When in doubt, always build another high-performance crossover model.
That might as well be the German auto industry's motto: between BMW and Mercedes-Benz alone, there are at least a half-dozen sport utilities and crossovers branded with their respective maker's high-performance label. One of them is the BMW X6 M, a sibling to the standard-grade X6, itself a first cousin to the X5.
But the X6 trades the upright styling that graces the more traditional vehicle with which it shares a platform and mechanicals in favour of a tapered tail. That characteristic emphasizes the "activity" in BMW's sport activity vehicle while reducing utility by limited rear-seat headroom and cargo space.
Instead of apologizing to your friends who don't quite fit in back, just pin the throttle and let the M's turbocharged 4.4L V8 do the talking with its 567 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. That power gets put to the road by an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard xDrive all-wheel drive.
The X6 M's only true competitor is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe, a 577-hp vehicle that is similarly styled and based on a more traditional SUV model.
As the X6 M moves into 2017, the only real change is a $1,000 price bump, to $110,200.
Unsurprisingly, ride quality is on the harsh side thanks for performance-tuned springs and dampers; the AMG GLE Coupe does a better job of isolating its occupants from uneven road surfaces.
Standard features include heated front and rear seats, backup camera, park distance sensors front and rear, navigation, 21-inch wheels, sport seats, 16-speaker stereo, head-up display and four-zone automatic climate control.
Those items are in addition to the list of kit found in the standard X6, which gets steerable automatic Xenon headlights, heated side mirrors that auto-dim and power-fold, heated windshield washer jets, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable steering column, power tailgate, soft-close doors and Bluetooth.
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