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2015 BMW X6 Updated, Adds Rear-Wheel-Drive Model

While it's hardly the most sensible vehicle on the road today, the BMW X6 "Sports Activity Vehicle" embraces its in-your-face character and has garnered surprising popularity in recent years. The 2015 BMW X6 will take the original coupe-like luxury crossover into its next generation with more dramatic styling, reduced weight, improved fuel efficiency, and a new rear-wheel-drive variant.

BMW continues revel in the success of the X6, with 250,000 units sold to date worldwide. The 2015 BMW X6 will keep the original's wedge-like shape, but takes on noticeably more bullish, exaggerated features than the latest-gen BMW X5 on which it is based. From every angle the 2015 BMW X6 stands out with short overhangs and heavily-styled bumpers, bulging fenders and wheel arches, and pronounced character lines through the door handles and over the 19-inch wheels.

Inside is the latest gaggle of technological toys, which can be paired with either BMW's xLine or M Sport Trim. In addition to the standard 10.2-inch display screen and heated Dakota leather front seats (heated rear seats are available) is an impressive lineup of available safety technology that includes lane departure warning, pedestrian and collision warning with auto braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, as well as auto-park and parking assist systems.

As in the latest X5, the BMW X6 adds a handy 40/20/40 split second-row. There's also a standard power glass sunroof that is now nearly five inches longer than before, plus available Dynamic Handling technology and Adaptive M suspension. Befitting of the X6's all-out attitude, no amenity has been spared on the latest generation luxury crossover.

Like the recently updated X5, the 2015 BMW X6 gains a new rear-wheel-drive variant. Dubbed the sDrive35i, the latest X6 model uses BMW's well-traveled 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged straight-six engine, good for 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The xDrive 35i is still available, as is the xDrive 50i model with its turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. The V-8 engine adds Valvetronic variable valve lift feature, which boosts output from the 50i's V-8 to 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque—45 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque more than before.

The 2015 BMW X6 is able to shed some weight thanks to increased use of high-strength steel, aluminum, and magnesium. Despite the increase in standard equipment, a new X6 would still weigh 35-55 pounds less than a comparably equipped model from the last generation. Although EPA ratings are not yet available, the X6 will also benefit from better fuel economy.

The combination of increased power and reduced weight helps make the X6 faster. The s- and xDrive35i will accelerate to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds while the xDrive50i does the deed in 4.8 seconds, representing improvements of 0.3 and 0.4 seconds compared to the outgoing X6.

Pricing for the 2015 BMW X6 is not yet available, nor is any word on the arrival of a future X6 M, but we'll keep an eye out in the coming months for any updates. BMW says we can expect to see the 2015 BMW X6 in showrooms in late 2014 in order to go on sale in January 2015. The X6's arrival will be timely, given that Mercedes-Benz will be hot on its heels with its own coupe-like crossover, the MLC, debuting as a 2016 model.