Spartanburg, SC – While opinions on its styling may be divided, there’s no denying that the X6 has been a sales success for BMW, with more than 260,000 sold since its 2008 debut.

It’s a hard vehicle to pigeonhole, straddling the line between sports coupe and utility vehicle. But obviously the X6’s incongruous looks strike a chord with those quarter million owners – who are probably the only ones who’ll instantly spot the changes for the 2015 model.

Now in its second generation, the X6 receives some visual and functional tweaking to its sheet metal while still retaining the distinctive wedge shape.

New character lines across its flanks add drama while visually reducing its bulk, and the rear haunches are now accentuated by a sharp crease.

Its face is framed by a more menacing version of the X-shaped front fascia worn by all of BMW’s X-designated vehicles, while the twin-kidney grille is wider, and sandwiched between re-worked headlamps. The nose is now more upright, and the blunt tush sports a ducktail spoiler beneath which are wider versions of the L-shaped taillamps.

While the X6’s sharply massaged sheet metal gives it a more aggressive and modern appearance, it’s also the product of hours spent in the wind tunnel at BMW’s aerodynamic test centre. Developed alongside the X5, it shares much of its chassis, design and technology.

Weight is reduced by 10 kg, thanks to extensive use of lightweight, high-strength steel, aluminum hood, and plastic fenders. Side air vents behind each front wheel aren’t merely sporty and decorative, they’re part of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics Strategy comprising intelligent, lightweight design, optimized aerodynamics and energy management.

Behind the X6’s front apron is an “air curtain” reducing turbulence around the front wheels. Instead of building up and creating more drag upon the wheels, the air is re-routed behind the wheel wells, where it’s channeled through those side vents.

As a result, fuel consumption has dropped by as much as 22 percent in some models, and coefficient of drag is reduced from 0.34 to 0.32.

Significantly more luxurious than its predecessor, the cabin is crafted with premium materials in what BMW calls a “layered design approach”. There’s plenty of high contrast between a variety of textures, colours, and real wood trim – and it all comes together in a look that’s elegant, yet comfortable. On top of the stitched leather dash is a free-standing, 10.2-inch graphic display, standard as part of the iDrive operating system, and accessed via the console-mounted controller. One of the best we’ve ever seen, it boasts the crystal clarity of a high definition screen – really helpful when using the rear-view camera.

2015 BMW X62015 BMW X62015 BMW X6 driver's seat
2015 BMW X6, driver’s seat. Click image to enlarge

The full-color head-up display shows speed, speed limit, entertainment information and navigation routes. Gauges are now fully digital.

Originally produced as a four-seater, the X6 now has seatbelts for five passengers, and its trunk space has grown by 10 litres to 580. Drop the 40/20/40 rear seats, and that number increases to 1,525 – 75 litres more than the previous model.

Initially, there will be two engine choices here in Canada, with a hybrid and range-topping X6 M to come later. Europeans will also be able to get their hands on a 3.0L turbo diesel with 255 hp and 413 lb-ft, and a tri-turbo 3.0L diesel with 381 hp and 546 lb-ft.

For now, we’ll have to be content with the 3.0L turbo-straight-six producing 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque in the the X6 xDrive35i, and a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 with 445 hp and 480 lb-ft in the X6 xDrive50i. Both engines will come mated to an eight-speed automatic Steptronic transmission.

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