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2020 BMW X6 M Review

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author photo by Autotrader March 2020

Don't think of the 2020 BMW X6 M as a luxury SUV. This is a performance machine -- and a fearsomely powerful one at that.

Traditional notions of performance machines usually conjure images of low-slung sports cars, like a Ferrari or a Porsche 911, with an emphasis on weight-saving and low centers of gravity. But the X6 M obliterates tradition.

Yes, we can draw a direct line of descent from the extremely popular and practical BMW X5 to the X6, yet that relationship doesn't really matter. Instead, the X6 M is an alternative for drivers seeking thrills and thunder.

The reasons to buy one of these over, say, an Audi R8 midengine supercar could differ from one customer to the next, but they would be no less valid. Some people would just rather have a high-performance 5-seat fastback midsize luxury crossover with a raised driving position and more than 8 inches of ground clearance. There's nothing wrong with such a preference.

The new-for-2020 non-M BMW X6 is reviewed separately.

What's New for 2020?

This model year sees a whole new generation based on the regular X6, which is derived from the fresh X5 that debuted for 2019. See the 2020 BMW X6 M models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Insanely powerful twin-turbo V8 engine
  • Sports car handling in a kind-of-crossover package
  • Interior design, materials and fit and finish
  • Superb technology

What We Don't

  • The X6 M50i is less expensive and almost as fast
  • Styling hampers rear 3-quarter vision
  • No Android Auto smartphone integration

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The 2020 X6 M employs a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 generating 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters beneath the steering wheel for the option of manual control and a launch mode. An M-tuned all-wheel-drive system is standard.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption at 13 miles per gallon in the city, 18 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in combined driving.

The X6 M Competition has the same engine, torque output, transmission and fuel consumption, but maximum horsepower is raised to 617.

Each version has an automatic stop-start feature to help save fuel while idling.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 BMW X6 M is available in regular and Competition variants.

The regular 2020 X6 M ($109,595) has 21-in alloy wheels, an adaptive M-tuned suspension, a rear axle air suspension, active roll stabilization, M Compound brake discs, an M Sport differential, an M aerodynamic kit, selectable driving modes, variable-ratio steering, forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, quad tailpipes, a panoramic moonroof with a powered sunshade, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a 12.3-in digital driver information display with M View mode, extended leather upholstery, a leather-covered dashboard, carbon fiber trim accents, quad-zone automatic climate control, heated 18-way power adjustable front sport seats with memory settings, a heated steering wheel, heated front armrests, a power adjustable steering column, ambient cabin lighting, a self-dimming rearview mirror, self-dimming driver's-side mirrors, a self-parking system, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system, a universal garage door opener, a powered lift gate, gesture control, natural speech voice control, a full-color head-up display, a 12.3-in infotainment touchscreen, navigation with real-time traffic updates, Wi-Fi capability, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, two USB-C ports, a 16-speaker/600-watt Harman Kardon surround sound system, satellite and HD radio, 32 GB of multimedia storage, Bluetooth phone and audio capability and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats.

The X6 M Competition ($118,595) has the extra horsepower, plus 21-in alloy wheels up front and 22-in alloys at the back, a Track setting for the driver information display and an M Sport exhaust system.

The non-Competition version can have the 21- and 22-inch-wheel setup as an option.

An Executive package adds ventilated and massaging front seats, heated rear seats, rear sunshades, heated and cooled cupholders, soft-closing doors, remote engine start and Icon Adaptive LED headlights with Laserlight technology.

The Driving Assistance Professional package includes partial self-steering with a traffic jam assistant, evasive steering assistance, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and automatic lane-changing.

Additional options include infrared night vision, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 9.2-in screens, a day's tuition in high-performance driving on tracks in California or South Carolina, a raised top speed of 177 mph and a 20-speaker/1,500-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system.

Luggage space behind the rear seats measures 27.4 cu ft. When those seats are folded, maximum cargo area expands to 59.6 cu ft.


Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the X6, M or otherwise. However, the current generation of X5, which forms the foundation for the X6, received the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS after earning the top score of Good in all major crashworthiness categories.

The 2020 X6 M comes with plenty of safety features and driver aids. The Driving Assistance Professional package is recommended not to compensate for any standard shortcomings, but at this level of expenditure, it's worth spending another $1,700 because it could ultimately save much more in terms of time and money -- and perhaps personal safety.

Behind the Wheel

The X6 M is big and heavy (nearly 5,500 pounds) but it can sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in a breathtaking 3.8 seconds. The Competition version shaves a tenth of a second off that 0-to-60 mph time.

The Sport drive mode setting sends most of the available torque to the rear axle for something approaching a traditional rear-wheel drive feel. The stability control system even permits some tail-out fun before getting all the relevant gadgetry involved.

Aided by active roll stabilization and steamroller-sized tires, the X6 M heads relentlessly where it's pointed. In everyday driving, the standard adaptive suspension smooths rough road surfaces. The X6 M never feels anything less than completely composed.

The interior quality is exceptional, with every surface and control worthy of the luxury vehicle description. The front seats are sportily supportive yet able to provide hours of comfort.

The technology is also top-notch. For example, the automatic transmission is linked to the navigation system, so it can make gear changes to suit whatever is just up the road. And the standard parking assistance package also has a backup feature that records the past 50 yards. If a driver has maneuvered their X6 M into a tight space, this function will automatically reverse the process.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR -- A supercharged V8 generates 575 hp, and the Range Rover Sport SVR has a chassis to match. An amazing machine.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S Coupe -- Based on the new-for-2020 GLE SUV, this direct rival will pack an immense 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque.

2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe -- A new, fastback-style variant of the Cayenne. If anyone can create more driver appeal, it's Porsche. The Turbo version only has 542 hp, but it out-torques the X6 M at 568 lb-ft.

Used Bentley Bentayga -- Comes with a more conventional roofline, but this represents another level of extreme SUV ownership. We found a few preowned 12-cylinder versions going for around $150,000 apiece.

Autotrader's Advice

When test-driving, make sure that any big-wheel, low-profile tire combination doesn't degrade the ride quality too much. Find a BMW X6 M for sale

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2020 BMW X6 M Review - Autotrader