G06 series X6: production starts in October

G06 series X6: production starts in October

It would be fair to summise that BMW AG makes the majority of its profts from sales of SUVs. Former gaps in the numbers line-up have been filled by the X2 and X4 and the range extended at the top end by the X7. The company has also become especially good at bringing down life cycles, as the imminent arrival of the G06 X6 shows, just five years after the launch of the outgoing F16 second generation model.

At 4,439mm long, the second generation X1 is larger than the E84 original from 2009. It's also lengthier than the X2. F48 has been in production since 2015 and has BMW Group's front- and all-wheel drive UKL2 architecture as its basis. Production takes place in Germany (Regensburg), Brazil (Araquari) and the Netherlands (Born) with the X1 L, a special version for China, manufactured in Shenyang by Brilliance BMW.

Details of a mid-life facelift were released to the media in May. At the same time, the plug-in hybrid powertrain, formerly exclusive to the X1 L, will soon become available in the X1 for many other countries. This is the X1 xDrive25e. In North American countries, the facelift will be the main news for the 2020 model year.

The third generation X1 is expected to appear in early 2022. It will use FAAR, an evolution of the current model's front- and all-wheel drive platform. There is speculation that the new SUV could be one of the models which BMW will manufacture at the Hungarian plant which it announced in July 2018. This factory will be near Debrecen, the country's second largest city, about 200km east of Budapest. Initial capacity will be 150,000 vehicles per annum.

The next rung up the BMW SUV pricing ladder is the X2, which went on sale in March 2018, both in North America and Europe. The 4,360mm long X2 is intended to be a rival for the Range Rover Evoque.

There are several styling features which distinguish this model. One is the shape of the grille which looks like that of other BMWs, only upside down. The roundel on the D pillars is another special touch.

The second generation X2 isn't due for release until 2025, which should be around three years after today's model is facelifted. As with the next X1, it should be based upon Frontantriebsarchitektur. Mini will also use this architecture for all of its future models.

The current X3 was revealed at an event at BMW's Spartanburg plant in the USA in June 2017. Production started there four months later. The first versions were the xDrive20d, xDrive30d and M40i xDrive. The xDrive20i and xDrive30i were added in relevant countries from early 2018. The G01 X3 is 4,716mm long, which was a gain of 61mm. The rival Audi Q5 measures only 4,663mm from end to end.

BBA, the Brilliance Automotive and BMW Group joint venture, has built the X3 at its Da Dong plant in the Chinese city of Shenyang since April 2018. BMW's South African plant also makes the X3, production at Rosslyn having started in March 2018. This means that the US market has a far greater supply of X3s given that there are two additional production locations. The other plants making this model assemble vehicles from kits. Assembly in Chennai also commenced in March 2018. There should be a facelift in 2021 and then a new model in the latter half of 2024.

The second generation X4 is 4,752mm long. It was revealed to the public at the Geneva motor show in March 2018. Compared to F26, the original X4, G02 is 81mm longer and 37mm wider but slightly lower, while the wheelbase was stretched by 54mm. Weight distribution is claimed to be 50:50. The back seats split 40:20:40 and the boot capacity is 525 litres.

An eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox was standard for the first versions to go on sale, as was all-wheel drive. The global range, which the M40i and xDrive 30d joined from August 2018, comprises:

  • xDrive20i: 1,998cc four-cylinder petrol with twin-scroll turbocharger, 135kW/184hp and 290Nm
  • xDrive20d: 1,995cc four-cylinder diesel with variable geometry turbocharger, 140kW/190hp and 400Nm
  • xDrive25d: 1,995cc four-cylinder diesel with multi-stage turbochargers, 170kW/231hp and 500Nm
  • xDrive30i: 1,998cc four-cylinder petrol with twin-scroll turbocharger, 185kW/252hp and 350Nm
  • xDrive30d: 2,993cc six-cylinder diesel with variable geometry turbocharger, 195kW/265hp and 620Nm
  • M40i: 2,998cc six-cylinder petrol with twin-scroll turbocharger, 260kW/354hp and 500Nm

The X4's LCI ('Life Cycle Impulse': mid-life facelift) isn't due until 2022. The third generation model is scheduled to arrive in 2025. It will more than likely become larger still, probably being 4.8m long.

The fourth generation X5, revealed to the media in June 2018 and to the public four months later at the Paris motor show, switched platforms and uses an evolution of 35up, also known as CLAR, as introduced in 2015 by the 7 Series.

X5 production takes place only in the USA, but for the first time in the history of the model series, the X5 will be built in China too. That is expected to commence in 2022, coinciding with the model's mid-cycle facelift. The plant in question should be Dadong/Da Dong. BMW added assembly at its Indian plant two months ago.

Due to the X3 having become so large (bigger even than the first generation X5), G05 is longer then the previous X5 and available with up to seven seats. The tailgate is split, like that of a Range Rover.

Length increased by 36 millimetres to 4,922mm, width by 66mm to 2,004mm and height by 19mm to 1,745mm. Meanwhile, the wheelbase was extended by 42mm to 2,975 millimetres.

In the USA, traditionally the world's best market for X5s, the new model became available from November 2018 in two forms:

  • xDrive40i, 250kW (340hp) and 450Nm 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol with a single turbocharger
  • xDrive50i, 340kW (462hp) and 650Nm 4.4-litre eight-cylinder petrol with two turbochargers (not available in Europe)

There are also two diesel options for certain countries:

  • xDrive30d, 195kW (265hp) and 620Nm 3.0-litre six-cylinder with a single turbocharger
  • xDrive50d, 294kW (400hp) and 760Nm 3.0-litre six-cylinder with four turbochargers

Each of the four engines has either a gasoline particulate filter or an SCR catalyst, and comes linked to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission as standard.

An off-road package is optional. This includes underbody protection, air suspension and an electronic rear differential lock.

The X5 M50i was announced in May at the same time as the X7 M50i. Both are powered by a 4.4-litre biturbo V8 with outputs of 390kW (530hp) and 750Nm.

All versions of the X5 are due to be facelifted in early 2022. The successor is due in 2025.

As with the X5, the latest X6 uses an evolution of the platform which debuted with 2015's BMW 7 Series. Length is up by 26mm to 4,935mm.

Four variants, all turbocharged, have been announced so far:

  • xDrive30d     (195kW/265hp and 620Nm 2,993cc in-line six-cylinder diesel)
  • xDrive40i      (250kW/340hp and 450Nm 2,998cc in-line six-cylinder petrol)
  • M50d           (294kW/400hp and 760Nm 2,993cc in-line six-cylinder diesel with four turbochargers)
  • M50i            (390kW/530hp and 750Nm 4,395cc petrol V8)

As well as US build, which is due to start in October, there should be additional assembly in Russia at AvtoTOR's Kaliningrad plant. Expect a facelift in the final quarter of 2022 and a replacement in 2025.

The 5,151mm long X7 is a rival for the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover. Like the last of these, the X7 has a split tailgate.

As well as the addition of X7 from the final quarter of 2018, Spartanburg is having its annual capacity lifted by 50 per cent to 450,000 vehicles. All continue to be SUVs. Despite the capacity expansion, Spartanburg lacks stamping operations, nor is there an engine plant. Engines are imported from Germany and Austria.

The figure of 450,000 is based on two shifts in a six-day week. BMW says production could theoretically rise to half a million by operating the plant on Sundays and adjusting existing shifts but that such a scenario would only ever be undertaken for short periods.

BMW calls the plant Spartanburg, but its location is half way between that town and Greenville. It is close to Greer international airport.

There are four-, six- and seven-seat versions of the X7, the line-up being:

  • xDrive30d: 195kW/265hp & 620Nm 2,993cc six-cylinder diesel (single turbocharger)
  • xDrive40i: 250kW/340hp & 450Nm 2,998cc six-cylinder petrol (single turbocharger)
  • xDrive50d: 294kW/400hp & 760Nm 2,993cc six-cylinder diesel (four turbochargers)
  • xDrive50i: 340kW/462hp & 650Nm 4,395cc petrol V8 (two turbochargers)
  • M50i: 390kW/530hp & 750Nm 4,395cc petrol V8 (two turbochargers)

 A petrol-electric plug-in hybrid is expected later this year. The X7's mid-life facelift will likely take place in 2023 with its successor due out in 2026.

Reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com. That also includes more information on past, current and next generation BMWs as well as SUVs not listed in this report, such as the X1 xDrive25e, X1 xDrive25Le, X3 xDrive30e, X5 xDrive45e and X8.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.

This was the second feature in a series which looks at the passenger vehicle brands of BMW AG. The first centred on BMW cars, with a look at what's ahead for BMW M and then BMW i coming soon. Mini and Rolls-Royce will be examined in the final chapter.