Motor Review: BMW X6 xDrive30d

A vast majority of automotive screen space is occupied with reviews of lower-end, consumer-friendly, attainable-by-the-masses people hauliers. There is certainly value in that. Not everyone has $122,000 to spend on a head-turning palace on wheels. While the higher-end vehicles that occupy the upper echelon of the already exclusive luxury segment don’t get as much readable real estate, they are still certainly worthy of conversation. The 2020 BMW X6 30d is unquestionably a part of rolling-royalty shop-talk.

As with many other luxury SUV’s that fall within the hyper-luxury niche, the X6 30d doesn’t just ask, but commands attention. With a space demanding length of 4935mm and width of 2004mm, the X6 30d is a parking space hogging behemoth. To put its size into perspective, the X6 is half a metre wider than a Mercedes G-Wagon. Narrow alleys should be avoided at all cost.

As with many of BMW’s newer models, the exterior can be a point of contention among both enthusiasts and general consumers; one thing that we can all agree on, however, is that the styling is a firm reminder that we exist in the 21st century. It seems as if BMW has confiscated all of the compasses from the design department, as there isn’t a single round accent to be found on the 2020 X6. The angular front façade is muscular in appearance while still maintaining a sophistication that adds to the luxury appeal. The hexagonal shape of the standard adaptive LED headlights is quite Blade Runner-esque and adds intriguing modern flair. Another standout feature of the new X6’s frontal profile is the inclusion of active kidney grilles that open and close to most effectively improve both aerodynamics and engine cooling.

The hunchback, double-bubble rear styling is the make-or-break characteristic of the new BMW X6 that you either adore or despise; there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. While the sloping roof is the defining characteristic of the X6’s design, it does seem to subtract from the ergonomics of climbing in and out of the car.

Due to the X6’s monstrous ride height, most people with above average height will still find themselves having to jump in and hop out with slight difficulty. In addition to the physically challenging limitations of the sloping design, the decreased size and highly raked rear window add to blindspots significantly larger than a typical SUV. This will almost certainly be an adjustment for most, especially if you don’t fully trust the new X6, which might be a process to be learned.

Once inside the interior space is a sight to behold. Perhaps most immediately noticeable is the massive electronic presence that seems to dominate every aspect of the cabin. As a driver, you are immediately bombarded with attention-grabbing, twin 12.3” high-resolution displays that serve a multitude of functions. Apple CarPlay capabilities are as standard. As if that wasn’t enough, the new X6 comes with a fully configurable heads-up display, providing crucial speed and road information.

In terms of interior aesthetics, the X6 30d delivers much of the coddling that you’d expect from a car of its magnitude yet with a few amateurish mistakes that might knock it down a few notches depending on your level of expectation. The soft and subtle ‘Vernasca’ leather that envelops the majority of the cabin seethes with elegance upon every touch.
The high gloss ‘Shadowline’ trim adds a timeless depth to the door sills and glove compartment shroud without attracting too much attention. While pleasing to the eye when clean, the piano black trim is a magnet for fingerprints and requires the carrying of a microfiber wipe-down cloth in-order to maintain the sterile look. Another subtle, yet elegant, interior detail is the Alcantara headliner which, while often unnoticed, hints towards the fact that the X6 is near the top of the line where BMWs are concerned.
While there is much to praise about the X6’s interior, there are also a few finger-wagging missteps. It always feels like a cheat to recycle elements of lower-end vehicles on others from a higher class, yet the X6 contains a few instances of this. The indicator stock in particular lacks the premium feel of fluidity and softness when operated, the infotainment buttons lack tactility resulting in repeat attempts to press down on buttons whilst rear passengers get clunky cupholders from a lower-end model. While these points might not be a make-or-break issue, it is certainly a mild annoyance.

Fitted with a 3 litre, 6-cylinder diesel engine, piloting the new X6 30d is perhaps the most rewarding aspect. It is clear that it is much peppier than traditional petrol-powered vehicles in the lower rev range. Power delivery is smooth and civilised, with mighty acceleration. While the 30d accelerates more than efficiently, don’t get pep and speed confused. The 6.5 second 0-100 km/h speed is somewhat impressive, but I was always left desiring more as the power puffed out in the higher revs. This gripe can be attributed to the combination of diesel and the 8-speed Sport Automatic gearbox.

Steering input is pinky-finger smooth and airy, making bends quick work for the X6. Fuel consumption is another important touchstone and a potential reason for purchasing the diesel variant of the X6. At 7.1 l/100km, it can swallow 80 litres of diesel to cross the continent.

As for the ride, the 2020 X6 30d is equipped with the same soft, yet bumpy, suspension reminiscent of what you’d find in one of their sport-oriented sedans. The cabin has a constant shallow swaying motion upon hitting irregularities in the road, which some might find distracting. Unfortunately, even with the suspension switched to ‘Comfort’ mode, the sway persists.

The 2020 BMW X6 30d unquestionably belongs in a segment far above and beyond many of BMW’s entry level vehicles, yet disappointingly inherits quite a few traits from its less bourgeois brethren. That being said, these hand-me-down elements are often more of an annoyance than a deal-breaker. As a luxury SUV, the X6 30d provides a comparable experience to other vehicles in its price range, with additional tech and visual appeal.

By Amandeep Sethi

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