We’re confused why people are confused about the BMW X6M. But frankly most of that confusion seems to be amongst our automotive media colleagues.
Luckily arch-rival Mercedes-Benz has stepped-in and launched the excellent GLE model. So now we shouldn’t be bamboozled any more.
Really the problem is merely categorization. You see our colleagues aren’t sure whether the BMW X6M -and the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE63 S AMG – should be high-performance coupes or SUVs.
To which we say: “Who cares?” Fact is they’re both undeniably amongst the best cars on the planet and we’d own either in a heartbeat.”
And fortunately the ones who matter – the customers - agree with plenty of both heading out of the doors of dealerships nationally.
BMW X6 M Overview
It’s fast, it’s brutal and it’s the most powerful BMW you can buy. The BMW X6 M can be likened to the current crop of front row forwards in the NRL and full forwards in the AFL – you can’t believe something so big and intimidating can also move so fast and be so nimble.
Yes the looks of the MW X6 M are purposeful at best or confronting if you take that tack. We’re on the side of purposeful – in fact we think this is a tremendous game-changing vehicle.
The BMW X6 range starts at $115,400 but of course we’ve tested the range-topper, the M-enhanced X6 M which is stickered at $194,310. With a stonking ‘M’-tweaked twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre engine and the usual ‘M’ sports/luxury technology inside the X6 M leaves no stone unturned in the quest to be one of the world’s best high-performance SUVs.
Or is that high-performance coupe?
Oh, let’s not start that again…
BMW X6 M Engine
Like the previous generation X6 M we have a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine. While the core remains the same, there have been some significant changes for the new model (not the least of which to improve cooling).
The result is 15kW more power at 423kW and an extra 70Nm of torque at 750Nm.
Drive is to all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF transmission. This is a departure from the twin-clutch Getrag transmission familiar to BMW M fans – BMW says this due to the extra torque of the X6 M.
Combined-cycle fuel consumption rates at 11.1l/100kms.
BMW X6 M The Interior
Over the years ‘M’ has done some brilliant interiors but we can’t think of one better than the X6 M. Not as outlandish as the exterior but definitely leaving no doubt this is a high-performance vehicle.
There’s the gorgeous ‘M’ three-spoke sports steering wheel with the hallmark red-and-blue stitching, ‘M’ instrumentation, ‘M’ sports seats up-front and some carbon-fibre look trim elements.
Then we have the beautiful leather-trimmed dashboard, free-standing centre screen for the satellite navigation and copious amounts of stunning leather throughout. All of which is brought together by the usual BMW quality wherever you look.
Rear seat accommodation is SUV-like (although the swooping roofline does intrude on headroom – if you’re tall). Luggage space is enormous and the X6 M passed our ‘golf club’ test.
BMW X6 M Exterior & Styling
So we know the latest BMW X6 is a continuation of the theme. It’s a blend of coupe and large SUV with curves for the roof line and rear three-quarters jettisoning the boxy image of traditional rivals.
The ‘M’ version takes external appearance to a new stratosphere thanks to its lower ride height, huge ‘M’ 21-inch alloy wheels, unique bumpers (the front with extra large air intakes), unique front grille and, for the rear, a bootlid spoiler and diffuser-like lower element with four tailpipes.
It’s a subtle as a KISS concert at a lawn bowls tournament but we reckon the X6 M looks brilliant.
BMW X6 M On The Road
Unlike the M3 and M4, the BMW X6 M isn’t a track day car - but really you need a race track to exploit its full potential. We didn’t have that, but just one run over our high-speed mountain rods test loop had us shaking our heads at the brilliance of this large five-seat SUV.
An SUV? Really?
Co-incidentally we’d been over the same roads a few days earlier in the new Range Rover Sport SVR. It’s no exaggeration to say the driving dynamics of these two vehicles (and the even newer Mercedes-Benz GLE63 S AMG) now have the term ‘SUV’ out of date – they’re a new undefined category of vehicles.
For starters, when it gets honking, the astonishing roar of BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 confirms the X6 M is no mud-digger or caravan-puller. Mind you, with north of 2.2-tonnes to haul, the X6 M isn’t exactly a 118i.
Then there’s the chassis itself and the massive ‘M’ 21-inch alloy wheels covering the massive ‘M’ brakes. Yes there is a comfort mode which we’d recommend for everyday driving, but when the going gets twisty the BMW X6 M offers a plethora of different settings to hone steering, suspension, engine and transmission as required.
And to make the most of this car you need to keep-up with what those different settings do.
For example, even though some may still call the X6 M simply a large SUV, those clever Germans have the weight distribution 50:50 front/rear and in its sporty settings there is a distinct rear bias to the chassis dynamics. So after a pin-sharp turn in and with hardly any body roll, when you feed in the power from the corner apex the X6 M responds and feels more like an M5 than anything else.
BMW X6 M Issues
We’re not buying in to the “suspension is too firm” criticism of some road-testers. The ‘M’ badge buys entry to an exclusive high-performance world and ‘firm suspension’ is clearly stamped on your entry ticket…and never forget there are other X6 models to consider.
BMW X6 M Verdict
If you’re considering a BMW X6 M, it’s safe to say you probably don’t head to work with a plastic sleeve in your shirt pocket to contain a dozen pens and pencils and relaxing at home doesn’t require a pipe and slippers. Introverts won’t be looking here.
The X6M is without doubt an astonishingly fast, very technical and state-of-the-art high-performance vehicle. And for us, the ‘take-no-prisoners’ styling is a large part of its appeal.
Really the trick of the X6 M (and any ‘M’ vehicle in fact) is this: you can drive it fast, but to get the most out of it you need to be across the technology, the various xDrive modes and what they offer. That’s what we mean when we say – like the current crop of F1 Grand Prix racers - it’s a ‘technical’ vehicle.
On the other hand, the glorious ‘M’-enhanced interior will cocoon up to five people in comfort and out-back there’s ample room for the mutt and luggage too. Yes, ‘The Beast’ is more practical than you think.
The X6 M is BMW at its best. And that’s far better than most.
BMW X6 M The Competition
Although a relative ‘Johnny-Come-Lately’ (the BMW X6 is into its second generation), the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE63 S AMG has certainly brought some game. Slightly more expensive at $198,900, the GLE63S AMG has marginally more oomph under the bonnet with 430kW/760Nm from its AMG-tweaked twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8. And the AMG kit inside can’t be overlooked. We’re talking two ‘in-your-face’ styling jobs here but if anything the ‘Benz may be slightly more subtle.
And, we must say, again Porsche has been out-done by BMW and ‘Benz with the Cayenne Turbo more expensive at $232,900 and outgunned with only 382kW/750Nm from its twin-turbo 4.8-litre V8. Or you’ll need considerably more coin ($284,300) for the Turbo S with 419kW (still short of the others) and 800Nm.