Expect the new X6 to wear bolder styling than the outgoing model, with more of an emphasis on sport than the first-generation models (X6 M excluded, of course). It will be longer from bumper to bumper as well (by some 1.3 inches), which should help with the X6’s interior space, too. Wheelbase will also be stretched, but how much isn’t clear.
The next X6 will benefit from the same composite steel chassis used to underpin the new BMW X5. The big gain here is weight savings, which will be further aided by a switch from mechanical torque vectoring to electronic torque vectoring to shed even more pounds.
Under-hood, expect to see turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engines powered by both gasoline and diesel. The twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 used in the last X6 and X6 M will return as well, and all models will benefit from an eight-speed automatic transmission for added performance and fuel economy.
Underneath, base models use a conventional suspension design with steel springs, while high-end models get a self-leveling pneumatic suspension with adjustable ride control.
Electronics will utilize a system called “FlexRay” that allows for easier upgrades throughout the life of the car. This will impact not only the X6’s infotainment system, but even the CPU that governs chassis and engine settings.
Word is that BMW's hybrid version, the ActiveHybrid X6, will also return. Expect power to come from the turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine (instead of the previous model's 4.4-liter V-8), with a gearbox-mounted electric motor for supplemental power.
Look for the X6 to be joined by two other crossover coupe models in BMW’s lineup as well, likely to be named the X4 and X2. As their names imply, both will be smaller (and more affordable) than the next X6, which is expected to hit dealers by 2015.