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2020 BMW X6 Review

The 2020 BMW X6 is a premium midsize crossover SUV with a sloping, fastback roof. It’s based on the extremely popular X5, yet not quite as practical and with a higher entry price. Which is probably the whole point. It’s like a crossover from a parallel universe, with a design that’s undeniably distinct and imposing.

The cabin is appropriately upscale, the driving position is suitably elevated, the engines are strong and on-road manners are typically BMW-wonderful. This is the way automotive luxury is heading, and the X6 has always been blazing this trail. Taking a crossover SUV and not using its typical attributes — such as mass, practicality and ground clearance — is indeed a luxury.

It makes the X6 an indulgence rather than a necessity. And that’s perfectly acceptable. There’s room in this multi-faceted car world for things that don’t conform to the usual rules and don’t serve the usual needs — especially something as well-executed as this.

A high-performance X6 M version is reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2020?

The X6 enters its third generation this year, so virtually everything is new. The current generation of X5, on which this vehicle is based, debuted last year. See the 2020 BMW X6 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Smooth and powerful engines
  • Superb interior
  • Great technology
  • Confident handling

What We Don’t

  • No Android Auto smartphone integration
  • Rearward vision hindered by sloping roof

How Much?

$65,295 to $86,645

Fuel Economy

The 2020 X6 range starts with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine developing 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. This goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission to either the rear wheels in the entry model sDrive40i or all four in the xDrive40i.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel consumption for the rear-wheel drive sDrive40i is 21 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in combined driving. All-wheel drive changes those figures to 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

The more powerful alternative is the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 in the X6 M50i, generating 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed automatic transmission is deployed here as well. AWD is standard. The EPA puts fuel consumption at 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

The transmission has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the option of manual gear changing. Both engines have an automatic stop/start feature that helps to save some fuel while the vehicle is idling. The grille also has active shutters for optimum thermal and aerodynamic efficiency. And the 2020 X6 is capable of towing 7,200 pounds.

Standard Features and Options

The 2020 BMW X6 comes in sDrive40i, xDrive40i and M50i variants.

The sDrive40i ($65,295) has 20-in alloy wheels, fully adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED fog lights and taillights, adaptive brake lights (brighter light with harder braking), rain-sensing wipers, panoramic moonroof with powered sunshade, chromed trapezoidal exhaust tips, forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and daytime pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, front and rear parking sensors, self-dimming rearview and driver’s-side mirrors, power-adjustable steering column, selectable driving modes, heated 16-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, leather upholstery, wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient LED cabin lighting, 12.3-in digital driver information display, 40/20/40 split folding rear seats, powered lift gate with hands-free operation, 12.3-in infotainment touchscreen, navigation with real-time traffic updates, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio, three USB-C ports, HD radio, 32GB of multi-media storage and a 10-speaker/205-watt audio system.

The xDrive40i ($67,595) adds AWD.

An optional Convenience package for these two models brings quad-zone automatic climate control, Wi-Fi, wireless charging and satellite radio.

There’s a choice of audio upgrades. The least expensive (at $875) is a 16-speaker/600-watt Harman Kardon surround-sound system. Or the extraordinary (at $4,200) 20-speaker/1,500-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system with "diamond dome" tweeters. This latter system is also an option for the M50i.

The M50i ($86,645) has the V8 engine, M Sport exhaust system, M Sport differential, M Sport brakes, adaptive M-tuned suspension, heated 20-way power-adjustable multi-contour front sport seats with memory settings for both occupants, Harman Kardon 16-speaker/464-watt surround-sound system and the contents of the Convenience package.

The Driving Assistance Professional package is applicable to all versions of the 2020 X6. It includes adaptive cruise control with stop/go, lane-keeping assistance, evasive steering assistance and an Extended Traffic Jam Assistant for partial self-driving in certain conditions.

The Luxury Seating package brings ventilated massaging 20-way power-adjustable multi-contour front seats.

The Premium package for the 40i models augments the Convenience package with a head-up display, remote start and gesture control for the infotainment system. In the M50i, it contains just those three features.

The Executive package includes all the extras mentioned so far, then adds a 360-degree camera system, soft-closing doors, heated and cooled cup holders, manually operated rear side window sunshades, a Sky Lounge LED roof, self-parking for parallel and perpendicular spaces, drive recorder and Icon Adaptive LED headlights with "Laserlight" technology.

Other options include night vision, adaptive air suspension, heated steering wheel and front armrests, heated rear seats, aluminum running boards, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 9.2-in screens, M Sport brakes (where they aren’t standard), leather-covered dashboard and glass controls.

The M50i is also eligible for a Dynamic Handling Package that consists of an upgraded M-tuned adaptive suspension, rear-wheel steering and active roll stabilization.

Behind the rear seats, the luggage space measures 27.4 cu ft. When those seats are folded down, maximum cargo area opens up to 59.6 cu ft. Both of these figures are improvements on the previous generation.

Safety

The X6 has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). But the extremely similar X5 has an overall NHTSA rating of four stars out of a maximum five. The IIHS has a higher opinion of the X5 and named it a Top Safety Pick Plus.

In addition to all the mandatory safety features, the X6 also comes standard with features such as seat belt pre-tensioning and automatic closing of the sunroof and windows if a collision is considered imminent, plus driver fatigue monitoring and automatic brake drying.

Behind the Wheel

The 2020 X6 couldn’t be called light, unless it was by someone who drives tanks for a living. However, even weighing around 2.3 tons, the 6-cylinder version can still hustle, taking only 5.2 seconds to sprint from standstill to 60 miles per hour. The 2.5-ton V8-powered version does it in 4.1 seconds. That’s fast. And although we’ve almost come to expect this kind of performance in this kind of context, it’s still worth taking a moment to consider and appreciate the engineering that goes into making everything happen.

Speed is just a part of the whole deal. The X6 can also handle with an agility that contradicts any scales on which it might be weighed. Yet there’s still plenty of comfort. The optional adaptive air suspension brings an excellent blend of suppleness and sporty composure.

The cabin arranges all its fine materials and technology into a pleasing and well-thought-out environment. Over-the-shoulder vision isn’t so great because of the roof’s design, but drivers will be pleased that blind spot monitoring is standard. Despite the coupe-like styling, the raised driving position provides excellent views forward, and the multi-contour front seats bring top-notch comfort and support.

Rear-seat comfort is enhanced by lower cushions with a pleasant upward tilt providing welcome thigh support, while rear headroom is quite good considering the X6’s fastback roofline.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 BMW X5 — If the urge to be sensible is overwhelming, this would make an excellent alternative to the X6. It is, after all, essentially the same vehicle, only with more space for cargo and passengers.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport — This offers a lot of Range Rover luxury appointments and equipment, but in a midsize package.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe — This natural rival to the X6 has its own agreeable styling approach for this kind of vehicle. An all-new generation launches for 2021, based on the excellent GLE-Class SUV.

2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe — Found at the pricier end of this category, the Cayenne comes with an adaptive suspension as standard, and the handling is utterly superb.

Used BMW X6 M — Since an X6 buyer has already demonstrated that practicality is not a priority, then perhaps greater power and extreme driving dynamics are more desirable. The M version of the previous-generation X6 is a beast, in a good way. Check out BMW’s certified pre-owned program.

Autotrader’s Advice

Choosing an X6 or any fastback-bodied crossover SUV over something like an X5 is a statement. Assuming that’s the statement you want to make, then great. But add some more substance by selecting the Driving Assistance Professional package. Find a BMW X6 for sale

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