BMW X6 M SUV (2015-2019)
“The BMW X6 M is a coupe version of the hugely powerful BMW X5 M SUV. With polarising looks, it’s less practical than that car, but just as good to drive”
- Doesn’t lose out on space
- Agile handling for an SUV
- Fantastic engine
- Polarising looks
- Thirsty petrol V8
- X5 M is just as fast
Few cars divide opinion as much as the BMW X6 and the X6 M isn’t likely to win over its detractors. While some people love the idea of a large SUV with a coupe-style body and handling to rival a performance saloon, others find the concept less enticing.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, it’s hard to deny the audacity of BMW in fitting a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 engine with a massive 567bhp into what is essentially a family car. This gives the X6 M enough performance to wipe the floor with most sports cars in a straight line; you’d have to spend considerably more on a Bentley Bentayga or Tesla Model X P100D to accelerate from 0-62mph in much less than 4.2 seconds.
Accurate steering, adaptive suspension and unbelievably wide tyres provide plentiful grip through fast sweeping corners and there’s hardly any body lean for such a large SUV.
With such searing performance, it’s probably little surprise to find you’ll pay for it at the pumps, with 25.4mpg fuel economy. It’s unlikely the X6 M will make it onto many company car lists either, sitting in the highest 37% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band.
At least comfort is taken care of, thanks to leather upholstery, high-end stereos and an infotainment system offering connected services through a built-in internet connection.
The BMW X6 M is almost the perfect definition of a niche model, with only a handful of other cars having similar attributes. For families, the BMW X5 M will make more sense – offering identical performance and more space – but we don’t doubt some will be won over by the radical styling of the X6 M.
MPG, running costs & CO2
A high-riding, two-tonne SUV with a petrol V8 is never going to be thrifty and the X6 M certainly isn’t, with claimed economy of 25.4mpg if you drive carefully. CO2 emissions are rated at 258g/km and the X6 M will cost £450 in annual road tax for the first five years of ownership. Company-car drivers will be hit hard by its 37% BiK band, which compares to 31% for the standard xDrive30d M Sport diesel.
Rivals are just as expensive to run, though, with the Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe 63 S returning 23.7mpg, while the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S manages 24.6mpg. Both sit in the same road tax and BiK bands as the BMW.
The optional Service Exclusive pack is worth ticking, covering the first three years/36,000 miles of servicing for £999, while the standard warranty covers the X6 M for the first three years, regardless of mileage.
Engines, drive & performance
Originally developed for models like the BMW M5, the X6 M’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 has 567bhp, outgunning the engines of the Range Rover Sport SVR and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, but with 10bhp less than the Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe 63 S can muster. Despite a power disadvantage, the Porsche gets from 0-62mph slightly quicker, in 4.1 seconds, while the X6 M and GLE Coupe take an identical 4.2 seconds. The BMW X6 M’s top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox offers fast shifts, but can also be smooth when you want to drive around town or take things at a slower pace. Standard four-wheel drive (which BMW calls xDrive) is fitted to help make use of all the power on offer, but it’s best suited to road driving, rather than heading down rough tracks or up muddy banks.
The adjustable Adaptive M suspension can be made softer or firmer depending on the road and your preference, but most drivers are likely to leave it in Comfort. Even in this setting, the X6 M will amaze most people with its ability on a challenging road, providing superb agility for a large SUV, with barely any body lean at all.
Interior & comfort
With 20-inch alloy wheels and a performance suspension setup, the X6 M transmits more bumps through to the cabin than a standard X6, but in Comfort mode the suspension is actually quite relaxed.
As you’d expect in a car costing close to £100,000, standard kit is extensive and sees the interior trimmed in Merino leather upholstery. In fact, everywhere you look inside there are changes, from the sports gauges to the M sill plates and anthracite headlining.
The infotainment system is controlled by an iDrive wheel on the centre console and has its own internet connection. This enables real-time traffic updates and can call up a concierge service, or even summon help in an emergency or when roadside assistance is required. Other technology includes LED adaptive headlights, a 20GB hard drive for storing music, DAB radio, Bluetooth, wireless smartphone charging, sat nav and a head-up display that beams your speed onto the windscreen. You can even lock or unlock the doors from miles away using a smartphone app, thanks to BMW's 'remote services'. This also lets you check how much fuel is left in the tank, where the car is - handy for something so valuable - and turn on the climate control.
Practicality & boot space
While its coupe-like silhouette cuts down on practicality to an extent, the X6 M still boasts a 650-litre boot, which expands to 1,870 litres with the rear seats folded. There’s no penalty compared to the standard X6 model and it’s competitive with rivals, offering the same space behind the seats as the GLE Coupe and just 20 litres less than the Porsche Cayenne.
The BMW X6 was originally sold with four individual seats, but the new model has a more conventional layout, with enough space for five adults. Headroom in the back isn’t quite as generous as in the X5 M for obvious reasons, but it’s still adequate, and kneeroom is plentiful, too. There are plenty of cupholders dotted around the cabin and a useful storage bin between the front seats.
Reliability & safety
The BMW X6 didn’t feature in the top 150 models in our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, making reliability difficult to predict. However, the fact many parts are shared across the BMW range should be reassuring, along with the fact the X6 M has been designed to cope with having so much power from the factory. A middling 15th-place result for the BMW brand as a whole (out of 32 manufacturers) is a little disappointing, though.
Because this is a fairly niche model, Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the BMW X6, but BMW has a track record of producing safe cars which typically score the full five stars. With a long list of airbags and safety equipment, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), there shouldn’t be anything to worry about here.
Price, value for money & options
Costing around £93,000, the BMW X6 M is never going to be for everyone and some will baulk at the thought of a performance SUV that costs more than a Porsche 911 Carrera S sports car. You can still splash out on some options, upgrading the standard Harmon Kardon speakers to a B&O system for £2,570, while a panoramic sunroof costs £1,295. A Cold Weather package adds a heated steering wheel and rear seats for £475 and we’d recommend the space-saver spare wheel for £150.
While features like this can easily tip the price over £100,000, if you only have room on your drive for one vehicle and you want it to be able to take the kids to school on the way to your next trackday, there aren’t many models like the BMW X6 M to choose from.