$42,010 - $63,295

2018 BMW X6 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 BMW X6 was new.


Performance: 9.2

Performance is a high point of the 2018 BMW X6. Its handling characteristics belie its appearance; instead of driving like a lumbering SUV, the X6 feels like an athletic, light-on-its-feet sedan. The base six-cylinder engine is plenty powerful, with two V8-powered models on tap if you yearn for a higher horsepower rating.

  • "Even the entry-level inline six-cylinder engine provides brisk acceleration. Meanwhile, the V8 engine in the xDrive50i gathers speed with such smoothness and civility that you might actually prefer it to the hot-rod version in the high-performance X6 M model. Beyond that, the X6 delivers a nicely composed and surprisingly serene ride." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "The 2015 BMW X6 is so good that you can even drive it like a car, as the combination of sophisticated suspension control, a long 115.5-inch wheelbase, and 5,170 pounds of road-hugging weight make for a nice highway ride." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)
  • "The X6 is also beautifully engineered, capable, and as fun to drive as something more than 5,100 pounds, the size of a small water tanker, can be." -- Yahoo Autos (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Each of the three X6 trims (sDrive35i, xDrive50i, and X6 M) features a different engine, all of which are paired with a refined eight-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood of the sDrive35i (and its all-wheel-drive version, the xDrive35i) is a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. While this 300-horsepower engine is more than adequate to move this hefty SUV, BMW offers an even stronger twin-turbocharged 445-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 in the X6 xDrive50i. For even faster acceleration, the X6 M boasts a 567-horsepower version of this same engine.

This is not an SUV you buy for stellar gas mileage, but the rating for the six-cylinder engine is pretty typical for a vehicle this size. It gets 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. When outfitted with a V8 engine, expect between 14-15 mpg in the city and 19-21 mpg on the highway.

  • "Smooth shifting and a strong-performing engine are what you get with the xDrive35i. In our testing, it accelerated from … 0 to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds." -- Edmunds
  • "Under the hood, the X6's standard 300-horsepower inline six-cylinder produces lively performance. And the available 445-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 is powerful enough to make the high-performance X6 M model (reviewed separately) seem superfluous." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The xDrive50i uses a twin-turbocharged V8, and the X6 M uses a higher-output version of that engine for ultimate go power. All models use an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission, and all also feature an auto stop/start function that stops the engine in situations such as traffic lights where it would otherwise idle. The startups can be jarring and, if frequent, annoying. Thankfully it can be disabled with the touch of a button." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Handling and Braking

Only the base X6 sDrive35i comes with rear-wheel drive; all other X6 models have standard all-wheel drive. While this is a sizable SUV, it handles like a much smaller vehicle and is quite athletic. It feels composed and agile, and the suspension system keeps the ride comfortable.

  • "Just like a Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport, the BMW X6 offers athletic handling that makes it fun to hustle down a winding stretch of road. The suspension also delivers a smoother ride than you might expect from an SUV with sporting pretensions." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "In town, the X6 behaves very much like a BMW sedan, which is to say comfortable and responsive." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The X6 is inescapably large, although BMW's engineers have worked their usual magic with the steering and suspension. For a vehicle weighing between 4,600 and 5,200 pounds, it feels astonishingly nimble, with precise handling and excellent body control. Even though the ride is reasonably supple with the standard suspension, the optional adaptive dampers bring an excellent blend of comfort and sporty composure." -- Autotrader (2016)

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