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2012 BMW X6

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2012 BMW X6 Review

Impractical as it may be, you're not going to cross-shop it with a more reasonable X5, are you?

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview
In the hierarchy of its crossovers, BMW calls the 2012 BMW X6 a sports activity coupe. With a sloping roofline, standard seating for four, and a luxurious interior designed around the driver, it's not hard to see why.

This vehicle was never designed to be your soccer shuttle, boasting standard 19-inch wheels surrounded in grippy tires and a performance focus. Just this year, BMW finally saw fit to offer an option that allows a fifth passenger to sit in the crossover.

With power choices coming by way of a turbocharged 300-horsepower 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine or an available 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 capable of 400 horsepower, the 2012 BMW X6 hustles with brisk acceleration in either configuration. If 400 horsepower just isn't enough, though, BMW will sell you an X6 M with 555 horsepower and a recalibrated suspension, allowing it to embarrass all but the most powerful sports cars. The BMW X6 defies conventionality. Whether or not you understand the purpose, it somehow works, carrying the performance that strongly defines it as a BMW.

The Range

Bodystyle: Crossover SUV
Engines: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8
Transmissions: eight-speed automatic, six-speed automatic
Models: 35i, 50i, M

What's New

The unloved X6 ActiveHybrid model exits stage left this year, no longer joining the rest of the 2012 BMW X6 range in the U.S. market. In addition, the 2012 BMW X6 is finally offering with the option of a middle-passenger seat in the back row -- the first time since the vehicles' introduction as a late-2008 model. An iPod adapter, BMW Assist, auto-dimming mirrors, ambient lighting, and heated front seats were all added as standard equipment among other options. Heated rear seats were added to the cold weather package. Otherwise, the BMW Individual customization program has been added to the X6's options sheet.

Exterior

As the vehicle that started the crossover coupe segment, the 2012 BMW X6 is still the most uniquely identifiable. With a slant-back roof, wide tires on big wheels, and a hunkered stance, the BMW X6 looks like an X5 for the most part until you get to the rear half of the vehicle. Like it or not, the polarizing styling is an attention-grabber. Having two rear doors is more a matter of convenience than a necessity, as the more practical X5 sits in BMW's lineup at nearly the same price with little compromise in the roofline.

Interior

As the only crossover sport utility in BMW's lineup with shift paddles behind the steering wheel outside of the ultra-fast X5 M, it's plain to see that the intent with the 2012 BMW X6 was to blur the lines between the car and crossover offerings in BMW's portfolio. Accented in aluminum and covered in leather, the BMW X6 provides a sumptuous atmosphere for the driver and passengers. Options in the X6 include a headup display and a tech package with high-beam adjustment and side-view cameras. A (much-needed) rearview camera, navigation system, four-zone climate control, rear sunshades, and other features are available in BMW's premium package.

Performance & Handling

Handling more like a big 3 Series than you'd ever expect a 5000-pound SUV to do, the 2012 BMW X6 is a treat to drive when you don't have to look through its small rear window. Acceleration with the inline six is brisk. With the V-8 50i model, it's downright fast. And with the BMW X6 M's 555 horsepower, it's enough to terrify your passengers in the best way possible, hitting 60 mph in around 4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited 155 mph. It's far faster than any sane person would take a high-riding crossover, but BMW did its homework by getting the suspension setup right so the vehicle would feel stable at speed.

Safety

Four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain first and second row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, traction control, stability control and an all-wheel drive all come standard on the 2012 BMW X6.

EPA Fuel Economy

35i: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
50i: 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway
M: 12 mpg city/17mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Unique styling
  • Surprisingly nimble
  • Great engines
  • Beautiful interior

You Won't Like

  • Unique styling
  • Rear visibility
  • Cramped cabin
  • Limited cargo room

Sum Up

Impractical as it may be, you're not going to cross-shop it with a more reasonable X5, are you?

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Acura ZDX
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Porsche Cayenne
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

See the New 2014 X6.

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