Does this car need any presentation or introduction? The BMW X6 E71, the very first X6, was to the underworld what the Transit was to the masses. It built the country. Or atleast the underground economy.
If with the Transit the car was used to literally carry the country on it’s shoulders, with occasional competition from the official car of the start-up entrepreneur, namely the Vauxhall Astra H station wagon, the BMW X6 E71 was very good as a status symbol and as PR car. I know a few cities were several video chat studios that bought fleets of BMW X6s, plasti dipped them in gold color and parked them in front of the college dorms and even university campuses, to offer a possibility for students to pay their college fees from their own pockets. And that is only half the story, because the BMW X6 also had a male client base, tattoo-covered machete-wielding fake-gold-chain-wearing gentlemen who chose other paths in life.
And I don’t judge these people at all, because the first X6 was exactly what they wanted and exactly what BMW delivered. They took an X5, which was already a status car in itself, and made it even more bling. They made it even more ridiculous, made it more imposing, made it wider, only gave it 19″ rims and up (the X5 also had 17″ rims options) and made it a Coupe, because the kind of man who has X6 has no friends anyway. At most the rear passengers will lie on the floor, tied by their hands and feet, with their mouths gagged. So the space in the back is irrelevant. Nor the fact that the visibility through the rear window is almost non-existent, because the kind of person who drives an X6 most likely graduated from the Nigel Farage Driving School, which tells you to only look forward and never look back. Sure, it might look disastruous to not consider anything else and keep steering forward regardless of the effects, but hey, atleast on the X6 you got the size on your side.
Moving on from the client base of the car, just as I moved on from Bira Moretti to Peroni when they gave me a modest salary raise, I don’t really have much to say about the BMW X6 E71 apart from the fact that it is a sportier X5, when the X5 is already a sports SUV. I said it’s wider and comes with bigger wheels for bigger grip because pretty much everything in the X6 is bigger, and the main departure from the pedestrian X5 is Dynamic Performance Control, an intelligent system that works in conjunction with the xDrive to provide as much traction and grip as possible in any situation, but only on tarmac. Because the X6 has nothing to write home about off the tarmac. Maybe driving on some grass or over a small puddle, but it should steer off the more rugged terrain and definitely steer off driving on the beach.
BMW X6 E71 Engines
- 3.0 l-6 Twin-Turbo N54 and N55 of 272 and 302 horsepower – First of all, you have the classic rattling timing chain which sits at the back of the engine, and the pre-2012 N54 version is especially prone to it, just as Julie Chen is prone to being called a less-than-intelligent sandwhich (Google won’t allow me to write the classic line BECAUSE INSENSITIVE AND HURTFUL WORDS). Then you have the classic oil leaks, the water pump and the high pressure fuel pump issues, fairly well-known and documented weak points of these two engines. The biggest problem, however, remains the fact that if you fill it with 10 pounds worth of petrol you won’t get very far.
- 4.4 V8 Twin-Turbo N63 and S63 of 402 and 547 horsepower – If you are interested in this engine, it’s unlikely you’ll care about running costs. First of all, the fuel economy is a real problem, because the urban fuel economy is as bad as 6 mpg. Yep. You read that right. 6 miles per gallon. And it’s not like you can drive it spirited or gentlemanly. And the direct injection engine is not compatible with LPG. The rest of the issues are with the injectors and the batteries, absolutely irrelevant repairs compared to the fuel economy. The “economy” in “fuel economy” is really stretching it in this scenario.
- 3.0 l-6 Turbo M57 and N57 of 235 and 241 horsepower – The old 235 horsepower single turbo M57 remains the most reliable engine on the X6, even if it is also the slowest. Unfortunately, these engines are reliable by design but most of them were driven as if they were stolen (some of them actually being stolen) and they haven’t received the necessary maintenance, so I’ll put “everything” on the issues list and absolutely everything must be checked before buying. This engine really is the internal combustion version of the “I feel lucky” feature from Google.
- 3.0 l-6 Bi-Turbo M57 and N57 of 286 and 302 horsepower – In addition to the general condition of the engine, the small turbo also has a tendency to crack. The idea is that the engine has a small turbo which works at low revs and and slowly engages the big turbo, the idea being that you have power all the time and you don’t have to wait for a certain powerband for the big turbo to kick in and thus you get rid of the turbo lag. It’s just that the small turbo fails quite often, just like the college students who were wondering whether to buy bread or beer with their last 2 pounds fail and gave in to temptation. Yes, and the N57 engine also has the timing chain sitting at the back of the engine but it’s not as prone to failure as the 2 litre N47 diesel.
- 3.0 l-6 Tri-Turbo N57 of 375 horsepower – Same working principle as above, only that you have 3 turbos working together instead of 2 turbos because why not have more issues?
4.4 Twin-Turbo N63 + electric of 479 horsepower combined – BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, for the sort of person who thinks about the environment and definitely didn’t buy it for tax reasons. But at least this engine has the highest torque of all available engines. In case you want to tow away the Buckingham Palace with an X6 petrol hybrid and show the royal family that they are in the wrong for buying Range Rovers consistently over the past 500 years.
BMW X6 E71 Common Issues
- It’s a very heavy car, so the brakes, suspension, tires and steering will be more tortured than your victims who didn’t pay you on time or tried to cheat you.
- I am once again asking to inspect the car very thoroughly because the overall condition of the X6 is pretty bad due to typical X6 owner’s maintainance routine. The keys to these cars were passed from hand to hand and many times they were driven and stitched together until the first major repair, after which they were passed on to the next fine gentleman who drove it into the ground until the first major repair came along and so on. Not to mention that most of them will have issues with the papers such as MOT, insurance or any sort of papers actually.
- The rear space and the rear visibility are not necessarily to be written home about, but I have already talked about it.
- The xDrive system is built only for tarmac really and is quite sensitive, as the front differential tends to fail often.
- I won’t write anything else because I risk having my legs broken in an pub. Or there is the possibility that some scholars in an X6 will kidnap me and take me for a trip somewhere in the woods.
BMW X6 E71 Verdict
An excess car for excess times. The BMW X6 E71 was part of the automotive industry frenzy where no expense was spared and money was thrown out the window, quite literally. Often from the window of a BMW X6, BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover, Audi Q7, VW Touareg, 7 Series, S Class and so on. Cars of excess, which were quickly wiped out by the crisis. But it seems that X6 remained a fan favorite and it sort of survived the 2008 crises. Is it worth buying one though? Only if you are extremely careful and thorough about what you buy.
Which engines do I recommend? For petrol power the 3.0 Turbo 302 horsepower unit and for diesel the single turbo 3.0 235 horsepower M57 if you want something more reliable and sane. But if you want a real X6, the answer is clearly in the 4.4 V8 petrol with at least 400 horsepower. Because if you insist on buying an excessive car, at least do it to the end.