Take a good look at the BMW X4 when it arrives in New Zealand next month and you’ll get an idea of what the bigger X6 has to offer when it gets here next year.
Official pictures of the second-generation X6 show it shares a number of design cues with the upcoming X4, including a more upright kidney grille that is almost integrated with the headlights. Creases over the rear wheel arches are similar too.
The coupe-like four-door that BMW called a sports activity vehicle when it was launched in New Zealand in 2008 has been restyled for a more defined but muscular look. It is 32mm longer than the outgoing X6 but the height and width are pretty much the same. So too the wheelbase.
It shares its underpinnings with the latest X5 and there is evidence of that above the chassis. The front bumper, for example, is familiar, although tweaked on the X6 for a more aggressive look.
To improve performance and fuel efficiency BMW has used more lightweight materials and high-strength steels, including aluminium in the bonnet, magnesium in the instrument panel and steels and plastics in the side panels.
Helping to define the new X6 and reduce air turbulence are air deflectors on the front wheel arches that work with so-called ‘air curtains’ in the front air intakes and ‘air breathers’ on the side panels.
Inside, the X6 gets a reworked cabin with a choice of brushed aluminium or woodgrain panels. A three-spoke steering wheel is unique to the model and there is now a 26cm screen above the centre stack that is linked to the iDrive system.
The boot is good for 580 litres, up 10 litres. No word yet on what will be under the bonnet of the NZ-bound vehicles, but it is likely that we will get the same variants as Australia. Expect then the petrol-powered xDrive 50i and perhaps two diesels, the xDrive 30d and xDrive M50d. Channeling engine power to all four wheels on each model is BMW’s updated eight-speed sports automatic transmission.
The 50i is the flagship engine, a 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 delivering 330kW and 650Nm, or 30kW and 50Nm more than the previous V8. The straight-six 3.0-litre diesel in the entry-level 30d generates 190kW/560Nm, again more oomph than the engine in the outgoing 30d. The 50d is the diesel daddy of them all, the most powerful of BMW oil-burners. It is also a 3.0-litre in-line six but BMW’s go-faster M division has reworked it and added three turbochargers to produce 280kW and 740Nm, all the while claiming town-and-around fuel use of 6.6 litres/100km, a 14 per cent gain on the previous model.