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BMW targets Porsche buyers with new X6

High flyer: The X6 is the new flagship of BMW's 'X range'.

Bavarian brand casts a wide net with its sporty new SUV

BMW logo15 Jul 2008

BMW is aiming to lure Porsche buyers, seeking to underline the sports car appeal of its mould-breaking X6 ‘Sports Activity Coupe.’ Speaking at the launch of the SUV-based 4WD in Melbourne this week, product manager Paul Ryan revealed that BMW is targeting potential purchasers of the 911 as well as the X6’s more obvious competitor, the Cayenne.

“It’s for people who need functionality (for their everyday lives) … but who also want a car they can drive hard on the weekend,” Mr Ryan said.

“The ability to fit four golf bags – that is something that we had to achieve with this model.

“It also has to be very emotional, for people who specifically buy a car because it is unique, for early adopters.” BMW Australia spokesman Toni Andreevski added that the X6 is likely to capture buyers who have already had the ownership experience of something like a 911 or a Maserati.

To this end, the X6 was designed from the beginning to combine the key features of a coupe as well as an SUV – namely a strong driving experience and a sleek silhouette with a commanding driving position and good ground clearance.

BMW ensured that no body panels are the same as the X5 donor vehicle, despite the overwhelming number of mechanical and structural items shared under the skin (they are built together in the US).

For thew time being, the X6 is the sole BMW with its much-touted Dynamic Performance Control variable torque-split rear differential.

“Dynamic Performance Control … is one of the very key attributes of this vehicle,” Mr Ryan said. “It gives the car its coupe-like handing characteristics.” Other X6 exclusives set to seduce the sports coupe set include twin-turbocharged technology for the whole three-pronged range (including the fastest-accelerating non-M-badged BMW in the form of the 300kW twin-turbo V8 petrol), new sports-orientated automatic transmission software – complete with steering wheel-sited shift paddles – and new-design alloy wheels, including the option of 21-inch items.

14 center imageLeft: Maserati Gran Turismo, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz/AMG CLS.

BMW has also equipped the X6 to at least up-spec X5 Executive level, with standard 19-inch alloy wheels, sports steering wheel, sports seats, bi-Xenon headlights, adaptive headlights with high-beam assist, uprated audio and media interface technology and a head-up windscreen instrumentation display.

Furthermore, the German firm does not plan to offer the twin-turbo petrol six-cylinder engine in the X5, and nor will it offer lesser, single-turbo or naturally aspirated powerplants in the X6 in the foreseeable future.

“We’ve crammed as many things as we can into this car … we had to ensure we positioned the vehicle above the X5, and that it has key features for people to want to buy it above the X5,” Mr Ryan said. “We feel we are going to have a very high conquest rate for this vehicle.” Other vehicles in BMW’s line of fire include Maserati’s Quattroporte and Gran Turismo, the Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz/AMG CLS and E-Class, Audi Q7 and Lexus GS.

Interestingly, the Bavarian company admits that it is prepared for the X6 to conquest some sales from within, and even nominates which models in descending order: 3 Series coupe, M Coupe/Roadster, 5 Series, 6 Series and X5.

Unlike the 73 per cent share of sales that the diesels command in the X5 range, BMW expects a more even, 50:50 split between petrol and diesel in the X6.

BMW is confident it will easily find 300 or so buyers this year.

“Currently, BMW has 100 orders for the X6 … so we’ve already sold a third of our allocation, for a car that has not even been seen by most of the general public,” Mr Ryan said.

When developing the X6, BMW was adamant that the public would not confuse the new car as merely an extension of the X5 range.

“When developing the X6, we wanted to make sure we were not just making a derivative of the X5 but a halo model that is unique in a new category that we are defining,” Mr Ryan explained.

“It’s basically going to be the flagship of our X range of models.”

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