2020 BMW X6 First Look Review: Evolution At Its Finest

First Look / 10 Comments

The third generation 'Sport Activity Coupe' is everything fans could ever want.

BMW product planners are geniuses. It all began over a dozen years ago when they were strategizing on how best to take advantage of a growing demand for SUV crossovers, especially in North America. Both the X3 and X5 were already on sale and highly successful, but what else could be done? The market for a large three-row SUV wasn't quite there, a slot that today is occupied by the all-new X7. Americans, in particular, didn't want a vehicle too small, so the X1 was ruled out. Was there something missing? Say a cross between a sporty coupe and an SUV? Turns out there was.

Beginning with the second generation X5's platform, BMW dug thru its part bin, and came up with a new body design, and voila! The first generation X6 was born and it was a massive success from day one. Its second-gen successor continued that trend and now the all-new 2020 BMW X6 has arrived. The third generation model picks up right where its predecessor left off and is, like always, based on the impressive new X5.

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Familiar Yet Updated Styling

The 2020 BMW X6 resembles its predecessors but there are many noticeable differences. Gone is the softer grille and fairly conservative headlight design in favor of BMW's new signature headlamps which feature a far more angular style complete with LED light strips arranged as a partial hexagon. Like the X7, an enlarged kidney grille is smack dab in the center for all to see. There are also more dominant front air intakes directly beneath the headlights. Additional new design elements include a hood with deeper creases and sides with a more chiseled appearance. There's also an aerodynamic rear lip. Standard wheel size is 20-inches but up to 22-inch wheels are optional.

The new X6 is lower to the ground than its predecessor, precisely by 0.7 inches. However, the vehicle is also 1 inch longer with a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase as well. Width is increased by 0.6 inches. Thanks to a lower center of gravity designers were able to pen a sleeker-looking roof which drops towards the rear end at a slightly sharper angle. Also take note of the double-bubble rear hatch glass and a couple of spoilers. The taillights feature an L-shaped LED look reminiscent of what's found on the 8 Series.

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Technology, Safety & Luxury

Step inside and you'll find an interior layout very similar to that of the X5 and X7. Think of it as a blend of the two. There are two 12.3-inch screens up front where the instrument cluster and center-mounted infotainment system were in the second-gen model. Ambient lighting is now standard but you'll have to pay extra for heated and cooled cupholders and glass controls. The panoramic glass roof is now 83% larger than before while the optional Panorama Sky Lounge, featuring 15,000 graphic points in the glass roof, will be a must for those who can afford it.

Safety-minded buyers will enjoy BMW's usual suite of high-tech features including adaptive cruise control, a lane-keep assist, head-up display with an even larger projection field than before, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Collision Warning, Frontal Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation.

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Power & Performance

Like the base X5, the X6 sDrive 40i's standard engine is the familiar 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder with 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. If you want all-wheel-drive, the xDrive 40i is also available, though it's ever so slightly slower to 60 mph than its RWD counterpart, 5.2 seconds vs. 5.3 seconds.

Those seeking more power will need to upgrade to the xDrive M50i model that comes powered by a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 with 526 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. There is no RWD option for this engine, which is also paired to the same gearbox. Performance? Try 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph when wearing all-season tires. Switch to summer rubber and you'll experience that speed increase to 155 mph. What about the new X6 M? BMW has not yet released official details, but we expect it'll be powered by this same V8 though it'll produce around 625 hp.

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Sports Car Handling

Although it's bigger and heavier than the average sports car, the new X6 M50i variant has been engineered to handle like one. Dynamic Damper Control comes standard while the Dynamic Handling Package is a must-have option for enthusiasts thanks to its active roll stabilization and four-wheel steering. An M Sport rear differential is also standard fare. Want even more track-inspired goodies? Tack on a height-adjusting and self-leveling air suspension system.

Even xDrive 40i buyers can upgrade things with an off-road package that incorporates that same air suspension system, M Sport differential, and four off-road driving modes. Another cool handling feature worth mentioning is Back-Up Assistant. This is designed to help the driver reverse out of a narrow parking spot by automatically turning the wheel in the exact same way it was when first pulling in.

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What Will This All Cost?

Just like any new BMW, the 2020 X6 doesn't come cheap. Prices will start at $64,300 for the X6 sDrive 40i, $66,600 for the xDrive 40i, and a whopping $85,650 for the X6 M50i. Remember, these are only base prices and don't include any additional (and pricey) packages. And let's not forget the $995 destination charge.

Sales won't get underway until this coming November and we expect deliveries will start sometime in early 2020.

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Will It Sell?

There's no debate here. A total of 6,862 examples of the outgoing X6 were sold in the US last year, a slight increase from 2017. The all-time best sales year the X6 had was in 2015 with 7,906 units leaving dealership lots. Considering its price point and the fact the X6 is not an all-out SUV with lots of interior space, these are excellent sales figures. The 2020 BMW X6 will, without question, continue to play a pivotal role in the automaker's lineup.

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