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Let there be light! BMW unveils all-new X6 with illuminated grille at the front

By Paul Connolly

BMW has given its X6 SUV coupe a complete facelift – complete with an illuminated kidney grille at the front.

The grille lights up when the driver opens and closes the car, and can be switched on manually for driving. (Thankfully, it can also be turned off completely while driving as well. And it’s optional.)

The all-lit-up grille will add to perceptions of the X6 as a flashy car – which means some people will love it, while others loathe it.

The German manufacturer claims the X6 invented a new segment – the “Sports Activity Coupe” – when it went on general sale in 2009.

BMW said it combined “the benefits of a high-riding, all-wheel-drive 4x4 with a slick, edgy design”. A second-generation car was introduced in 2015.

Despite its flashy looks, it was a sales success, with 443,000 units sold worldwide across two model generations.

The all-new third generation model is now on sale, priced just shy of £60k, with first deliveries in November. The car will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

It features a refreshed design, new powertrain, redeveloped chassis, a new flagship engine and increased dimensions.

The new X6 is 26mm longer than the outgoing model (to 4,935mm) and 15mm wider (to 2,004 mm) in width. It stands 6mm lower (at 1,696mm) with a wider front track (+44mm to 1,684 mm). The car’s wheelbase has increased by 42mm to 2,975 millimetres, and the new model also has a lower centre of gravity than its predecessor.

The car marks the debut of the optional illuminated BMW kidney grille, which forms part of the daylight running system. It will be interesting to see how it is received.

It is activated by opening or closing the car and functions whilst the vehicle is moving. The driver can switch off the illumination function from the iDrive Menu.

The new model comes as standard with 19-inch light-alloy wheels on Sport trim lines and 21-inch wheels on M Sport models. The BMW X6 M50i and BMW X6 M50d come with 22-inch light-alloy wheels as standard.

There are three trim levels: Sport, M Sport and M Performance.  Standard equipment on the Sport version includes Adaptive two-axle air suspension, a Sport leather steering wheel and aluminium detailing.

Vernasca leather upholstery is standard, while extended BMW Individual Merino leather trim is on the options list.

Standard spec includes 2.5-zone automatic climate control, while a four-zone system can be ordered as an option, as can a Panorama glass roof ‘Sky Lounge’ that features more than 15,000 graphic patterns in the glass roof to generate a display reminiscent of a starlit sky.

The launch engine line-up includes two petrol units and a pair of diesel variants from the latest generation. Interestingly, there is no hybrid or all-electric option… so far at least.

Topping the range is the BMW X6 M50i powered by a new petrol V8, while the M50d model features a six-cylinder in-line diesel engine and four turbochargers.

The xDrive40i and X6 xDrive30d variants are powered by a straight six petrol and straight-six diesel respectively, while all models come as standard with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Maximum power for the X6 xDrive30d is at 265hp while peak torque is 620Nm. The sprint from 0-62mph is 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 143mph.

The xDrive 30d will achieve an average fuel consumption of 42.8-46.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 172-159g/km.

The flagship BMW X6 M50i delivers 530hp with peak torque at 750Nm. It will make 62mph in 4.3 secs.

The latest tech is of course available. Standard spec includes Cruise Control with braking function as well as Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function that alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected.

Park Distance Control (PDC) incorporating a rear-view camera and front and rear sensors, is also standard as is the Parking Assistant for automatically selecting and manoeuvring into spaces parallel to the road.

Owners can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their car, and this BMW Digital Key can be shared with up to five other people.

The new BMW X6 is available to order now with prices starting from £59,340 on the road.

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