BMW's X6 M is an unusual yet highly impressive performance machine. The so-called Sport Activity Coupe has bodywork that ripples with aggressive flared fenders and fascias, and comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels. It's also an intense performance machine that's capable of lapping race circuits at a pace that beats most sports cars. Now in its second generation, the X6 M gains its first real rival for 2016, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG Coupe.
Given that the second-generation X6 M launched just last year, it should come as no surprise that BMW hasn't really made any changes. The only difference of note is that the optional Premium Package now includes BMW's Connected Driver Services, which bundles in-car internet, real-time navigation traffic information, and concierge services together. This was formerly a standalone option.
A big part of what gives the X6 M its supernatural abilities is its 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. This 567-horsepower motor provides supercar-like acceleration; thanks to standard xDrive all-wheel drive, it can rocket to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, making it every bit as fast as the BMW M5 or M6 despite tipping the scales at 5,200 lbs.
Unlike those other BMW models, the X6 M comes fitted with a traditional eight-speed automatic, though it has been programmed to act like a dual-clutch transmission. Gearchanges are rapid, and the crossover will roll back on hills as it defaults to neutral at a stop. Strong brakes, optional 21-inch wheels, and grippy Michelin tires that feature 325-width tires allow the X6 M to hold onto the road with much greater tenacity than one would expect. To keep the X6 M level in corners at speed, the engineers at BMW's M division have fitted performance springs and electronically controlled dampers that are very firm resulting in a ride that's quite choppy. Rivals such as the GLE Coupe and Range Rover Sport SVR with full air suspension are smoother.
Other than a slightly lower seating position and a reduced view out the rear, the X6 M's cabin is identical to the X5 M. Fit and finish is top-notch with available two-tone contrast-stitched leather, and familiar BMW controls. Although BMW has fitted the X6 M with a 40/20/40 split rear folding seat, cargo capacity is rather small. Its 550 litres is 100 L down on the GLE Coupe, and only 40 L more than the smaller X4.
The X6 M is available with BMW's top-tier technologies, including a full colour head-up display, 360-degree parking camera, park assistant, and even night vision. The Driving Assistant system includes forward collision warning with emergency autonomous braking, pedestrian detection, and lane-change assist.
The 2016 BMW X6 M sells for $109,200, a $1,000 premium over last year's model.
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