by Jared Rosenholtz
The 2019 X6 M is part of the second generation X6 range, which was first introduced with the 2015 model year. It's a mid-size luxury SUV with distinctive coupe styling that is both loved and hated in the motoring world. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the fact that Mercedes-Benz has copied the X6 shape with their GLE Coupe speaks volumes. The X6 M is the top of the range performance model in the range with a crazy 567 horsepower turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine bristling under the hood, and an eight-speed automatic transmission for easy driving. It's renowned for jaw-dropping performance, as well as its luxurious interior, although suffering from limited rearward visibility and woeful fuel economy. How does it compare to rivals like the GLE 63 AMG and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo?
For 2019 BMW has updated the driver aids to include forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and low-speed automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection as standard features. Apple CarPlay is also now included, but only has a one-year trial, after which new buyers will have to fork out their own subscriptions.
The X6 M has a typical BMW front with the usual kidney grille flanked by large LED headlights. A sporty front bumper with massive intakes differentiates the X6 M from the other trims in the range. The side profile changes slightly depending on whether it's sitting on 20- or 21-inch wheels. The indicator lights seem to flow from the wheel arches, giving it a fluid and unique look. Most notable is the trademark sloping roof. At the rear, the large, dominant taillight clusters sit under a minimalist spoiler, and symmetrical quad exhaust pipes complete the look.
The X6 M is based on the X5 platform but is a bit wider and sits slightly lower. It has a length of 193.8 inches, resting on a wheelbase of 115.5 inches, longer by a fraction than both the Mercedes GLE and the Porsche Cayenne. Standing 66.5 inches tall, and with a width of 78.3 inches, the X6 M is on the larger side of the segment, though not as tall as its Merc counterpart. It has a curb weight of 5,185 lbs, significantly heavier than the Porsche, yet slightly less bulky than the GLE. With 8.1 inches of ground clearance, the BMW X6 is one-up on both core rivals.
The X6 M comes in a variety of colors; with Alpine White and Jet Black non-metallics available at no additional cost. The metallic colors available include Donington Grey, Long Beach Blue, Mineral White, Melbourne Red, Carbon Black, Silverstone, and Black Sapphire, which also come at no additional cost. Azurite Black Metallic is the only color that comes at an additional cost of $1,950. Striking colors such as the Melbourne Red and Long Beach Blue do well to follow the X6's M-themed assertiveness.
The X6 M does the M badge proud with exhilarating performance from its 567 horsepower V8 engine. For such a bulky vehicle, it offers an insane 0 to 60 mph time of only four seconds, although real-life test drives have it noted at less than that. Driving the X6 M is a pleasure as there's always an abundance of power on tap, whether taking off or even when wanting to overtake at already high speeds. Because of the more powerful engine, the X6 M has heavy-duty sway bars, as well as larger brakes and wheels compared to the other models - the resulting combination is a rather brilliantly machine that offers an exceptional driving experience. It keeps its balance and composure even at high speeds, and the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive ensures that the power is never too much to control. The available launch control is a fun toy in the X6 M's arsenal and shows what the car is capable of when pushed to its limits.
The BMW X6 M has a 4.4-liter V8 cranking out a massive 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. To tame the mammoth engine is a tried and tested eight-speed automatic which effortlessly drifts through the gear changes at the correct revs. Manual shifting is possible with the paddle shifters, but feels more like a novelty and probably won't be used very often by most people. The cheaper X6 xDrive50i also has a 4.4 liter V8 which pushes out 445 hp for the price of $78,300 as compared to the X6 M's starting price of $105,700, but, even at the higher price, the X6 M is worth every cent for the M-sport DNA. This monster is always up to the task, and surprisingly has an impressive towing capacity of 6000 lbs. One of the minor disappointments on the X6 M is the mediocre engine noise, which isn't a genuine reflection of true engine power and is supplemented by artificial sounds from the audio system.
For a car with a curb weight of over 5,000 lbs, the handling in the X6 is astonishing. The torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system and sporty suspension setup ensure that the X6 M remains glued to the road no matter what the condition. Even at high speeds and on winding roads, the X6 M is agile and handles more like a sports car than an SUV. One of the drawbacks of its car-like handling is the stiff ride, which is uncommon for most luxury SUVs and is partly due to the low-profile tires. Overall, the firmer ride is a small price to pay for the blistering acceleration and handling and just adds to the sporty appeal overall.
M cars have a distinctive attraction, and the X6 M is no different. The plush interior and comfortable seats make the X6 M a wonderful place to be, and the temptation to put your foot down never goes away. The X6 M isn't merely a family-friendly SUV like it's siblings - although the interior arguably lends itself to it - instead, it's an insane beast that demands to be pushed to its limits.
The exhilarating performance from the X6 M comes at the expense of fuel economy - not that most owners will mind since most will have made peace with this fact long before signing the ownership papers. The X6 M gets estimated EPA ratings of 14/19/16 mpg for city/highway/combined driving cycles, which is almost on par with the Porsche, and a hair's breadth more than what the GLE can manage. The X6 M has a 22.4-gallon tank and based on the combined fuel economy score, it has a maximum range of 358.4 miles, whereas the AMG GLE 63 can go for 360 miles on a full 24-gallon tank.
As is expected of a top-of-the-range BMW SUV - and even more so one with the M-sport brand - it offers a stunning interior. The dashboard follows BMW's user-friendly and practical design layout while using a range of both hard and soft-touch premium materials. Real wood and metal trims are available, as well as a wide range of Merino leather upholstery. As befitting a car of this stature, BMW has gone all out to offer the best features possible, such as heated and ventilated seats, as well as ambient lighting. The whole cabin is well put together with intensive attention to detail. The leather of the dashboard, as well as the seats, features flawless stitching in the M-sport theme and is a lovely touch that compliments the subtle M-badges found on the steering wheel and instrument display.
Because of the radical shape of the X6 M, rear passengers might suffer with stooping or hunching over if they are taller than six-foot, and will definitely have to watch out for the low curved roof when trying to get in. The front occupants get headroom of 39.3 inches and legroom of 40.3 inches, which is on par with segment rivals. Rear passengers get a mediocre 37.9 inches of headroom and only 35.4 inches of legroom, making the backseat far better suited to children than adults: five passengers can be accommodated in the X6 M, but realistically four is ideal. The sloping roofline also negatively affects rear visibility, but this is remedied by the high-resolution rearview camera, at least.
There's an abundance of premium quality materials in the X6 M. The dash has some solid-looking plastic at the top, with tasteful faux aluminum trim surrounding the dials and on the steering wheel. Gloss black plastic around the climate control buttons adds to the contemporary feel, and, to enhance the already upmarket look, there are premium interior trims like Carbon Fiber, Aluminum Trace, and Fineline Oak Wood available, which comes at no extra cost. High-quality Merino leather graces the seats with Silverstone Extended, Sonoma Beige, and Black coming at no extra cost. Other colors in the Merino range such as Amaro Brown, Smoke White, Mugello Red, and Taupe come at a price of $2,900, with a few more options available to cover the spectrum.
Because of the sloping roof, the cargo area has an awkward shape which hampers loading and unloading in general; still, with a maximum capacity of 26.6 cubic feet with all the seats in place, two sets of golf clubs, a laptop bag, and a few smaller items should fit with ease. With the seats down, 59.7 cu-ft opens up to really load the back, carrying around 1,170 lbs at the most. While the shape may be awkward, the trunk has thoughtful features such as cargo hooks, and underfloor storage area, and even a small side cargo net.
Small-item storage compartments are available in front of the two front cupholders by the shifter, a large center console storage, as well as pockets behind both front seats, are available. The rear gets cupholders and a storage bin in the center armrest too, as well as smaller storage pockets on the edge of the rear seats. Both front and rear doors also have side bins, which are useful and quite large.
The X6 M is packed with a wide range of standard features, not to mention the optional packages and standalone options available. Four-zone climate control, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, keyless ignition, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, heated mirrors, ambient interior lighting, and 14-way power-adjustable seats are standard fare. Additional driver aids that are fitted include low-speed automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring, which although excellent to have, is expected on a vehicle in this segment. Apart from the numerous standard features, there are further options available to upgrade the X6 M with a surround-view camera, a head-up display, night vision, and automatic high-beams. Power-closing doors, rear side window shades, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are also available and are nice to have on an already luxurious vehicle.
The X6 M comes standard with a 10.2-inch touchscreen connected to BMW's well-liked iDrive system, which is user-friendly, intuitive, and simple to use. It also has onboard navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, as well as AM/FM radio, HD radio, Aux and USB inputs, and a one-year subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Oddly enough, Apple CarPlay is included, but on a one-year subscription basis, after which it costs $80 a year billed to the owner. Android Auto isn't available at all and seems like a careless omission on a vehicle of this caliber.
Some of the optional infotainment upgrades include wireless charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as a Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker sound system. With the Rear-Seat Entertainment Professional package, two 9.2-inch color screens are added to the back of the front seats to make long road trips bearable for the kids in the back.
There has been one recall for the 2019 BMW X6 M for a problem with the rear upper control arm pivots, which could possibly lead to the control arms breaking. This can lead to reduced handling and control, as well as the increased risk of a crash.
Like most of the vehicles in the BMW range, the X6 M comes with a four year/50,000 mile basic and powertrain warranty as well as a 12-year unlimited mileage rust perforation limited warranty. BMW Ultimate Care is included and is valid for three years/36,000 miles, and roadside assistance for four years with unlimited mileage adds to your peace of mind.
Unfortunately, there is no data available regarding the 2019 BMW X6 M from either the NHTSA or the IIHS, as the BMW X6 range has not been evaluated. BMW has a stellar reputation when it comes to safety and the latest safety features. The X6 M is expected to perform to the same high standards as the X5 on which is based, which was noted as an IIHS 2019 Top Safety Pick.
Considering that the X6 M is a high-performance vehicle that is expected to drive at high speeds, it has a number of safety features and driver aids fitted as standard. This includes stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, four-wheel ABS brakes, a rearview camera, emergency brake preparations, a post-collision system, and adaptive headlights. It also has six airbags, including front and rear head airbags, as well as side-curtain airbags. Although expected of SUV's and performance vehicles, it's nice to know that the X6 M also has adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning. Additional features can be optioned on, such as a surround-view camera and a night vision system.
The X6 M is a special type of car, ideal for drivers looking for thrilling performance, albeit at the expense of practicality. The looks of the X6 M are certainly divisive, and many prospective buyers will probably be drawn to the more conventional X5 M instead. For those who want something different, the X6 M will not only turn heads with its aggressive and unique design, but it will also blow most cars away with its potent performance and surprisingly adept handling. The interior offers plush opulence with attention to detail that will make you feel as though you spent your money well; additionally, it is well-specified with standard features. While it offers mediocre fuel economy, most buyers for this segment have already made peace with the cramped rear seats and limited cargo space. The omission of Android Auto and forced-subscription to Apple CarPlay seems petty, but is actually a rather odd thing to have missed, given the arena in which the X6 M falls. Still, none of these drawbacks can detract from the X6 M's appeal, and it remains a good buy for power-oriented SUV lovers.
The X6 M has an MSRP of $105,700 excluding tax, licensing, and registration, as well as the destination fee of $995. Various add-ons and packages can be equipped for more enhanced driver aids or unique creature comforts/
The 2019 BMW X6 M is a one-model derivative of the standard X6, which comes in a few different trim levels. The X6 M is the flagship model and has a 567 hp turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is available in all-wheel-drive only.
The X6 M comes with a wide range of features including leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, a sunroof, 14-way power-adjustable heated seats, ambient interior lighting, and heated mirrors. Basic driver aids equipped to the X6 M include adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, front collision detection, and pedestrian detection. The X6 M also has many infotainment features including a 10.2-inch touchscreen with BMW iDrive, as well as Bluetooth capability, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, USB and AUX input, onboard navigation, AM/FM radio, as well as HD radio. It also has a one-year free subscription to both SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Apple Carplay. Additional extras that can be specified onto the X6 M include a Bang & Olufsen sound system, a wireless charger, a Wi-Fi hotspot, surround-view camera, 9.2-inch rear entertainment screens, and a night vision system.
4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
A variety of additional packages are available to customize the X6 M, and include the M Driver's package at an MSRP of $2,500, which offers increased top speed and one-day at a high-performance driving school for BMW M vehicle owners. There's also the Executive Package at $5,200 which adds ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, parking assistant, surround-view camera, a head-up display, wireless charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot.
Numerous standalone features are available, such as night vision with pedestrian detection at $2,300, a Bang & Olufsen surround sound system at $3,700, and rear-seat entertainment comprising of two 9.2-inch color screens at $2,200.
Starting at $105,700 the BMW X6 M offers a brilliant mix of jaw-dropping power, aggressive styling, and luxury. It's a great car in its standard guise, but it can be improved with the addition of some optional extras. The Bang & Olufsen Sound system is a must for music lovers at a price of $3,700. It would also be worthwhile getting the M Driver's Package at $2,500 because it empowers the driver with knowledge pertaining to getting the best out of this high performance vehicle. The Executive Package is also a worthy addition at $5,200, adding ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, adaptive LED headlights and a surround view camera. These features push the price of the car up to around $117,100, but are definitely worth it to bring out the best in the X6 M.
The Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S is the most direct rival to the X6 M in the segment, and pretty much emulated the creation of the SUV coupe. The Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S costs $113,000 to start with, compared to the X6 M's base price of $105,700. The Mercedes has a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 which makes 577 hp compared to the 567 hp from the X6 M's turbocharged 4.4-liter.
While the AMG GLE 63 S has full versions of both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, it lacks a touchscreen - the BMW offers only subscription to Apple CarPlay. Compared to most AMG models, the interior is a bit disappointing with the cheap plastic on the center of the dash sticking out like a sore thumb. The X6 M has launch control, and the option of a head-up display and night vision, which aren't available on the Mercedes even as optional. The BMW also has more cargo space. While they are both great SUVs with outstanding performance, the X6 M wins because of its better driving dynamics, not to mention cheaper price - but not by much.
Porsche set the cat among the pigeons when it first introduced the Cayenne way back in 2003. It was a game changer in the SUV class and since then, many luxury and sports car companies have jumped onto the SUV bandwagon including Lamborghini, Maserati and Rolls Royce. The third generation Cayenne Turbo makes 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 4.0 liter V8 and starts at $124,600. In comparison, the 567 hp X6 M starts at $105,700. Both cars have superb handling and are renowned for their comfort. While the BMW interior is extravagant, it's no match for the for the Porsche, which takes elegance to another level. The Cayenne Turbo has a more conventional SUV styling with obvious nods to the 911 range and is more practical than the BMWs polarising sloped back design. They are both great cars, but the Cayenne Turbo feels more special than the BMW thanks to its sports car heritage. At almost $20,000 cheaper, the X6 M is amazing if you are on a budget. If money is no object rather get the Porsche.