2020 BMW X6 M Competition: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
Those familiar with BMW know that any model with an M affixed to the name denotes the highest levels of performance, be it a sporty coupe, convertible, sedan or even an SUV. We had the good fortune to spend a few days with the BMW X6 M Competition, which enters its third generation for the 2020 model year. The X6 M reigns at the top of the high-performance BMW sport-utility vehicle lineup. Note that BMW refers to this model as a Sports Activity Coupe. No matter what it’s called, the X6 M is a serious performance machine.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
BMW provided a 2020 BMW X6 M Competition painted in a unique Ametrin Metallic (we would call it purple). As the top trim of the X6, almost everything imaginable comes standard on the M Competition. However, our test model was also equipped with BMW’s Driver Assistance Pro Package, Executive Package, M Driver’s Package and an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins audio system. Total MSRP for this X6 M lists at $131,745. Competitors to the X6 M Competition include the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Coupe, Audi RSQ8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStyling
As with other M models in the BMW lineup, the X6 M stands out from the standard X6 with unique kidney grilles fitted with black double bars, M gills on the front fenders, aerodynamic side mirrors and bolder wheel arches. Up front, more air intakes provide additional engine cooling and a more aggressive look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear View
The X6 M has stylish LED taillights, the black quad pipes of an M Sport Exhaust, and both roof and tailgate spoilers further enhance aerodynamics.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStaggered Wheels
The X6 M Competition comes with staggered wheel sizes: 21-inches in front and 22 inches at the rear. Both feature BMW’s M Star Spoke light-alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S high-performance tires.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCoupelike Styling
The silhouette of the X6 M showcases its coupelike styling —a polarizing look for an SUV that some folks appreciate and some don’t (our opinion falls in line with the latter one). Sporting a high beltline and a roof that peaks over the driver and runs downward at an angle to the taillights, the X6 proportions don’t seem well balanced. Although BMW engineers and designers intended to make the X6 sportier than traditionally shaped SUVs such as the BMW X5, it simply removes much of the vehicle’s utility without adding any level of performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Although the BMW X6 M Competition is all about performance — thus the word Competition in the name —the interior is a nice mix of sportiness and luxury. The cabin is awash in carbon fiber, aluminum and leather, the latter covering the dash, doors and center storage. The M Sport steering wheel is also trimmed in leather but features red, white and blue stitching as well as bright red M buttons — more on those later.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats
Front seats of the 2020 BMW X6 M Competition get trimmed in soft Merino leather — two-tone Silverstone in our test vehicle. Both seats offer multiple adjustments as well as heating, cooling and massaging functions. The side bolsters provide lower and upper support, making the seats comfortable even during spirited driving. We like the added touch of a lighted X6 M badge in the head restraints.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
In the second tier the seats also have soft leather trim as well as heating. There’s a decent amount of legroom and with two passengers it is quite spacious. A center armrest can be folded down to reveal storage and cupholders if the middle seat is not in use. With the sloping roof and small windows it feels a bit claustrophobic in back.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
The X6 M Competition has a generous amount of space behind the rear seats — easily enough for a few large suitcases. The folding hard cargo cover is also a nice touch. Again, the shape of the vehicle does limit the overall space, especially for taller items.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
A 4.4-liter BMW M TwinPower Turbo V8 powers the 2020 BMW X6 M Competition, generating a plentiful 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an 8-speed M Sport automatic transmission. Power gets sent to all four wheels via BMW’s M xDrive high-performance all-wheel-drive system. With excellent traction and all that power on tap, the hefty X6 M Competition can sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 177 mph when equipped with the M Driver’s Package.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMultiple Configurations
BMW allows the driver to adjust a wide range of driving characteristics in the X6 M, including settings for the engine, transmission, chassis, steering, brakes, stability control, all-wheel-drive system and exhaust note. Scrolling through menus to change all these items constantly would become quite complicated and tedious, so BMW created presets. On the steering wheel are two M buttons — each can be preset with the desired settings for all parameters.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
The BMW X6 M Competition has enormous power, which is immediately evident the moment the accelerator pedal gets pressed. The first time going to full throttle from a standstill is a bit of a shock to the system — the substantial X6 M sets off like a rocket. Triple-digit speeds come up quickly, accompanied by one of the best V8 exhaust notes still out there.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSporty?
With big, sticky tires and all-wheel drive, the X6 M Competition can do more than simply drag race. Like any other BMW M product, this SUV performs superbly on winding back roads, or even racetracks. However, there is no hiding the fact that an X6 M driver is tossing around more than 5,000 pounds. The big SUV handles spirited driving with excellent steering, strong brakes and a tight suspension, but falls a bit short of sporty. Where a sports car is light and agile, the X6 M muscles its way through the corners — the result is similar but the feeling quite different.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceM Buttons
To experience the dual personalities of the X6 M, the M1 button can be set to full comfort and M2 with the sportiest setup. With everything set for comfort, the X6 M cruises smoothly and quietly with easy gear shifts, lower revs and a quiet exhaust. Power is still available when needed, but overall the ride is calmer. Selecting M2 wakes up Mr. Hyde — the exhaust is amplified; shifts are much more abrupt with the engine staying in higher revs, and throttle response is much quicker. The all-wheel-drive system and stability control allow more leeway; accelerating hard out of a corner will easily kick out the rear end, but it quickly comes back into line.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating 8.5
The 2020 BMW X6 M Competition represents the pinnacle of performance for the company’s line of SUVs (or Sports Activity Vehicles, as BMW calls them). The luxurious interior, decent level of utility and more than 600 horsepower on tap certainly make the X6 M Competition desirable, but these things don’t come cheap. However, for those who have the means and prefer the coupelike styling of the X6, this could be a fantastic family vehicle. Given the choice, we would take the equally powerful X5 M Competition — then again, either vehicle would be welcome in the driveway.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
WIth large fenders and big air intakes, the X6 M Competition has the looks to complement its big power.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
With its sloping roofline, the BMW X6 is referred to as a Sports Activity Coupe.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
The X6 M Competition gets 21-inch wheels up front, and 22-inches in back.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Up front, black double bars in the grille of the X6 M Competition help differentiate it from the standard X6.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Michelin high-performance tires

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Aerodynamic rearview mirrors

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
M Sport Exhaust

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
LED taillights

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
A stylish and useful cargo cover.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
The rear seat of the X6 M can feel a bit claustrophobic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Rear-seat climate controls

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
The X6 M badge on the front seats lights up.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Heated and cooled cupholders

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Digital gauge cluster

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
BMW allows the driver to choose from a variety of “experience modes.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
Controls for almost all functions are easily accessible in the center console.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW X6 M Competition
The X6 M Competition is nicely trimmed in leather and carbon fiber.

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