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2015 BMW X6 M: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

It's likely that no shortage of 2015 BMW X6 M reviews will harp on this ultrafast crossover's lack of versatility. "The X5 M is basically the same thing with more interior space," they might say, "so why pay more for less?" We humbly submit, however, that they're missing the point. The X6 M isn't here to schlep two-by-fours home from the hardware store; its job is to serve up a unique combination of high-riding style and incredible performance. Whereas the X5 M looks like a regular SUV on steroids, the X6 M resembles a bionic hatchback from a sci-fi flick. If that concept, plus a 567-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8, gets your heart racing, the X6 M should prove to be a thrill ride like no other.

What's New for 2015?

The 2015 X6 M is all new, marking the first year of the model's second generation.

What We Like

Absurdly powerful twin-turbo V8; sports-car handling in a crossover wrapper; impeccably trimmed cabin; class-leading technology features

What We Don't

Dubious value relative to the regular V8-powered X6; impractical interior for a 2.5-ton crossover

How Much?

$103,050

Fuel Economy

The X6 M comes with a standard all-wheel-drive system that includes torque vectoring for optimal traction in hot corners. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic with manual control. Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 rated at 567 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the regular X6 xDrive50i returns 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway via a 445-hp variant of the same basic engine. The X6 M should yield approximately 20 percent fewer mpg due to its performance tuning.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 BMW X6 M comes in one generously equipped trim level.

Standard features include 21-inch staggered-width wheels with high-performance tires, adaptive sport-tuned suspension dampers, a rear air suspension, quad tailpipes, an M body kit, adaptive auto-leveling xenon headlights with cornering lights, LED fog lights and taillights, a sunroof, a power lift gate with hands-free operation (via a foot sensor in the bumper), front and rear parking sensors, a performance-themed instrument cluster with a high-resolution color driver information center, a power adjustable steering wheel with paddle shifters, adjustable drive settings (Driving Dynamics Control), 18-way heated front sport seats, driver and passenger memory settings, extended leather upholstery, 4-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio, a USB port, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and BMW's iDrive infotainment system with a widescreen 10.2-in display, navigation and hard-drive MP3 storage.

The optional Executive package adds LED headlights with automatic high beams, soft-closing doors, BMW's Concierge Services (providing live assistance for making dinner reservations, finding nearby places of interest and so forth), a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear-window sunshades. Additional options include smaller 20-in wheels, a self-parking system, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 9.2-in screens and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Rear-seat comfort in the X6 M is quite good, thanks in part to tilted bottom cushions that provide ample thigh support for longer-legged passengers. Cargo capacity is modest, however, measuring about 20 cu ft. behind the rear seatbacks and 54 cu ft. with those seatbacks folded down. That's essentially hatchback territory, but to be fair, the X6's fashion-first styling does make it more of a hatchback than a crossover. Most vehicles in the 5,200-lb weight class offer considerably more versatility.

Safety

The X6 M is equipped with stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (with automatic collision readiness) and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain).

The optional Driver Assistance Plus package adds side- and top-view parking cameras, a blind spot monitoring system, a lane-departure warning system and speed-limit warning. Also offered is an infrared night-vision camera with pedestrian detection.

Behind the Wheel

The 2015 X6 M utilizes the same interior layout as the regular X6, which is itself derived from the X5. That's not a criticism, though, as the current X5 and its associates are among the nicest crossovers on the planet. Materials and control quality is superb, with nary a surface or switch out of place, and the dashboard has a sleek, contemporary look. Naturally, BMW has added a number of special features to the X6 for M duty, including incredibly supportive front sport seats and a unique M-spec gauge cluster with performance-themed digital displays. You also get a stubby shift lever patterned after the DCT shifter found in models such as the M3 sedan.

Cabin technology is likewise stellar in the X6 M, highlighted by the widescreen 10.2-in iDrive display with its touchpad-equipped controller. There's also standard Harman Kardon audio, with an astonishingly crisp Bang & Olufsen system offered as an enticing option. The B&O system, by the way, is one of the few significant features that doesn't come standard on the X6 M. If you're pricing one of these beasts out versus the xDrive50i, keep in mind that it's not apples to apples, since many of the X6 M's standard items cost extra on its lesser sibling.

On the road, the 2015 X6 M feels impossibly composed for a 2.5-ton hatchback with a high center of gravity. Aided by torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, active roll stabilization and steamroller-sized performance tires, the X6 M relentlessly goes where you point it with minimal fuss. The stability control system's exclusive M Dynamic mode even permits some drifting, if you're so inclined. In more sedate driving, the standard adaptive dampers take the edge off rough urban surfaces despite those theoretically unyielding 21-in tires. Few vehicles inspire confidence on all kinds of pavement like this one-of-a-kind BMW.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 BMW X6 xDrive50i -- The ordinary xDrive50i employs a closely related twin-turbo V8 with a healthy 445 hp, resulting in a similar feel for tens of thousands less.

2015 Porsche Cayenne Turbo -- The Cayenne Turbo remains the true athlete of this segment, though it's an older design and a bit pricier, too.

2015 Audi RS 7 -- The RS 7 isn't a crossover SUV, but if you're open to a true hatchback with stupefying performance, this Audi fits the bill.

Used Porsche Panamera Turbo -- Like the RS 7, the Panamera Turbo is a car, not a crossover, but what a car! You'll pay much more for a new one, but a certified pre-owned model might be available in the X6 M's price range.

AutoTrader's Advice

Take a moment to reflect on all the amazing vehicles you could get for the X6 M's price. If you're still infatuated, more power to you.

Find a BMW X6 M for sale

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Used 2015 BMW X6 xDrive50i
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Certified 2015 BMW X6 xDrive35i
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 BMW X6 M: New Car Review - Autotrader