BMW's controversial coupe-shaped X6 SUV becomes more desirable in this updated version of the third generation design. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Review

This revised version of the third generation BMW X6 offers some useful improvements, notably 48V mild hybrid engine tech and a much enhanced cabin featuring the brand's latest Curved Screen displays. Otherwise, the X6 proposition is much as before. Love it or hate it, you have to respect a vehicle that's sold in such numbers and which has evolved into something rather special.


Has there been a more divisive car than BMW's X6 launched in the last two decades? Possibly not. The original 'E71'-series first generation version debuted back in 2008 and the formula was pretty simple. It was basically an X5 with a coupe-style sloping back. Lots of people got very aerated about this, claiming that here was a car with the handling shortcomings of an SUV coupled with the limited practicality of a coupe; the worst of both worlds.

But then the X6 sold in serious numbers. In fact, BMW shifted more than a quarter of a million of the things before launching a smoother-looking 'F16'-series second generation model in 2014, which nearly doubled that sales tally before this MK3 'G06'-series version was introduced in mid-2019. It gained more competition in this form, thanks to the arrival of the Audi Q8, the Porsche Cayenne Coupe and a second generation version of the Mercedes GLE Coupe. Hence the need for this update in early 2023.

Driving Experience

Quite a lot's gone on under the bonnet as part of this facelift. The 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel variant most will choose, badged xDrive30d, gains a revised 48V mild hybrid system. That xDrive30d diesel puts out 298hp and makes 62mph in 6.1s.

The petrol alternative X6 xDrive40i model gets a new generation six-cylinder in-line engine which for our market can't be had in the X5. That 3.0-litre unit's 380hp output is up by 47hp compared with its direct predecessor, while peak torque rises by 70Nm to 520Nm - and can be boosted to 540Nm with the mild hybrid system. It enables the X6 xDrive40i to sprint from 0 to 62mph in 5.4 seconds. This petrol engine also benefits from innovations in the combustion process, camshaft control, injection, ignition system and exhaust gas routing, plus the latest VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control.

The only other X6 variant is the petrol V8 M version, now badged 'M60i', which also gets the 48V mild hybrid system.

Design and Build

BMW reckons the X6 combines "the robust presence of a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle with the hallmark sporting elegance of the brand's Coupes to create an unmistakably athletic appearance”, this BMW can even look quite handsome.

The updates are even more obvious inside, the dash de-cluttered of buttons courtesy of the installation of the BMW Curved Display we've been seeing in all the brand's most recent models. Here, it's made up of a 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch centre infotainment control screen, both located behind a single glass surface. The automatic climate system is now operated via permanently displayed control graphics on the BMW Curved Display, which you may or may not think to be a good thing.

The fascia's also been redesigned, with surfacing in leather-like 'Sensafin'. Plus there's a re-styled gearstick and a freshly added X6-branded ambient light bar with a crystalline surface structure and LED backlighting integrated below the trim element in the front passenger area.

Market and Model

Prices have risen quite a bit, but part of that is that is because 'M Sport' is now the standard spec level. The asking figures now start at around £72,000 for the base xDrive 30d diesel variant with 298hp. The petrol options start with the 380hp xDrive 40i at just under £76,000. Then there's the M60i with 530hp for around £93,000.

Inside, across the range you get standard 'Vernasca' leather upholstery, available in four colours and electrically adjustable and heated sports seats. Options include an 'Ambient Air' package. The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 20 speakers will be tempting too, as will the optional Rear-seat entertainment Professional system which comprises a pair of 10.2-inch full-HD touchscreen displays, a Blu-ray-compatible DVD player and two headphone jacks. The new Comfort Pack includes seat heating and a Heat Comfort package, which brings heating for the steering wheel, driver/front passenger door armrests and centre console.

As you'd expect, there's all the latest camera-driven safety kit. And, to suit the mood of the moment, BMW has included its latest automated driving tech too - though to get it, you'll have to specify the optional 'Driving Assistant Professional package'. This gives you 'Active Cruise Control', a 'Steering and lane control assistant' and 'Traffic jam assist'.

Cost of Ownership

Despite BMW's continuing refusal to offer its PHEV tech with this model, the X6 still makes a great riposte to those who rail against big, inefficient vehicles. While this Bavarian contender would find it difficult to deny the charge based on size, it's anything but inefficient and the addition of 48V mild hybrid engine tech as part of this facelift has made a useful difference. Thanks both to this and to the brand's BluePerformance technology (comprising a particulate filter, an oxidation catalyst, a NOx absorption catalyst and an SCR catalyst with AdBlue injection), the volume xDrive30d diesel variant continues to offer a reasonably efficient package. It returns a combined fuel consumption of up to 40.4mpg. The V8 petrol M60i meanwhile is a very different proposition, posting a combined fuel consumption of up to 24.8mpg.

What else might you need to know? Well, routine maintenance is dictated by 'Condition Based Servicing' that monitors oil level and engine wear. You can check all of this using menus in the 'iDrive' centre-dash display and the car will give you four weeks' notice of when a check-up is needed so you have plenty of time to book it. To help plan ahead for the cost of regular work, at point of purchase you'll be offered a 'BMW Service Inclusive' package that lasts for three years and 36,000 miles.


This improved version of the third generation model doesn't diverge too markedly from the template laid down by its predecessors. It's just better in every measurable regard; more powerful, more economical, quicker and less polluting. It's also built of superior materials, is arguably a bit better looking and comes with some tempting high-tech options. Admire it for what it is. The X6 isn't going away.



PRICES: £72,430-£89,910 - on the road


CO2 EMISSIONS: 184-193g/km [NEDC]

PERFORMANCE: [xDrive30d] 0-62mph 6.1s/ Max Speed 155mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [xDrive30d] (combined) 40.4mpg [WLTP]

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side, knee & window airbags, ABS, DSC+, run flat tyres, Driving Assistant system

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: (length/width/height) 4960/2019/1700 mm