BMW unveils new X6

The new BMW X6

The new flagship sports activity vehicle promises better performance, handling, better looks and a host of premium features as standard.

The X6 is a very puzzling car. On paper, it shouldn’t work. It attempts to combine the best elements of a sportscar — sleek looks, acceleration and handling — with the most notable features of an SUV — so all-wheel-drive, elevated ride height and ground clearance.

The result, something BMW calls a sports activity vehicle (SAV), is a car that is neither overly sporting, because it’s too heavy and has too high a center of gravity, or much good on anything other than tarmac, because of its stiff, sports suspension and low-profile tires. Yet the original model has been a massive hit for BMW — 250,000 models sold and counting — and is even starting to spawn copycat models from other brands.

The new second-generation model, which will be officially unveiled at the Moscow motor show this summer, is more than just a facelift. The exterior styling is more aggressive and incorporates the company’s latest design cues such as the arrowed side air inlets for better brake cooling and more angular headlamps and a refined kidney grille.

As well as upping the style, BMW is also upping the levels of equipment and trim that come as standard on the car. That means 19-inch lightweight alloys, an eight-speed paddle-shift transmission, an interior trimmed in leather rather than fabric and the full Driving Assistant safety package all at no extra cost.

When the car goes on sale in December, it will do so with a choice of a V8, 450hp petrol or two straight-six diesel engines, one of which uses not one, not two but three turbochargers to deliver 381hp.

The new BMW X6

But whatever engine buyers go for, it will power all of the wheels all of the time as the company’s XDrive intelligent four-wheel-drive system is offered as standard on all models for the first time.

That will free up funds to delve into the X6’s options list and add a head-up display or one of the semi-autonomous systems such as traffic jam or parking assist.

The car will make its real-world debut at the Moscow motor show on August 27. Prices are expected to start at €64,000.