£100,085 Price range
The BMW X6 M is a large SUV with a coupe body that offers sports car handling with all the practicality of a big 4×4. It’s closest rivals are the Mercedes GLE 63 AMG, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and the Range Rover Sport SVR.
The interior is typical BMW – high-quality materials and an easy to use layout, but with added M flair in the form of a sporty steering wheel and sculpted seats. The high driving position gives a great view of the road and the seats are comfortable and supportive. The boot is not the biggest in class but should be enough for most needs and will fit a set of skis thanks to an opening in the middle of the rear seat.
Driving is where the X6 M not only impresses but even amazes – there is endless grip and you rarely feel the 2.3-tonne weight of the car. Some would even say it’s even better than the current best-in-class Porsche Cayenne. The only drawbacks are firm suspension if you specify the huge 21-inch wheels and some tyre roar which can be heard in the cabin at high speeds.
The 4.4-litre V8, also used in the M5, is a beautiful engine – it has huge reserves of torque almost from a standstill and it makes all kinds of nice noises when you are driving it fast. While cruising on the motorway it emits a nice purr that adds another level of comfort.
Every X6 M comes with a broad range of standard equipment, but that is expected from a car costing so much. Nevertheless, you still have the almost endless BMW optional extras list that can add technology, luxury and thousands of pounds to the price.
Anyone who has been in an X6 will recognise the X6 M cabin. It is beautifully put together and the material quality is exceptional – lots of leather and polished metal and carbon fibre abound. The layout is typical driver focused BMW and that is not a bad thing, although a Q7 has a more premium atmosphere inside.
The M steering wheel with contrasting red and blue stitching adds a sporty touch that hints at the capability of the SUV.
BMW X6 M passenger space
Everyone will like the seats in the X6 M. They hug your body in all the right areas and not only provide support when cornering at a high speed but are also very comfortable over long distances.
There is huge space for the driver and front passenger, but less for those in the back thanks to the swooping roofline. It’s by no means cramped in the back, but the X5 M is roomier.
BMW X6 M boot space
The X6 M comes with a 550-litre boot. That is 100 litres less than what you get in a X5 M, but few sports cars have boots as big, and the X6 M is as fast as many sports cars.
For a 2.3 tonne, high-riding SUV, the X6 M is surprisingly good to drive. The huge grip coupled with almost no body roll astonishes after a short blast on a twisty road. Thanks to different driving modes, the SUV feels as much at home covering huge distances on the motorway as it is on a winding mountain pass. You’ll struggle to believe the speed at which the X6 M can go around a race track or a twisty B-road.
The Dynamic Select program allows you to alter the gearbox, suspension firmness, throttle response as well as steering wheel weight and has several modes from Sport to Comfort. We came to the conclusion that the best set-up is to have the gearbox and engine in Sport and leave the suspension in Comfort. The Sport Plus mode makes the X6 M too twitchy and nervous to be enjoyable.
The slightly firm suspension and the tyre roar when on the motorway are some of the few drawbacks of this incredibly capable all-rounder.
The engine is another thing in the X6 M that receives lots of praise – it is the same unit used in the M5 and packs a respectable 570hp along with mountains of pulling power. Surprisingly for an SUV that weighs more than two tonnes, it can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds. To put this into perspective that’s faster than a Porsche 911. The top speed is limited to 155mph, but if you opt for the optional M Driver’s Package, the top speed rises to 173mph which is just 7mph short of the top speed of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Although the eight-speed automatic is a conventional and not a DSG one it has proven itself in the M5 and the speed of gear changes is comparable to a DSG gearbox. It’s not as fast as Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK when you ask it to change down more than one gear, though.
Fuel efficiency has been improved by 20% over the old model, but most owners will care more about the fact that you have to fill it up with petrol every 250 miles. Real world fuel consumption will be sub 20mpg.
Although there isn’t a Euro NCAP safety score, we are confident BMW has pulled all the stops to make one of it fastest and heaviest cars as safe as possible. The four-wheel-drive system provides unflappable grip, and the brakes give impressive stopping power for the 2.3-tonne car.
As usual there is a huge range of passive and active safety systems such as lane departure warning as well as BMW Assist, which can contact the emergency services in case of a serious crash.
You’d expect a car costing so much to be nicely equipped and as a result every X6 M comes with a head-up display, Bluetooth phone connectivity, climate control, LED headlights and a large touchscreen satellite navigation system with the latest version of BMW’s iDrive.
A “reasonably” priced optional extra is the electric sunroof (£1,095), but not so reasonably priced is the Bang and Olufsen stereo which will set you back £2,960. This serves as a reminder to how the option list for a premium car can almost double its price.
The X6 M is a Marmite car – you either love it or you don’t. Die-hard BMW M enthusiasts will question whether a 2.3-tonne SUV fits the performance division’s ethos, but beyond that, the X6 M is practical, stupidly quick and well built inside. It also drives like a sports car and can out-accelerate most of the performance hatchbacks while it will still seat five with all their luggage. The only problem is that the X5 M exists and it’s more practical and cheaper to buy.