• Fastback 4-door “coupe” sibling to the X5
  • 335-hp 3.0L inline-six or 532-hp 4.4L V8
  • Rear- or all-wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds (M50i)
  • Illuminated twin-kidney grille
  • Priced from $64,300 (sDrive40i), $66,600 (xDrive40i), and $85,650 (M50i)
  • In dealerships in November 2019

 

When it first debuted 10 years ago, the BMW X6 was a highly controversial addition to the lineup. Although it was a high-riding crossover SUV like its close sibling, the more traditionally styled X5, the X6 defied convention—and, to many eyes, good taste—with its radically sloping roofline that slashed rear-seat headroom and cargo space, and also resulted in proportions that were highly unusual for an SUV. BMW called it a Sports Activity Coupe and charged a premium versus the more utilitarian X5.

Some 443,000 sales worldwide over the model’s lifespan would seem to be proof of concept—as would the arrival of competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe and the Porsche Cayenne coupe. Now, BMW has taken the wraps off the third-generation model, the 2020 X6, which is available as an sDrive40i, xDrive40i, and M50i.

What is the price of the 2020 BMW X6?

As it has since the beginning, the X6 is priced a fair bit higher than the one-number-lower X5. The 2020 X6 sDrive40i starts at $64,300 (versus $60,700 for the current, 2019-model X5 xDrive40i). And the 2020 X6 M50i opens at $85,650, nearly $10k more than the current X5 M50i.  Prices exclude $995 delivery. The latest X6 arrives in showrooms in November.

Inline-six and V8 engines

The X6 trails the redesigned X5 by one model year, but the two SUVs have much in common, including elements of their powertrains, chassis tech, and interior design. Like the X5, the 2020 X6 again is offered with turbocharged 6-cylinder power or with a twin-turbo V8 under the hood. But while the X5 comes only with all-wheel drive, the six-cylinder version of the X6 can be had in rear-drive or AWD form. The X6 M50i is AWD only.

The turbocharged inline-six that powers the X6 40i variants makes the same 335 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque as it does in the X5, although that does represent an additional 35 ponies compared to the previous X6. BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, however, better fulfills the X6’s mission to be the sportier offering, as it is more potent here than it is in the X5. The 2020 X6 M50i musters 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, bettering the X5 M50i’s 456 horses and 479 lb-ft. The new X6 M50i’s output also represents hefty increases of 78 horsepower and 73 lb-ft over the 2019 model. (That would seem to hardly leave room for the inevitable X6 M version, but we certainly wouldn’t bet against its return.)

Besides the uprated powertrain, the M50i’s mechanical upgrades over the 40i also include M Sport brakes, an M Sport rear differential, an Adaptive M Suspension, and an M Sport exhaust system with switchable exhaust note—all of which are optional on the 40i.

Improved acceleration

Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic, and BMW estimates their zero-to-60 times as follows: 5.3 seconds for the xDrive40i, 5.2 for the sDrive40i, and 4.1 for the M50i. Those figures are down from 6.0 seconds for the previous X6 40i (both RWD and AWD) and 4.5 for the outgoing M50i. For those eyeing an X6 for work rather than play, know that the model is rated to tow up to 7,200 pounds—same as an X5.

All X6 models come standard with adaptive dampers with selectable Sport and Comfort modes. Active Roll Stabilization is optional, as is 4-wheel steering (BMW’s Integral Active Steering). An available air-spring suspension can raise or lower the vehicle by up to 3.2 inches in total. Lest you think the X6 is some kind of track hound that can’t possibly set a tire off the pavement, BMW has introduced a new Off-Road Package, available on the xDrive40i, which includes the air springs, the M Sport rear differential, skid plates, and special off-road driving modes.

X6 design: still radical, no longer shocking

The X6 has grown slightly in most exterior dimensions. It sits astride a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase, stretches 1.0 inch longer overall, and is 0.6 inch wider. It is, however, fractionally lower, by 0.7 inch, which BMW claims lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity, and which should help give the vehicle even more astounding agility.

The characteristic sloping roofline returns, of course, and now is subtly sculpted into a twin-hump design as it moves rearward. Both the top of the liftgate and its trailing edge are adorned with functional spoilers. Thin taillights are placed high up on the liftgate, while up front LED adaptive headlamps are standard.

Illuminated grille

Whereas the recently introduced BMW X7 SUV has taken the dimensions of the brand’s traditional twin-kidney grille to new heights, the new X6 makes an even showier statement by being the first BMW to feature an illuminated grille. Not only does it flash when the vehicle is locked or unlocked, but it also can remain illuminated in concert with the daytime running lights. In another nod to big style, the X6 comes standard with 20-inch wheels, but all X6 models can be had with 21s or 22s.

Rear visibility has always been a challenge owing to the X6’s shape, and the 2020 version offers some novel solutions to the problem. Although a backup camera is standard, the optional Parking Assistant Plus brings a phalanx of cameras that can create Top View, Panorama View, or 3D View images of the vehicle’s surroundings in the central display screen. Moreover, the available Back-Up Assistant can automatically back the X6 out of a parking space (up to 50 yards), retracing the same path and steering-wheel movements that were used to enter it. The driver just has to operate the accelerator and brake. Finally, for gazing at the X6—rather than out of it—BMW’s ConnectedDrive App can send a live 3D image of the car to the owner’s smartphone, even if they’re miles away.

Class of 2020: The New and Redesigned Cars, Trucks and SUVs

Big-screen interior

BMW’s 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is standard on the X6, as is a 12.3-inch infotainment screen—the latter being slightly larger than the unit in the latest X5. Functionally, however, it’s very similar, operating the latest iDrive system that incorporates gesture controls (optional) and haptic feedback for the touchscreen, and allows a great deal of configurability of the display. The digital instrument cluster also is configurable, and switches up its look based on which drive mode is selected. A head-up display and night vision are both optional.

Vernasca leather is standard; finer Merino leather is optional. The cabin can be further fancied up with glass switchgear; heated seats, steering wheel, and armrests; heated and cooled cupholders; and a leather-covered dashboard; among other items. And while a panoramic sunroof is standard, that can be upgraded to one that lights up like a starry sky. Among functional features, navigation is standard, as is Apple CarPlay. Forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, and lane-departure warning also are included, but higher levels of driver assistance cost extra. 

Can't wait for the redesigned BMW X6? Get a deal on the outgoing X6 at a dealer near you

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