BMW X6 Pros and Cons Review: How It’s the Best One BMW Has Built Yet

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Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Deceptively roomy inside
  • The monster M version

Cons

  • Polarizing looks
  • Inscrutable infotainment
  • Brutal ride on the M version

“What can be said about the X6 M that hasn’t been said before?” That’s what features editor Christian Seabaugh wondered about the third generation of BMW’s slope-roofed midsize SUV. Turns out, a lot.

For one, we collectively felt that this third-gen BMW X6 is the best one BMW has ever built. Still hailing from Spartanburg, South Carolina, the X6 feels very solid, as if it was hewn from a single block of a heavy, precious metal.

For two, it still makes you question why it exists. “I mean, I kind of get it,” features editor Scott Evans said. “You definitely stand out in a crowd. It’s not for me, but it works well.” It’s not just Evans—other judges echoed his faint praise, like Buyer’s Guide director Zach Gale: “If you like the design and are suitably rich? Go for it.”

Inside, the situation remains. I remember at the launch of the first-generation X6 back in 2008, I was impressed by how large the cargo area was despite the chopped roof. Miguel Cortina of MotorTrend en Español agreed: “I’m amazed by the interior space. I drove an X6 when I was moving apartments a few months ago, and I was able to fit most of my closet in two trips. Fold the seats down, and the whole greenhouse becomes a living room that can fit almost anything.”

That’s true, but so is what head of editorial Ed Loh had to say: “The trunk is still ridiculous. It is so deep, what choice do you have but to crawl back there to grab the wayward can of tomatoes when it rolls out of your shopping bag?” Loh does admit that four golf bags will fit well, as will a weekend’s worth of stuff for two.

We all appreciated how well appointed and luxurious the cabin is, but the latest iteration of BMW’s iDrive proved to be a bit thick. First of all, enough with the gesture control! We know it’s there, and we know it works about half the time. Why remind us of it so frequently? “I really hate how when you adjust the volume or change track on the steering wheel, it blanks out the whole iDrive screen to remind you to use the useless gesture control feature,” Seabaugh said. “BMW is literally telling you to take your hands off the wheel and wave them around in the air instead of using the buttons they so helpfully provided.” Ouch. Loh described the X6’s iDrive as “dense and inscrutable.”

The nitpicking stopped once we climbed out of the X6 xDrive40i and into the mighty M. “The X6 M Competition is an absolute monster,” Evans said. Right he is. Its 617 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque sounds like plenty, until you shove the throttle to the floor and you realize the 5,209-pound SUV must be massively underrated. Just 3.3 seconds to 60 mph and a mind-boggling 11.6 seconds in the quarter mile prove your point. As Cortina shouted, “What a beast!”

The X6 M’s ride, though decent on smooth surfaces, falls to pieces over the rough stuff. There’s no air suspension here, which is glaring because the X6 M’s closest competitors—AMG GLE 63 S, Audi RSQ8, Porsche Cayenne Turbo—all ride on air springs. Is this because since day one the X5, let alone the X6, was never intended to travel a millimeter off pavement? Could be. Could also be that the current M crew thinks people buying products marked Competition want a miserable ride.

As Gale realized, “I am the suspension, right?” But he also asked, “Can we send the X6 M Competition forward on the strength of its Ametrin Metallic paint?” In a perfect world, Zach. In a perfect world.

2020 BMW X6 xDrive40i 2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Base Price/As tested $67,595/$72,020 $119,595/$132,745
Power (SAE net) 335 hp @ 5,500 rpm 617 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 330 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 5.2 sec 3.3 sec
Quarter-mile 13.8 sec @ 99.9 mph 11.6 sec @ 119.5 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 120 ft 102 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.88 g (avg) 0.97 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 26.0 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) 24.1 sec @ 0.83 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 20/26/22 mpg 13/18/15 mpg
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine/Transmission 3.0L turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6/8-speed automatic 4.4L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/8-speed automatic
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,683 lb (51/49%) 5,209 lb (52/48%)
Wheelbase 117.1 in 117.0 in
Length x Width x Height 194.8 x 78.9 x 66.3 in 195.0 x 79.5 x 66.7 in
Energy Cons, City/Hwy 169/130 kW-hrs/100 miles 259/187 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.87 lb/mile 1.31 lb/mile

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