BMW X6 M 2020: Check out your six

Muscle cars are all well and good, but nothing says “get out of my way” like a massive crossover with a grille-filled front end that looks like it could suck air out of a Ford Field faster than the Detroit Lions. With one look at your BMW X6 M in your rearview mirror, you’ll realize you’re being tracked by a bad-ass SUV.

High: The ease with which you make speed, handling in sports cars, and lavish luxury appointments.

The X6 M is the hot version of the third generation X6, and it’s the sloping-back brother of the more traditional X5. Both the X5 and X6 have been redesigned for 2020, and the folks at BMW’s motorsport division are now releasing their high-powered makeovers. We sampled the X5 M and X6 M at BMW’s recent roadside launch event between Phoenix and Prescott, Arizona, and found the driving experience to be identical, so choosing between the two is really about style.

If you opt for the X6’s fastback design, you’ll give up seven more cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row compared to the X5, and 13 more cubic feet with the second-row folded. Choosing the X6 will also cost you $3,500 more than the X5 M.

We love the standard X6 engines a lot, but the X6 M is next-level stuff. It achieves a good rearview mirror threat with its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 that weighs 600 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 553 pound-feet of torque between 1800 and 5,690 rpm. If that’s not enough, and you have an extra $9,000 to spend, the Competition package punches up to 617 horsepower—as if the X6 M needed more muscle. Torque remains unchanged.

Low: Sometimes a rocky ride, the more practical the X5 M does the same for less money, makes avoiding tickets impossible.

In the standard version, the M division tunes the chassis with modified adaptive dampers, a front active anti-skew bar, stiffer engine mounts, an additional front camber, and summer staggered Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires – with a size of 295/35R-21 in the front and 315/35R -21 in the back. Competition models add several standard goodies to already comprehensively equipped SUVs. Mechanical revisions include a strut tower strut, a deeper sport exhaust system, a special driving mode, and 22-inch rear wheels. The unwrapped interior of the standard X6 M’s Merino leather is tucked inside, there are special competition seatbelt colors, and the exterior trim is tinted.

The all-wheel drive system sends the majority of the power back to an electronic limited-slip rear differential. As in all modern M cars, there are many ways to combine and match the three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus – with the three transmissions of the eight-speed automatic. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds for the X6 M, which seems conservative considering we convinced a 3.8-second run on the X6 M50i-powered V-8, which has 77 fewer horses under the hood . BMW says the Competition model will accelerate to 60 mph in a tenth of a second faster than the standard X6 M.

On the road, the X6 M competition will make you feel like the master of all your surveys. Only a few cars can get away from it. You traverse two paths with arrogance, not just confidence. And when outfitted with the $2,500 million driver package our test car had, top speed is raised from 155 mph to 177 mph.

However, this brute is more than just a straight-line missile. It would take something special – and a skilled driver driving it – to leave it behind on twisty roads. With its stiff springs and sticky tires, it feels as if it could tear two Serpentine lanes to shreds. Its brakes refuse to fade no matter how far the needle speed swings between corners. Three-figure speeds are up to a slap of neck tension – and with a rich roll of thunder from the exhaust if you choose Sport Plus or Track modes. The only complaint we have is that steering feedback evaporates when cornering hard. But that doesn’t slow this thing down.

Like anything this powerful, driving the X6 M on public roads is as frustrating as it is satisfying. Lots of pent-up strength, lots of handling in reserve, and few places to unleash the animal. It’s comfortable enough on the highway – at least on a well-preserved Arizona sidewalk – to use as a daily commuter. But where’s the fun in that? The V-8’s strong calling is irresistible and will have you filling your X6 M’s front-view mirrors.



2020 BMW X6 M

Vehicle Type
Front engine, 4WD, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

Base price
X6m, $109.595; X6 M Contest, $118,595

Engine type
Twin-turbocharged and intercooler DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
268 inches34395 cm3
600 or 617 HP @ 6000 rpm
553 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

8 speed automatic

Wheelbase: 117.0 in
Length: 195.0 inches
Width: 79.5 inches
Height: 66.6 – 66.7 inches
Passenger size: 100 feet3
Payload size: 27 feet3
curb weight (grandfather est): 5400 lbs

performance (grandfather EST)
60 mph: 3.6-3.7 seconds
100 mph: 9.0-9.1 seconds
¼ mile: 12.0–12.1 seconds
Top speed: 155-177 mph

EPA fuel economy
Pool/city/highway: 15/13/18 mpg

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