There are no big practical reasons for the 2018 BMW X6 M to exist. But the X6 M owner laughs at practicality and feels disdain for the merely sensible. This premium midsize crossover adopts the sloping roof style, so no one would even dream of loading it with furniture.
Whereas the X5 M looks like a regular SUV on steroids, the X6 M resembles something from a sci-fi movie. And moves like it. Taking a normal crossover SUV onto a race track would be absurd, but this high-performance M version of the X6 (the regular range is reviewed separately) would feel right at home, with speed and composure in equally generous measure. It provides a deft combination of high-riding style and incredible performance. The X6 M doesn’t absolutely need to exist, but thank goodness it does.
What’s New for 2018?
The once-optional leather-covered dashboard is now standard. And the previously optional bundle of driver-assistance features has been discontinued, with its contents migrating into the Executive package.
What We Like
What We Don’t
Dubious value relative to the regular V8-powered X6; impractical interior for a 2.5-ton crossover; Apple CarPlay is optional; Android Auto is not available at all
A twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 develops 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters (for the option of manual control) and all-wheel drive is standard.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel consumption is estimated at 14 miles per gallon in the city, 19 miles per gallon on the highway and 16 miles per gallon in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 BMW X6 M ($106,095) comes as one well-appointed model.
Standard features include 21-inch staggered-width wheels with high-performance tires, adaptive sport-tuned suspension dampers, rear air suspension, quad tailpipes, M body kit, adaptive self-leveling xenon headlights with cornering lights, LED fog lights/taillights, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a powered 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, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry/ignition, rain-sensing wipers, hill-descent control, power-adjustable steering wheel with paddle shifters, adjustable drive settings (Driving Dynamics Control), a rearview camera, heated/18-way power-adjustable front sport seats (each with memory settings), extended leather upholstery including a leather-covered dashboard, quad-zone automatic climate control, ambient cabin lighting, a self-dimming rearview mirror/driver’s-side exterior mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio, a USB port, a 16-speaker/600-watt Harman Kardon audio system and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-in touchscreen, satellite radio/HD Radio, navigation, real-time traffic updates and hard drive MP3 storage.
The optional Executive package adds adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, wireless smartphone charging, Wi-Fi, power-closing doors, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and rear sunshades. This package now includes many driver-assistance features, such as side-view/top-view cameras, a head-up display, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, a semi-automated parking system and speed-limit warning.
Additional options include 20-in wheels, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 9.2-in screens, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, an infrared night vision camera, a day’s tuition in high-performance driving and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Cargo capacity is 26.6 cu ft. behind the rear seats and 59.7 cu ft. with those seats folded down. Most other vehicles in this 5,200-lb class offer more.
Standard safety equipment includes stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes (with automatic collision readiness) and six airbags (front, front side and full-length side curtain).
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have put the X6 (M or otherwise) through their crash-test programs yet.
Behind the Wheel
The X6 M uses the same interior layout as the regular X6, which is ultimately derived from the X5. That’s not a criticism, however, as the current X5 and its associates are among the nicest crossovers on the planet. Materials and control quality is superb, with not 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 an M-spec instrument cluster with performance-themed digital displays.
Cabin technology is likewise stellar, highlighted by the widescreen 10.2-in iDrive display with its touchpad-equipped controller. There’s a standard Harman Kardon audio system, or an astonishingly crisp Bang & Olufsen system as an enticing option.
If you’re pricing one of these machines against 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.
Rear-seat comfort is quite good (at least in the two outer spots), thanks in part to tilted bottom cushions that provide ample thigh support for longer-legged passengers.
For a 2.5-ton hatchback with a high center of gravity, the X6 M feels impossibly composed. Aided by torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, active roll stabilization and steamroller-sized performance tires, the X6 M heads relentlessly where it’s pointed with minimal fuss. The stability control system’s 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 BMW.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 BMW X5 M — Like the X6 M, only more practical.
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR — A supercharged V8 now generates 575 hp and the RRS SVR has a chassis to match. An amazing machine.
2018 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe — Arguably nicer styling than the X6 M. Comes with 10 more horsepower than the X6 M.
2018 Porsche Cayenne Turbo — Although it’s an older design, the Cayenne Turbo remains a true athlete in this segment.
Used Porsche Panamera Turbo — The Panamera Turbo is a car, as opposed to a crossover, but what a car. And it’s an all-wheel-drive hatchback. A certified pre-owned (CPO) model might be available in the new X6 M’s price bracket.
It seems wrong to buy the X6 M and not spend the extra $6,000 or so for all the additional equipment in the Executive package.