by Jay Traugott
Who would have ever thought that SUVs would one day produce supercar-like levels of horsepower and six-figure price tags? That day arrived long ago and the all-new 2020 BMW X6 M continues that momentum in style, luxury, and raw performance. Like its corporate cousin and platform-mate, the also new BMW X5 M, the 2020 X6 M offers owners up to 617 horsepower and track-worthy performance numbers while, at the same time, providing a daily driving experience pampered in fine luxury with plenty of high-tech features.
Along with standard all-wheel drive, the X6 M can also handle itself just fine in nearly any bad weather condition, something that can't be said for most supercars. Sacrificing rear cargo space and headroom for coupe-like styling may not be for everyone but, then again, one doesn't buy this vehicle for convenience. No, like its well-regarded predecessors, the new X6 M is about style.
Like its predecessors, the new X6 M has many noticeable exterior styling differences over the non-M X6 trims. For starters, there are larger air intake openings in the front bumper that feed more air to the coolers. There's also M specific kidney grilles featuring black double-bars, familiar M gills located on the front fenders, unique and more aerodynamic side mirrors, flared wheel arches, and a rear diffuser with an integrated quad exhaust system.
For the X6 M Competition, a slightly more powerful choice (more on that below), you'll find both a roof and tailgate spoiler for even better aerodynamics. The X6 M comes standard with 21-inch M light-alloy Double-Spoke wheels or, if you prefer, optional staggered 21/22-inch wheels for the Competition model.
Buyers can select from one of eight exterior paint colors and two BMW Individual colors, Tanzanite Blue II Metallic and Ametrin Metallic.
Although the X6 M's cabin has a similar design to that of the regular X6, there are many noticeable and welcomed enhancements. There's red trim around the M control buttons on the center console, M leather steering wheel, and M gearshift lever. The familiar Red, Blue, and White BMW M colors can also be found in the steering wheel and gearshift lever stitching.
Occupants are welcomed inside with illuminated door sill plates. Driver and front passenger have an array of seating adjustments while the rear seats can fold down in a 40:20:40 split for up to 59.6 cubic feet of space. Black Extended Merino Leather comes standard but buyers can select several other optional high-quality leather types.
BMW's Live Cockpit Professional with the latest iDrive 7 operating system is standard and it adds some M-specific goodies. Aside from the center display and instrument gauge cluster, both 12.3-inches, there's also a head-up display that shows shift lights and has locations for two widgets and even a G-meter, tire-pressure/temperature monitor, boost pressure, and engine coolant temperature readings. There's even a Track setting, designed specifically for closed circuits, that displays only vital driver information and either reduces, or shuts off entirely, driver assistance systems like active braking and steering.
As previously noted, we're talking supercar-like levels of power here. The X6 M comes powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque as standard. The X6 M Competition increases output to 617 hp. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of only 3.8 seconds (3.7 seconds for the Competition model). Top speed is electronically limited either to 155 mph or 177 mph, the latter being, of course, for the X6 M Competition. That power is directed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission connected to an all-wheel-drive system, though it is rear-biased. Furthermore, drivers can select from several all-wheel-drive modes depending on their driving mood and conditions, such as track, snow, or off-roading.
The X6 M's chassis and suspension was developed at the Nurburgring to help create the best combination of daily, year-round usability, and genuine track-capable levels of performance. For example, there is extra chassis bracing, stiff engine and suspension mounting points, and a double-wishbone front suspension with forged upper control arms. The rear suspension is a five-link design.
Needless to say, the 2020 BMW X6 M doesn't come cheap. The German automaker has priced the horsepower-loving vehicle from $108,600. The X6 M Competition kicks off at $117,600. Just to compare, the regular X6's base price is nearly half this at $65,000.
The X6 M's most direct and serious competitor is the also all-new 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe, which also offers twin-turbo V8 power (rated at 541 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque) and a top speed of 178 mph. It carries a starting price of about $131,000. There's also the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe with a bonkers 670 hp and 663 lb-ft on tap (the beauty of combining an electric motor to an already potent V8). The downside? A steep $165,000 starting price. Mercedes-AMG is also slated to launch an all-new GLE 63 AMG Coupe in the very near future.
Those who desire supercar power figures and performance but require better daily usability, space, and numerous other convenience features, the all-new 2020 BMW X6 M, like its predecessors, is a formidable player in this growing and highly profitable segment.