Munich - Originally hitting the scene as a daring coupe-inspired crossover that divided opinion, BMW’s X6 has become a key player in BMW’s ‘X’ family and now enters its third generation.

As you’d expect, the new X6 graduates to the latest CLAR architecture that underpins the recently-launched X5, inheriting a raft of technologies in the process, but this time around BMW has given it a more distinctive design. 

Whereas the previous X6 closely resembled the X5 from the front and rear, the new X6 gets a more shapely kidney grille and bolder front bumper, while round back it has slimmer taillights inspired by the 8 Series. Yet its biggest party trick is that the aforementioned grille now illuminates when you open and close the car - and this showy function can also be controlled manually by the driver and activated while driving.

For the record, the new X6 is 26mm longer than its predecessor, as well as 15mm wider and 6mm lower, while the wheelbase has taken a 42mm stretch to the benefit of interior legroom. Boot volume is better than you might expect for a coupe-inspired vehicle, at 580 litres.

The X6 is scheduled to launch in South Africa from November 2019 in two guises: M50i and M50d. Internationally BMW is also offering xDrive40i and xDrive30d models.

The petrol line-up is headed by an M50i model powered by BMW latest 4.4-litre V8 turbopetrol, which is good for 390kW and 750Nm, and the other option is an xDrive40i fitted with BMW’s familiar 3-litre straight-six turbopetrol, tuned to 250kW and 450Nm.

BMW’s 3-litre quad-turbo-diesel, with 294kW and 760Nm, powers the M50d model, while the xDrive30d flies the efficiency flag with a 195kW/620Nm single-turbo version of BMW’s six-cylinder oil burner.

As has become the standard BMW script in this league, all engines are mated to an eight-speed Steptronic autobox and xDrive permanent all-wheel-drive system, with a rear-axle bias in fast cornering situations. As with the new X5, the non-M versions are available with an off-road package that offers various modes for rougher terrain. These, as well as M Sport specced models, are endowed with a rear axle M differential lock. 

All versions are fitted with Dynamic Damper Control, while a two-axle air suspension system is available, along with Adaptive M suspension Professional and Integral Active Steering. Base models roll on 19-inch alloy wheels as standard while the M versions get 21-inch rims and buyers wanting the fattest ‘tekkies’ in town can order 22-inch wheels.

Inside, the X6 gets the latest array of BMW cabin features, including the Live Cockpit Professional with BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, as well as a high-resolution digital instrument cluster. 

Clients can choose from a long list of high-end features, including multifunction front seats with massage function, Sky Lounge panoramic glass roof, Ambient Air interior fragrancing package and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond+ 3D Surround Sound System.

The driver assistance menu is just as lengthy and includes gizmos such as Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Driving Assistant Professional with semi-autonomous driving capability, and the innovative reversing assistant that can memorise your prior movements to help you back out of tight spaces.

We’re currently awaiting feedback on the South African launch timing for the new X6. International deliveries are set to kick off from November.

IOL Motoring