The BMW X6 has had a pretty shaky past with the automotive community not being very receptive to the idea of chopping the roofline in favor of a coupe aesthetic on a vehicle that is designed to be more practical. It was off-putting for many to initially conceptualize the design of a coupe that is raised to the heavens and added no value to the vehicle other than some “looks”? To read an in-depth review visit Carindigo.com.
Fast forward to the third generation of the X6 and things seemed to have mellowed down quite a bit. The 2023 BMW X6 looks very pretty when viewed from the side and is now exactly a BMW X5 with 7 feet less cargo space behind the second row and 13 cubic feet less with the second row folded compared to the X5, all thanks to the coupe roofline. Much like all its brothers and sisters, the X6 was never going to be spared by the performance division at BMW, M Performance, and low and behold we have the BMW X6 M. The X6 M is a fast and mean piece of machinery that you would stay clear off if you see it in your rearview mirror.
Under the hood, although we never complained about the performance brought to the table by the standard engine on the X6 and X5, the M Performance division has decided that stuffing in a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 should do the trick just fine- How fine you ask? 600 ponies and 553 lb-ft of torque fine. And if you were ever dropped on your head when you were a child and have now grown to believe that 600 hp is just not even for the X6 M, you can throw in $9000 to option in the Competition package which gets you an additional 17 horsepower because that is exactly by how much the X6 M is underpowered, Right?
The X6 M is outfitted with a ton of new parts in the form of revised adaptive suspension, active front anti-roll bar, stiffer engine mounts, additional front-wheel camber, and staggered Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that are 295’s in the front and 315’s in the rear. The Competition package adds a slew of gadgetry on an already well equipped SUV alongside mechanical updates in the form of a strut-tower brace, a burbly sport exhaust system, a special track-driving mode, and 22-inch rear wheels while the interior gets slabs of Merino Leather thrown at every interior piece.
The X6 M though is an SUV, has a soul of a performance that makes the All-Wheel Drive system available on it be extremely rear-biased. The electronically limited-slip differential present in the rear will see you make some epic smoke clouds if you are not careful with the throttle inputs. The X6 M just like every other M Performance vehicle in the BMW Portfolio comes with preset driving modes in the form of comfort, Sport and Sport plus that also alter the shifting algorithms of the 8 speed ZF automatic transmission on offer. The very curious thing that comes into play is that BMW claims 3.8 seconds 0-60 time for the X6 M but the X6 M50i that is 77 horsepower down on the X6 M manages a similar time which makes us wonder if BMW is underquoting the X6 M’s performance.
The 2023 BMW X6 M is a very unique looking vehicle and is definitely going to catch some attention. The moment this behemoth of a vehicle sees some tarmac, people start to instinctively keep up with your pace and ultimately lose because the X6 M sees you pull away from the star gazing crowd within a split second. The X6 M is electronically limited at a top speed of 155 mph, but if that is just too conservative for you, or you are reading us from Germany, one can opt for the $2500 M Driver’s package that raises the top speed to 177mph. The revised suspension geometry on the X6 M coupled with all the active trickery that we mentioned earlier has resulted in the X6 M being quite a sharp handler.
The X6 M though is an SUV would be a task to outrun on a twisty road even for a skilled driver. The stiffer springs and stickier tires make it grip like no other SUV and the humongous brakes on offer are resilient to any sort of fading and provide some fantastic feedback via the adjustable brake feel. When going hard on the X6 M, be it on the track or twisty mountain road, be sure to be in either Sport or Sport Plus driving mode because you certainly don’t want to miss the glorious exhaust note that comes out of this sports car on stilts. High-speed cornering, which was our biggest concern on the X6 M due to umm well Physics, is so well tuned that we wouldn’t mind thrashing the X6 M around a track all day long.
When stepping inside the BMW X6 M, the vehicle is littered with carbon fiber accents and leather upholstery all around which really puzzles your brain as to fail to understand if the cabin is luxurious or sporty. the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster on offer is one of the sharpest units to come out of BMW and features a large heads up display. The seats come with electronic adjustability, heating, ventilation and massage functionalities for the front units while the rear seats make do with heating. The sloping roofline which had been quite a bother in the previous iterations of the X6, now only cuts into the cargo area and leaves the rear passengers with useable headroom. The latest I-Drive system coupled with a Harman Kardon setup does it’s duties phenomenally for most while for others with a keen ear, BMW does offer an optional Bowers and Wilkins audio system. The infotainment, like other Bimmers, is the best in the business but still offers Apple CarPlay only and that too as a paid subscription.
If going fast, taking along decent cargo, looking like a million bucks and not giving a care to bad roads sounds like just the right vehicle for you, then the BMW X6 M has your name written all over it.