Premium midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door hatchback
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $19,090 – $70,500*

2009 BMW X6 Front

2009 BMW X6 Rear

2009 BMW X6 Interior

2009 BMW X6 Profile

  • Acceleration
  • Interior materials
  • Steering/handling
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy (except ActiveHybrid)
  • Rear-seat room
  • Visibility

All told, the X6 is a study in compromises. Though it accelerates and handles like a sporty coupe, the X6 will never be as agile, due simply to its sheer size and heft. The hatchback design makes it slightly more versatile than a sedan, but X6 is neither as roomy nor as comfortable as either a sedan or an SUV-especially in the back seat. With prices that could easily exceed $70,000 when new (with options), X6 is not a strong value. BMW’s own X5 is more practical, not much slower, and costs much less when comparably equipped.


Introduced during the 2008 model year, the curvaceous new X6 premium midsize four-door hatchback seated four occupants and straddled the line between sport-utility vehicle and crossover wagon. Slightly larger than BMW’s 5-Series midsize cars, the X6 featured a raised suspension similar to the company’s X5 midsize SUV. Competing against such vehicles as the Infiniti FX and Volvo XC70, these X6 models came in two trim levels, each with a twin-turbocharged engine and standard all-wheel drive. The xDrive35i had a 300-horsepower 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, while the xDrive50i got a 400-hp 4.4-liter V8. A six-speed automatic was the sole transmission, and it included steering-wheel paddles for manual gear changes.

Standard was BMW’s Dynamic Performance Control, which worked with the all-wheel-drive system to distribute torque between the individual rear wheels. The system was designed to improve steering feel and handling response. Safety features on each model included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. Standard on all was BMW’s iDrive control system, which used a console knob to control entertainment, navigation, communication, and climate functions. Options included BMW’s Active Steering, which was designed to quicken low-speed steering response.

Yearly Updates

2009 X6
The X6 was largely unchanged for the 2009 model year.
2010 X6
The 2010 BMW X6 lineup gained a gas/electric hybrid and a high-performance M model. The hybrid, called the ActiveHybrid X6, used a “two-mode” system that teamed a 4.4-liter V8 with an electric motor for 480 horsepower total. It could run on one or both of its power sources depending on driving demands, and it required no plug-in charging. The X6 M carried a 555-horsepower 4.4-liter turbocharged V8.
2011 X6
The 2011 BMW X6 xDrive35i and xDrive50i got an eight-speed automatic transmission.
2012 X6
The slow-selling ActiveHybrid was dropped for 2012. There were no changes of note to other BMW X6 models.
2013 X6
There were no major changes to the BMW X6 for 2013.
2014 X6
The BMW X6 received only minor changes for 2014.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

A 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine, rated at 300 horsepower, went into the xDrive35i model, while the xDrive50i got a 400-horsepower 4.4-liter turbocharged V8. Both engines mate with a six-speed automatic transmission. Every X6 has xDrive (all-wheel drive). Added for 2010 were the gas/electric ActiveHybrid X6, with a “two-mode” system that teamed a 4.4-liter V8 with an electric motor for 480 horsepower total, and the high-performance X6 M with a 555-horsepower 4.4-liter turbocharged V8. The ActiveHybrid was dropped for 2012.

Turbocharged dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 300
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic
8-speed automatic

Turbocharged dohc V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 400
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 450
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic
8-speed automatic
Turbocharged dohc V8/electric1
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 480
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 575
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic


Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 555
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 500
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


1. Gas/electric hybrid. Power figures are for the gas engine and electric motors combined.

Road Test

We have not yet had the opportunity to drive any 2011 models with the eight-speed automatic transmission. On earlier versions with either the six-cylinder or V8 engine, X6 delivers strong acceleration from a stop, as well as in highway passing and merging. Neither of the engines shows any noticeable turbo lag. BMW estimated 0-60 mph acceleration at 6.5 seconds for the xDrive35i, and 5.3 seconds for the 50i. Those times seem accurate. Both models suffer from non-linear throttle response. Transmissions are smooth and prompt, particularly when using the manual shift gate or steering-wheel paddles. We’ve had no opportunity to test drive an X6 M or ActiveHybrid.

During road-testing, a six-cylinder X6 averaged 16.6 mpg. All X6 models require premium-grade gasoline.

Ride quality is affected by options. Models tested had the available Sport Package and 20-inch wheels. The sport suspension allows even the smallest pavement imperfections to filter through the cabin. Rougher roads bring out unwanted body motions and plenty of impact harshness.

Handling prowess also varies. 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. In any case, steering feel is excellent. Brakes deliver short, controlled stops.

Six-cylinder models have a slightly gravelly engine note under acceleration, which never completely goes away while cruising. The V8 emits a “muscle-car” soundtrack at full throttle but cruises quietly. Some wind rush enters the cabin by way of the exterior mirrors. The high-performance 20-inch tires roar intrusively on most types of pavement.

The X6 mirrors the X5 SUV for control layout, with most functions governed by BMW’s iDrive console knob and center dashtop display. Using iDrive for audio and climate controls becomes second nature once users grow familiar with its operation. BMW’s navigation system, on the other hand, remains among the more complex to decipher and program. The available head-up instrument display can show navigation route guidance-a helpful convenience. Cabin decor is both upscale and sporty, helped by ample use of soft-touch surfaces and materials, with visible high-grade stitching.

Well-bolstered front bucket seats provide plenty of support for any driving situation. A padded knee rest for both front passengers is a useful touch. Legroom is good, but headroom is tight, particularly when the seats are raised. Setting the seats higher is necessary in order to see over the unusually tall dashtop. Compared to BMW’s X5, the X6’s narrow door openings can complicate entry and exit. In addition, the X6’s sloping roofline creates large blind spots to the rear corners and pinches visibility directly aft.

Overall back-seat space is no better than in a compact sedan. Headroom is especially tight-another side effect of the sloping roofline. Narrow doorways inhibit entry and exit.

The X6’s hatchback design yields more cargo room than a traditional coupe or sedan. The cargo hold extends back a good amount, but it’s not very tall. A large under-floor storage area is welcome, and the lid has a convenient support strut. Interior storage consists of decently sized door pockets, but the center console and glovebox are on the small side.


Model Tested: X6 xDrive35i w/Sport Package, 20-inch wheels

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 3
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 6


Value - 4

Total: 50


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
115.5 192.0 78.1 66.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
59.7 22.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 37.2 40.4 35.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 X6 4-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - NA
Front Passenger Injury - NA

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Alarm system
Description: Occasional false alarms from the antitheft system require reprogramming the control module. (2009)
Engine knock
Description: A rattle or clack noise from under the hood when the engine is shut down may be coming from the turbocharger’s wastegate caused by pinched vacuum hose. (2008-09)
Engine noise
Description: A whistling noise from under the hood can be traced to a failed gasket between the turbocharger and catalytic converter. (2009)
Engine noise
Description: Timing chain may wear out prematurely. (2009-13)
Audio system
Description: Some iPods may not charge via the original USB adapter cable and a revised cable has been made available. (2007-09)
Suspension problems
Description: Front universal joints may wear out prematurely. (2010-13)
Electrical problem
Description: Several functions, including the sunroof, interior lights and rain sensor, may stop working due to a module software glitch. (2007-08)

Recall History

2009 X6
Description: Rear brake discs may not have been manufactured according to specification, possibly causing reduction in braking performance or, in extreme case, breakage of disc. Dealers will repair the vehicles by inspecting the rear brake discs and, if necessary, replace them free of charge.
2010 vehicles manufactured from April 1 through May 8, 2010
Description: The vehicles are equipped with 20-inch wheels, but the label states that the vehicles were equipped with 19-inch wheels and the stated tire pressure is incorrect for the equipped wheels. Improper tire inflation can result in premature tire failure or reduced vehicle handling performance, either of which can increase the risk of a crash. BMW will notify owners and provide correct labels free of charge. The owners will have the option to affix the label themselves or they may take their vehicle to a BMW dealer who will affix the label for them at no cost.
2010 X6
Description: Insufficient bonding on windshield could cause instability of roof during a rollover.
2012 X6 with turbocharged 8- or 12-cylinder
Description: Circuit board for the electric auxiliary water pump can overheat, leading the pump to smolder and/or start a fire.
2012 X6 with diesel
Description: Power steering fluid may leak from a defective steering gear surface and can cause a fire when it contacts hot exhaust parts.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.