BMW’s formidable line of SUVs is comprised of seven models sequentially named from X1 to X7. This German marque leaves no holes in its lineup, ensuring that there is a luxury utility vehicle for every shopper.
But BMW doesn’t stop there. Indeed, recognizing that many of its customers transitioned from coupes and sedans to SUVs and have also long placed a premium on speed, four models ranging from the X3 to X6 have “M” performance variants.
The largest of the four is known as the BMW X6 M and was a recent visitor to the Auto Trends test fleet. Specifically, an M6 Competition model with jaw-dropping output offered a week’s worth of on-road thrills.
2020 BMW X6 Review
The 2020 model year launches the X6’s fourth-generation (the third for the M line). This model continues to share the underpinnings of the X5 and offers a coupe-like design with a formidable expression. BMW offers this model in X6 sDrive40i ($64,300), X6 xDrive40i ($66,600), and X6 M50i ($85,650) configurations. Further, you’ll find a pair of “M” models known simply as the X6 M ($108,600) and the X6 M Competition ($117,600).
For the focus of this review, we’ll concentrate on the X6 M/Competition and its unique styling and performance characteristics. Likewise, any mention of the standard models is for comparison purposes only.
There is nothing subtle about the BMW X6 M. From its gangly shape to outrageous lines, this X6 is a beastly model.
The M lines simply magnify the look with its oversized twin-kidney grille leading the way. A broad lower intake and huge side cutouts along with LED signature lights add to the drama. Overall, it’s intimidating and overpowering – if you see one fast approaching in your rearview mirror, more than likely you’ll scoot over to allow it to pass.
Sculpted wheel arches, a high profile, and a sloping roof leading to a notched liftgate are among the other design features of note. From the rear, narrow wraparound lights and a diffuser highlight the look, but with far less drama and intimidation than the front.
You can fit five inside the X6 M, but it’s most comfortable for four. Access and egress to the rear seat is a bit challenging as you’ll have to bend your head to avoid making contact with the roof. Once inside, the rear seat is spacious, comfortable, and roomy.
The best seats, of course, are up front. Dual thrones with heating, cooling, and massaging features not only offer maximum support, but they’re thickly bolstered for spirited driving. Just make sure when you enter you clear the seat edges to avoid landing on one of the hard sides.
BMW interiors are among the best in the industry and the X6 lives up to that expectation. The interiors, particularly on the top trims, feature high-end leathers, aluminum edges, quilted inserts, and Alcantara headliners. Not a plastic surface anywhere. Ambient and nighttime lighting add to the mystique.
The tech goodies are apparent in the X6 M. BMW supplies this model with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with HD Radio, satellite radio, a CD player, connected services, and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility. Sorry, no Android Auto.
Other features include wireless charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the usual USB inputs.
BMW supplies the X6 M with multiple driver-assist features, including active driving assistant. This suite includes frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation and lane departure warning.
Automatic high beams, active blind-spot detection, surround-view cameras, and active park distance control are also included.
By now, you’ve likely figured out that the X6 M is mostly about performance. Under the hood is BMW’s most powerful V8 engine, a twin-turbo beauty displacing 4.4-liters. This engine is found in a variety of applications and typically punctuates all things M.
In its normal mode, it makes 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That alone is laudable, enabling this strapping SUV to move from 0-60 mph in about 4 seconds. If you want to move just under that threshold, then choose either M model with special engine tuning. Here, you’ll find a whopping 600 or 617 horsepower at the ready. BMW routes power to all four wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Doubtlessly, the X6 M is loud. And fast. Engage the ignition and the engine rumbles to life and sends out a boom throw the exhaust system. That system is adjustable, allowing for a louder cacophony as desired. Your neighbors, though, may appreciate a more silent approach, something you can supply by deactivating the soundtrack until you’re on the open road.
The X6 is heavy, with the fully loaded Competition weighing just over two-and-one-half tons. That’s a lot of weight to move, but the bigly V8 does so with ease. Step-off acceleration is amazing – the twin turbos conspire to develop power flawlessly and consistently. If you want to make the run up to 100 mph, this engine never flags in zeal.
Weighed steering, direct handling, and a wonderful connection to the road are among this SUV’s hallmarks. It doesn’t have quite the on-road chops of an M4, but it is close.
Despite its high profile, the X6 M stays the course, handling twisty roads with ease and pulling out of corners on point, thanks largely to its rear bias. Certainly, this SUV is a gamer and individuals with deep pockets are eager to buy in.
For everyone else, the standard twin-turbo V6 with 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque should do. We’ve driven other BMW models with this engine and have found it more than up to the task.
There are few direct competitors to the BMW X6 M. One of the most obvious is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 43/63. The Lamborghini Urus is another one. If you’re looking at the standard X6, the Lexus GX, Audi Q7, and Infiniti QX60 are worth considering.
Should you choose the X6 M or the X6 Competition? The difference between the two is $9,000, a price that includes some trim and interior upgrades, badging, and added performance.
There are two packages to consider — a Drivers Assistance Professional Package ($1,700 and includes adaptive cruise control which surprisingly isn’t included elsewhere) and an Executive Package ($3,600) with heated seats, heated and cooled front cup holders, ventilated front seats, soft-close front doors, rear manual side window shades, and adaptive headlights with laser light.
Other features offered separately include Night Vision With Pedestrian Detection ($2,300), a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Audio System ($3,400), Rear-Seat Entertainment Professional ($2,200), and an M Performance Package ($2,500). Fully built out and this model will set you back by more than $134,000.
When all is said and done, you’ll likely pay at least $120,000 for one of most powerful SUVs available.
2020 BMW X6 Specifications
|Price Range||$64,300 to $117,600|
|Engine No. 1||3.0-liter, Inline6|
|Horsepower||335 @ 5,500 – 6,500 RPMs|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||330 @ 1,500 – 5,200 RPMs|
|Engine No. 2||4.4-liter, turbocharged V8|
|Horsepower||523/600/617 @ 5,500 – 6,000 RPMs|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||553 @ 1,800 – 4,600 RPMs|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,687 to 5,115|
|Height (inches)||66.3 to 66.8|
|Headroom (f,r…inches)||39.3, 37.5|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||40.4, 35.7|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||60.0, 57.7|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||NR|
|Storage (cubic feet)||27.4, 59.6|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||6,063 to 6,658|
|Payload (pounds)||893 to 937|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||21.9|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||20,21/26/22,23 (I6); 16/22/18 (V8)|
|Manufacturing Plant||Greer, South Carolina|
Data compiled by Tom Keegan. All rights reserved.
See Also — Go Big or Go Home: 2019 BMW X7 SUV
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