BMW X6 M Competition — Astonishing performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(July 26, 2020) What's the point of the astonishingly fast BMW X6 M Competition? Is there a reason a rational individual would invest north of 100 grand for a copy of this fire-breathing fastback crossover propelled by a twin-turbocharged V-8 that can complete a 0-to-60 sprint in a supercar mid-3 second time with a top speed of 177 mph? We must put rationality aside in this case and marvel at this German work of art from its unique coupe-like styling to its mechanical wizardry.

The midsize luxury coupe-style crossover SUV entered the marketplace as the BMW X6 in 2008, and the high-performance M version followed in 2010 and — despite its love-it-or-hate-it styling — muscle car versions of the SUV coupe have caught on as demonstrated by the adoption of the head-catching design by the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe, Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo, and the all-new Audi RS Q8.

For 2020, the X6 M has been redesigned receiving the same general updating as its more conventional X5 SUV sibling and the garden variety X6. It's slightly longer, wider and lower than last year and comes with the latest technology and safety features BMW has to offer. Power is up with the turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 now thumping out 600 horsepower in the X6M and 617 horsepower in X6M Competition.

Peak horsepower comes at 6,000 rpm and the awesome 553 pound-feet of torque starts at just 1,800 rpm. Owners of the X6 M probably aren't concerned about gas mileage, which is rated at 13 mpg city, 18 highway and 15 combined on premium gas.

It's the X6 M Competition that we drove for a week, and it didn't take long to discover one of its downsides — you have to use a large measure of common sense to curb the almost insatiable urge to let the big dog eat every so often. If we lived with the X6M for a year, it would be difficult to avoid a nasty speeding ticket. Triple-digit speeds arrive in an adrenaline rush — accompanied by a thrilling exhaust rumble if either the Sport Plus or Track mode has been engaged.

And here's the thing — the X6 M is more than just a straight-line rocket capable of a 12-second quarter mile run. It can swallow up great gobs of winding mountain roads at staggering speeds. Thanks to its stiff springs and sticky tires, it takes skill and courage to find this car's cornering limits.

The M division bolsters the chassis with revised adaptive dampers, an active front anti-roll bar, stiffer engine mounts, additional front-wheel camber, and staggered Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires—295/35R-21 in front and 315/35R-21 at the rear. Competition models add several standard features including a strut-tower brace, a deeper-voiced sport exhaust system, a special track-driving mode, and 22-inch rear wheels.

As expected you will pay a big price for all this BMW wonderment measured at $110,595 including a $995 destination charge for the X6 M and $119,595 for the Competition version.  If you like the X6 look, but want to dial back the price and still retain a large measure of performance check out the X6 M50i for $86,645. That package brings the same turbocharged V-8, but with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.

Inside, the X6 M, delights with carbon-fiber accents and standard leather upholstery. There's no shortage of high-tech features including a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and a large head-up display. Those are accompanied by such things as ambient interior lighting, massaging front seats with heated and cooled surfaces, and heated rear seats. The seats are comfortable for both front and rear passengers.  But its coupe-like profile with its sloping roofline reduces cargo area. The traditional X5 M provides 34 cubic feet behind the back row while the X6 M has only 27 cubic feet.

BMW's latest iDrive software can be operated via the 12.3-inch touchscreen and also via hand gestures, voice commands, and a center-console-mounted rotary controller. While Android Auto isn't available at all, other popular features such as Apple CarPlay integration and a high-end 16-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system are standard.

Our X6 M Competition test car included the $1,700 Driver Assistance Professional Package that brings adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, frontal cross-traffic collision mitigation, an automatic lane-change feature and a low-level automated driving system; and the $3,600 Executive Package that includes remote ignition, soft-close doors, rear-passenger window shades, heated and cooled cupholders, ventilated front seats with massage functions, heated rear seats and adaptive headlights. Bottom line was $129,795.

To answer our opening question, the point of owning this beast is to have in your possession at your behest the immense driving entertainment that can be derived by getting out of COVID-19 sheltering and into a new exhilarating "shelter."

2020 BMW X6 M Competition


Base price, $110,595; as driven, $119,595
Engine: 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower: 617 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 553 foot-pounds @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 117 inches
Length: 195 inches
Curb weight: 5,375 pounds
Turning circle: 41.4 feet
Luggage capacity: 27.5 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 59.6 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 21.9 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 13 city, 18 highway, 15 combined
0-60: 3.4 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Mercedes AMG GLE 63, Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo

The Good
• Astonishing performance
• Impressive handling
• Luxury interior

The Bad
• Styling limits head room, cargo

The Ugly
• Huge price tag, horrible mileage