BMW's X6 is an oddity, but it's a successful oddity: the coupe-like crossover will survive to a new generation, and we'll see the new version of the SUV with new looks and a lighter curb weight early in 2014.
The X6's distinctive body-BMW calls it a Sports Activity Coupe-makes it something of a niche product in the United States (BMW sold nearly seven X5s to every X6 last year), but it's enough of a success in international markets like China and Russia to warrant a new version.
Autocar reports that some big changes are afoot, starting with the X6's look: it'll be more aggressive, perhaps borrowing some visual cues from the 4 Series coupe concept from earlier this year. It'll sit atop the X5 platform as usual, albeit a shortened version of it, so the final car will be taller (about 1.3 inches), wider, and longer. That should go a long way to fixing one of the current X6's major shortcomings, its lack of interior space.
Another focus for the new car was reducing weight. Autocar says that the new car's monocoque chassis will use much more high-strength steel, which should shave off a few pounds. That's good to hear, but we're a little bit disappointed to hear that BMW might save more weight by removing the X6's trick torque-vectoring axles. The new car would still offer all-wheel drive with some sort of electronic brake-based torque vectoring, which is more than adequate, but it would be sad to see one of the X6's hallmarks leave. We hear that base models of the X6 will lose the self-leveling air suspension in favor of standard steel springs (which would save a bit more weight), while top-trim models will keep the system.
The powertrains, meanwhile, will probably stay put. The X6 will continue with tweaked versions of the 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6 and 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 (in xDrive50i and X6 M states of tune). What's interesting is that we may see a return of the ActiveHybrid X6, which will mate the 3.0-liter turbo I-6 with a gearbox-mounted electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
With the new BMW X5 coming later this year, it's only a matter of time until the X6 follows. Autocar says we can expect the X6 sometime in the next 18 months, which points to a spring 2014 release date.