BMW has admitted its BMW X6 has been a controversial model, but says the coupe SUV has been vindicated by global sales and new upcoming rivals.
The X6 caused a stir when it was introduced in 2008 with an aggressively designed shape that also incorporated a dramatically sloping roof that limited its practicality despite being bigger than the BMW X5 on which it was based.
BMW has sold more than 150,000 X6 models globally, and the car maker has just released a mildly updated range in Australia that includes a new M Performance model called the BMW X6 M50d.
The worldwide success of the niche vehicle hasn’t quite been replicated with just more than 1700 local sales, but BMW Australia says that while it admits the model has polarised customers it is satisfied it has proved to be sufficiently popular.
“In a certain way it has exceeded expectations here, considering that when we first launched the car and the first feedback we had [from the media wasn’t always positive],” says BMW Australia’s product and pricing manager for the 5, 6, 7 Series and X5, X6 models, Christoph Priemel.
“It is a bit controversial and that is maybe a bit of a negative. It is subject to your personal taste. It is quite a radical car. But it links the coupe shape with versatility, so it is a unique solution.”
BMW says the fact rivals are now starting to develop direct rivals to the X6 also proves it has found a “sweet spot” in the market.
Audi has confirmed it will build a new Q6 model that will be a sloped-roof version of the Audi Q5. The company is also expected to create Q4 and Q2 models, based on the compact Q3 and still-to-be-officially-confirmed Q1.
BMW has also announced plans to build a smaller version of the X6, with an X4 model based on the mid-sized X3 SUV (pictured above) due in about 2014.
BMW Australia has reacted to criticisms of the X6’s reduced practicality by making five seats standard where before the model came with two rear seats and a three-seat rear bench as a $700 option.
The revised BMW X6 range sees some minor design tweaks and additional standard features such as Internet connectivity and that five-seat layout. Prices increase by $1000 across the board with the exception of the BMW X6 M that increases by $5500.
All engines remain unchanged from the previous line-up with the exception of the new M50d.
A more pronounced double-kidney grille forms part of the subtle styling changes for the X6. The X6 M50d and X6 M both gain a ‘power dome’ bonnet (below) as standard that’s less than subtle.
New trim options are also available, including red leather, and there are new paint colours such as Marakesh Brown that was introduced on the BMW X1.
Standard alloy wheels are 19-inch in size for regular six-cylinder X6 models, with the 50i and M50d fitted with 20s.
Adaptive LED headlights become a new option and are standard on the flagship X6 M.
Boot space remains at 570 litres, expanding to 1450 litres with the rear seats folded.
The BMW X6 also continues to offer as standard Dynamic Performance Control, a torque vectoring system that gives the coupe SUV another point of differentiation over the donor X5.
The system can increase the speed of the outer rear wheel with the most traction to help push it around corners, giving the vehicle better handling and stability.
2012 BMW X6 range
BMW X6 xDrive30d $110,900
BMW X6 xDrive35i $121,000
BMW X6 xDrive40d $127,400
BMW X6 xDrive50i $150,400
BMW X6 M50d $157,000
BMW X6 M $190,900