RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair?

Jason · Jul 24, 2021 10:00 AM

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 01

When the E71 BMW X6 was launched back in 2007, it was unlike any other SUV at the time. So much so, it coined a new sub-segment BMW called the Sports Activity Coupe (SAC).

Instead of a square and upright profile of a traditional SUV (like the BMW X5), the X6 had a more slippery, sloping profile towards the rear end. To say the design was polarising was selling it short.

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 02

Copy my homework, but make it look different please

Nonetheless, other carmakers caught on to this SUV-coupe template, and this segment has now become more commonplace.

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As for the first-generation, E71 BMW X6, - unorthodox profile aside - does it constitute a good purchase as a used car? Time to find out.

Which is the best X6 variant to buy used?

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 01

Pre-facelift model pictured

The E71 BMW X6 was officially introduced in Malaysia back in 2008, retailing for RM 698,000. There was only one powertrain option, the N54B30 engine, a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre, inline-six (306 PS, 400 Nm) paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. 

Not only that, the X6 featured xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD), together with a torque vectoring rear differential, called Dynamic Performance Control (DPC). 

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 02

Facelift model pictured

In 2012, the facelifted X6 was introduced in the Malaysian market (RM 698,800), with exterior cosmetic changes to refresh its looks. More significantly, it featured a new N55B30, single-turbo, 3.0-litre, inline-six engine (306 PS, 400 Nm), now paired to a 8-speed automatic.

Whilst there is an E71 BMW X6 with a diesel engine, it was not available officially in Malaysia. Hence, we will focus on the inline-six, petrol versions. Both pre-facelift and facelift versions used the same nomenclature: BMW X6 xDrive35i. 

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 03

At the time of writing, you can pick up a 2008, pre-facelift E71 X6 for under RM 80k. Meanwhile, budget around RM 140k for facelifted ones. Personally, I'd save some money and find a pre-facelifted one that's well cared for. 

Why? Despite the new N55 engine, power outputs remain the same. Sure, there's a new 8-speed transmission, but for double the price? Would you miss the extra 2 ratios? Probably not.

E71 BMW X6 engines
Model/Engine Output Transmission

Pre-facelift
N54B30
twin-turbo

306 PS, 400 Nm 6AT
Facelift
N55B30
single turbo
(twin scroll)
306 PS, 400 Nm 8AT

Why plump for a BMW X6?

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 04

Similar yet different

First off, the E71 BMW X6 cuts a really striking figure out on the roads. Sure, it is polarising (some like the design, some don't). This much I can say, the X6 has more road presence than its stablemate, the E70 BMW X5. 

Beyond that, the driving experience of the X6 is a cut above its rivals (second to perhaps only the Porsche Cayenne). Chiefly, this was because of the X6's xDrive AWD and DPC combination (DPC is exclusive to the X6).

With torque vectoring, the BMW X6 was blessed with very capable dynamic manners. For something weighing 2.2 tons, it displayed a nimbleness that disguised its bulk very well.

When you pair its dynamic qualities with one of the finest inline-six engines found anywhere, you can see where this is going. In age-old BMW fashion, it is an engaging steer.

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 05

Still practical, even if headroom is slightly compromised

In addition, the X6 didn't forget how to SUV as well. It seats 5 adults comfortably (despite a slight reduction in headroom due to the sloping roofline), was relatively comfortable and typically well-built, if a little sombre inside. 

Supplementing that is the fact that the X6 has 570 litres of boot space to haul most things you care to throw at it. Yup, everything you want in an SUV. Sorry, SAC. 

Can I afford to maintain it?

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 06

To get a better idea of maintaining a E71 BMW X6, WapCar.my spoke to Mr Lai, owner of M Dynamic Auto Care, a workshop that deals extensively with BMWs. He very generously shared his insights with us.

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 07

Surprisingly, maintenance costs aren't exactly exhorbitant, though you won't call it a bargain as well. An oil change costs RM 550, brake pads are RM 1,250 a set. Spark plugs - which will need changing usually past 100,000 km - set you back RM 650 all in. Not bad at all!

Better still, Lai says these costs are estimated across the N54/N55 engine lineups.

E71 BMW X6 ownership costs
Road tax (RM) 1,640
10,000 km
service (RM)
550
Spark plugs
(set of 6)
650
Tyre/pc (RM) 1,300
Tyre size 255/50 R19
Brake pads/set
RM)
1,250

Any common problems I need to look out for?

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 08

N54B30 twin-turbo engine

According to Lai, the transmission (both pre-facelift and facelift) and suspension of the E71 X6 are not a source of much complains. Mechanically, the engines need a bit more attention.

This is where the N54 and N55 engines differ a little, Lai said. With the N54, things to look out for are a faulty vacuum system, direct injectors, and high pressure fuel pump (HPFP).

Repair and replacement costs are detailed in the table below, which is Lai's rough estimate including labour, because of constantly fluctuating spare part prices.

N54B30 common issues
Item Cost (RM)
Vacuum system 800
Direct injector/pc 1,800
High pressure
fuel pump
2,500

 

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 09

N55B30 single, twin scroll turbo, engine

With the N55, Lai comments that they are generally trouble-free. One thing to look out for with N55-engined X6s is a potential oil leak in the VANOS system. BMW Malaysia issued a recall to remedy this.

Lai recommends to check if this recall has been performed if you are looking at the N55-equipped X6 models. 

Conclusion

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 10

Sure, the E71 BMW X6 isn't as groundbreaking a product as when it was launched. Every SUV player now has a 'Coupe' version of its SUV. However, that is to understate things. 

In creating a niche that nobody asked for, the BMW X6 carved out a unique space for buyers looking for all the attributes of a luxury SUV, but served up in a more unconventional style.

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 11

Which begs the question, is the BMW X6 SUV-Coupe template a successful one? Well, it's in its third generation now, isn't it? For less than RM 80k, you can have a slice of that ingenuity too. As always, remember to do your homework. 

RM 80k buys you a new Vios, or a 12-year old BMW X6 (E71), but how much to repair? 12

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Jason

Road Test Editor

Jason's foremost passion is all things automotive, where he spent his formative working years as a Product Planner and Trainer. An Advanced Driving Instructor by training and an all-round enthusiast, Jason loves going into intricate details about driving dynamics. Will drive anything with 4 wheels and a steering.

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