeed it is. These are the first shots under the bulky disguise of the sloping roofline that gives the BMW X6 its coupe tag. On the one hand the car will be lower and less obviously a 4x4, and could avoid being tarnished with the anti-SUV brush. But on the other hand, room in the back is dramatically reduced. The X5’s optional third row of seating won’t be available, and the X6 will come as standard as a four-seater. A fifth jump seat will be optional.

So if the BMW X6 is lower and a ‘coupe’, will be it more of an ultimate driving machine?

Sounds like it. The X6 shares its wheelbase and track with the X5 which means double-wishbones all-round. Adaptive Drive should also be available, meaning adjustable damping and anti-roll bars. The X6's sloping roofline will mean a lower centre of gravity to aid handling - as well as very tight rear headroom (above). And BMW’s engineers will no doubt also tune the car to be a more sporting drive than the X5. Knowing how good the X5 is to drive, we expect the X6 to be one of the most nimble 4x4s so far.

What else can I expect on the X6?

The styling will be aggressive with big front grilles and a prominent roof spoiler. Inside the dash will be quite different from the X5's but you can still expect to find iDrive and various options including a head-up display. BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology will not make an appearance quite yet - although it's being worked on in Munich. Engine-wise, the X6 will offer a similar choice to the X5 with 3.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, with 272 and 231bhp respectively. Twin-turbo versions of both may follow whilst the range is topped by a 4.8-litre V8 with 355bhp. Model for model, the X6 will be around £3000 more expensive than the X5.

So when can I get my hands on the BMW X6?

BMW has slowly been stripping the disguise off the X6 ahead of a concept expected at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The real thing won’t go into production until 2008 at BMW’s Spartanburg plant in America. It will be built alongside the X5 as the two cars will share around 70 percent of their components. Together, production will total 160,000 cars per year, with the X6 only accounting for 40,000 units.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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