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At last! BMW's 'facelifted' X6

2012-07-30 10:58

Les Stephenson

They’re big, bold and, frankly, brash but if you had the cash, I bet a lot of you out there (male and female) would look with lust at a BMW X6 and, as it happens, you’d be just in time to swop a fat wad of notes with South African animals on them for a 2012 ‘facelift’ model.

The first units have just arrived in South Africa and BMW gave a half-dozen to a lucky few to drive from Durban’s King Shaka airport to the Phinda private game reserve 250km away up the North Coast of KZN. And back, of course...


‘Facelift’ is what the latest BMW monster SAC* is being called and the differences between it and its four-year-old predecessor are very minor so don’t be looking for your neighbours to immediately notice its up-to-dateness.

Such a gentle evolutionary update is called taste... at least in some suburbs. And it will carry the cars for the next four years or so until the next X6 comes along – though you could argue a “next” is already here in the shape of the new M Performance X6 M50d, a monster triple-turbo diesel straight six for a monster car that puts out 280kW and 740Nm of torque.

Bring on the horsebox...

That gives you a diesel 4x4 that will nail the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.3sec but still claims an overall fuel consumption of 7.7 litres/100km.

The V8 engine of the BMW X6 xDrive50i delivers 300kW, the in-line six-cylinder diesel engines of the X6 xDrive40d and X6 xDrive30d generate 225kW and 180kW respectively. Emissions figures (based on the EU test cycle) are 7.5 litres/100km for the xDrive40d and 7.4/100 for the X6 xDrive30d.

X6 image gallery.

The all-wheel-drive X6 still looks like a coupe on stilts and steroids with its four big doors and a giant motorised hatch that has enough space beyond it for a lounge suite. Its swooping, curved lines are carried on wheels that wouldn’t disgrace a bus and the view from behind the steering-wheel is of the horizon rather than the boot of the car ahead.

The range’s prices – as I noticed from the sheet in the media pack after I’d hissed “Ouch!” at the numbers, some of them with seven digits – are up on average by R30 000 but what does that matter when the thousands are in the hundreds?

“Since its market launch, more than 150 000 have been sold worldwide,” BMW says, “which far exceeded the original plans. The continuing high demand for the X6 worldwide is impressive confirmation of the unusual vehicle concept.”

That concept today includes a range of ultra-powerful Twin Power turbocharged petrol and tri-turbo diesel engines, their xDrive system supported by dynamic performance control.

Lookswise, the front of the new cars is “characterised by exclusive athleticism and supremacy”. Translated, the front fog lights are now set in matt-finish recesses in the upper part of the outer air inlets to “emphasise the width of the vehicle”. Point that out to the neighbours.


The trademark BMW kidney grille has a three-dimensional frame and redesigned bars to bring fresh emphasis to that iconic item and, as they’re flush with the headlights, “create an additional horizontal line which likewise highlights the wide track and stable road-holding”.

Adaptive diode double headlights (BMW is claiming a first in the segment) are optional – though standard on the X6 M. Certainly they cut a brilliant swathe through darkness of the KZN back roads.

The tail lights are also part of the facelift. More light-emitting diode technology here: BMW calls it “more intense styling” into a “glowing light mass” that also emphasises the width and therefore apparent stability of the car.

Standard across the range are 19” alloy rims, on the 50i model they’re of a new double-spoked design in two colours. Y-spoked 20” alloys are an option, as is a power dome on the bonnet, perhaps for buyers who feel it necessary to make the bulldog power of the SAC even more apparent.

Leather upholstery on four bucket seats is standard; a rear three-seater bench is an option, but the luggage volume remains at 570 litres, growing to 1450 litres with the rear seats folded.


Various packaged options are also on the spec lists (prices included below) starting with the M Sport Edition which brings 20” M alloy double-spoked and two-colour rims and two tyre sizes front/rear, adaptive LED headlights, M sill covers, power sports seats, M-style Alcantara/Nappa leather on the seats, steering-wheel and shift paddles, M left-foot rest, stainless-steel pedals and BMW Individual anthracite roof liner.

The BMW X6 M is fitted with a six-speed M Sport automatic transmission, each of the other models have an eight-speed sports auto gearbox.

Other driver assistance options include a comprehensive head-up display projected onto the windscreen ahead of the driver that includes speed-limit information, all-round cameras for a bird’s-eye view of the car in tight situations and an array of connections for smartphones and alternative music players.

*Sports Activity Coupe.

BMW X6 prices (ex-CO2 tax)

X6 xDrive 35i – R790 500 (+CO2 tax R800 418)
Innovations – R828 000  (+CO2 tax R837 918)
Exclusive – R826 000 (+CO2 tax R835 9178)
M Sport – R857 000 (+CO2 tax R866 918)
Individual – R876 000 (+CO2 tax R885 918)

X6 xDrive 40d – R847 000 (+CO2 tax R853 669)
Innovations – R884 500 (+CO2 tax R891169)
Exclusive – R882 500 (+CO2 tax R889 169)
M Sport – R913 500 (+CO2 tax R920169)
Individual – R932 700 (+CO2 tax R939 369)

X6 xDrive 50i – R978 500 (+CO2 tax R993 206)

Innovations – R1 019 200 (+CO2 tax R1 033 906)
Exclusive – R1 016 700 (+CO2 tax R1 031 706)
M Sport – R1 039 300 (+CO2 tax R1 054 006)
Individual – R 1 058 600 (+CO2 tax R1 073 306)

X6 M50d – R1 057 000 (+CO2 tax R1 064 182)

Which makes the most expensive (including VAT and CO2 tax)) model, in case you’re looking for bragging rights, not the X6 M50d at R1 064 182 but the Individual version of the X6 xDrive50i at R1 073 306.

Go to the BMW SA website for comprehensive information about the 'facelift' BMW X6.


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