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by David Zalstein

The second-generation BMW X6 has been spotted testing in near-production-ready prototype form for the first time.

Expected to start production at BMW‘s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina in August 2014 alongside its X3, X4 and X5 siblings, the new BMW X6 should reach most international markets, including Australia, by 2015.

Based on the underpinnings of the all-new X5 – due to launch locally in November – the next BMW X6 appears set to take its styling into more aggressive territory, taking inspiration from the BMW X4 concept and its upcoming production version that’s due in local showrooms in the second quarter of 2014.

BMW X6 - 1

Seen with sharper lines on the bumpers, doors and rear quarter panels, the prototype also sports a more upright kidney grille, large front air intakes, lower grille inserts, trapezoidal exhaust pipes and large-diameter alloy wheels. These, plus the optional LED headlights, suggest the test mule has been fitted with a potential future M Sport package.

Looking lower and more sporting than the outgoing model, the new X6 is likely to be longer than the existing model with larger front and rear overhangs and feature greater headroom and boot capacity.

Powertains should be borrowed from the X5 and include a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel, a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 and a triple-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six diesel, all linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. A high-performance X6 M flagship is also anticipated to follow.

BMW X6 - 6

Incorporating technology seen on the BMW X5 eDrive concept unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt motor show, the most likely lighter new-generation X6 could also be offered as a plug-in hybrid variant.

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