2020 BMW X6

INDIANAPOLIS — It took me a long time to warm up to the idea of a “crossover coupe.”  I mean, what’s the point?  It’s big and heavy, but can’t haul as much as a proper crossover.  It’s sporty like a fastback sedan, but doesn’t handle as well as a car.  Other than looking good, the breed didn’t seem to do anything particularly well.  Some of that may still be true, but after many miles, I’ve warmed up to the BMW X6 4.0 xDrive.

Practical or impractical, it just doesn’t matter when you look at the X6.  It looks like an angry space bug ready to strafe future-tech city streets or blitz from A to B while terrorizing Corollas.  I enjoy the gaping twin-kidney grille and ground affects, but it’s the high tail that imbues a next-century Mars buggy aesthetic.  It’s only when you view the side profile that you realize there’s a bit of roof missing over the hind quarters.  Plant it over 20” wheels and brighten it up with adaptive LED headlamps for an aggressive stance.
Given a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase compared to the previous generation, four voyagers ride comfortably inside a cabin with layers of leather, aluminum trim, and dual-pane sunroof.  Heated front seats cozy your booty.  Drivers appreciate a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel, head-up display, and flatscreen gauge cluster.  Plug in to the crisp Harman Kardon audio system with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and wireless device charging.  BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with console joywheel still bedevils me.  Conjuring navigation directions is not easy.
Only a jetliner has more guidance systems.  To keep its sexy bod unscathed, the X6 comes with adaptive cruise, forward collision alert with city collision mitigation, lane keep assist, and blind spot warning.  Rear cross traffic alert and a plethora of around-view camera angles do their parts too.
Despite the 4.0 moniker, which implies a 4-liter V8, this X6 is stoked with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine that whomps out 335 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque.  It’s all sent to the all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed automatic transmission.  That’s enough push to click the big bruiser from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds.  If that doesn’t quite get it for you, step up to the available 523 horsepower 4.4-liter turbocharged V8.  Go small to see 20/26-MPG city/highway.
Stalking Interstates, the big crossover enjoys hauling fast and visually ushering slow-pokes out of its path.  Lay shadows on rear bumpers to scare the shivers out of matronly mammas and manly men alike.  Beyond the peppy powertrain, the X6 has dynamic dampers that allow drivers to adjust the suspension from pleasantly smooth in “Comfort” to reasonably firm in “Sport.” 

Of course, changing modes also changes the throttle response and steering feel.  In no mode is it an M3, but given the X6’ mission of moving small families comfortably, the vehicle behaves admirably whether erasing miles of highways or flipping through backroads.
I still don’t know what I think of crossover coupes like the X6.  It falls short as a proper SUV, but is an over-achiever in moving four passengers and all of their gear.  In the end, it’s a handsome way to get where you’re going.  For a base price of $64,300, or $72,200 as tested, that’s probably enough.

—  Casey Williams (MyCarData)