$14,551 - $14,744

2010 BMW X6 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 BMW X6 was new.


Performance: 8.7

The 2010 BMW X6's trump card is its sports car-like performance, which makes it unique among midsize SUVs. Another plus is that all trims come standard with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.

  • "On the surface, the X6 ActiveHybrid feels much like the all-wheel-drive X6 xDrive50i on which it's based. And that's a good place to start, because although we still find the vehicle's overall design and purpose confusing, it's fast, agile, and immensely capable, despite weighing in excess of 5200 pounds." -- Car and Driver
  • "It will come as little surprise that the X6 is a very good driver. It has much more in common with a sport sedan than with any SUV, with typically BMW traits: direct steering, strong brakes, firm damping, and superb body control." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "What separates the X6 from others of its ilk is that it really backs up the claim to be what BMW likes to call a Sport Activity Vehicle, with performance numbers well beyond the realm of reasonable for ordinary SUVs. Looking at the data, you can see that the X6 matches up with the much-lauded 335i." -- Road and Track

Acceleration and Power

The base xDrive35i model features a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower. The xDrive50i model comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. Test drivers offer praise for both engines, noting they provide fantastic acceleration for a midsize SUV. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission which comes with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a sportier experience.

The new ActiveHybrid X6 is one of the most powerful hybrid vehicles on the market. It boasts a 4.4-liter V8 that's paired with two electric motors, which combine for a total of 480 horsepower. The hybrid powertrain is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Test drivers have high praise for the hybrid’s powertrain, noting that acceleration is excellent in any situation.

The EPA rates the 2010 xDrive35i at 15/21 mpg city/highway, while the xDrive50i offers a lower 13/18 mpg rating. Fuel economy isn't a strong point for the X6, although it's about the norm for a luxury midsize SUV. The EPA has not yet rated the ActiveHybrid X6, but BMW estimates it will get 19 miles per gallon in the city.

For higher fuel economy without the painfully high sticker price, consider the Lexus RX 350, which boasts an 18/25 mpg rating and costs $20,000 less than the base X6. The Infiniti FX's 16/23 mpg rating is also excellent for the class, and it costs several thousand less than the X6.

  • "Six-cylinder or V8, any X6 has strong acceleration from a stop and in highway passing and merging. Neither engine shows any noticeable turbo lag. BMW estimates for 0-60 mph acceleration are 6.5 seconds for the xDrive35i and 5.3 seconds for the xDrive50i." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Cruising through the city, we noticed the [hybrid] engine smoothly and routinely shut off and restarted at stoplights (unless we were in sport mode or if the battery was nearly drained). Accelerating using electric-only power could be done with a fair amount of throttle, unlike in some other hybrids where the engine cuts in at even a hint of pedal movement." -- Car and Driver
  • "Power, be it electric or gasoline-fueled, was readily available whenever we touched the accelerator pedal. As much as the drivetrain offered, we didn't get anywhere near the vehicle's electronically limited top speed of 130 mph due to traffic.” -- Autoblog
  • "This twin-turbo 6 is such a smooth, delectable source of motivation that it could be used to power a dentist's drill and you'd be happy to climb into that chair and pry open your mouth." -- The New York Times
  • "The X6 xDrive 50i is smooth and stealthy fast. Triple-digit speeds come so easily, the X6 could be [a] citation machine for the lead-footed. On highways, the X6 cossets you in such style and comfort, it feels, well, kind of slow. Then you look down and find you're doing double the speed limit." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

True to its BMW heritage, the 2010 BMW X6 is a great handler with a sporty ride. It comes standard with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. A $3,700 Sport Package comes with Electronic Damping Control, which provides more precise and agile handling. Though it provides a sportier ride, it may be too firm for those who are just looking for a comfortable daily driver.

Test drivers say the new ActiveHybrid model drives just as well as the gas-only X6. However, there’s one exception – the brakes. A few reviewers find the pedal isn’t firm enough.

  • "The X6 is quiet and rock-steady at high speed, with nicely tuned speed-variable power steering and big, capable brakes. The SUV delivers the fun and feel of a sport coupe through twisting mountain roads and absorbs bumps admirably in city construction zones." -- Detroit Free Press
  • "Unlike the 7-series hybrid's electrically assisted brakes, which we said remained firm and linear despite their regenerative capability, the X6 hybrid's felt rubbery and isolated. We eventually got used to them, but the initial lack of confidence wasn't good in something approaching three tons." -- Car and Driver
  • "Despite a curb weight past 5200 pounds, the X6 xDrive 50i often handles like a much smaller vehicle. Ride is a combination of traditional BMW firmness with a bit of the roll you get with tall vehicles." -- Motor Trend
  • "I can't help comparing it to a modern fighter jet that is so unstable that a computer is required to keep it flying straight. The X6 goes straight just fine, but throw it into a corner and a bunch of computers finesse the car's attitude to make sure you hit your apex. The result is a truly precise and dynamic ride that doesn't fail to impress." -- Road and Track
  • "Dry-road grip and balance are very good on X6 models with the sport suspension and 20-inch wheels. On wet surfaces, X6s so equipped become more skittish, with lots of slowing required before entering corners. Some testers find the steering to be too heavy at low speeds. One test X6 suffered from touch brake-pedal action, making it difficult to stop smoothly." -- Consumer Guide

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