2017 BMW X6 M Essentials: The Ryan Lochte of SUVs


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What is it: An SUV with a sloping roof for a coupe-like (and odd) shape. The M means M5 levels of power.

Key Competitors: Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Base Price: $103,195 As-Tested Price: $110,395

Highlights: The “coupe” SUV version of the X5 M, which is the SUV version of the M5, the X6 M gets a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that cranks out 567 hp and an impressive 553 lb-ft of torque. The X6 M I drove came with the $4,700 executive package, which adds luxury bits like a heated steering wheel and rear seats, full LED headlights and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Another $1,700 buys blind-spot detection and something BMW calls active driving assist. 

Our Opinion: Why do we call this the Ryan Lochte of SUVs? Because it’s incredibly capable, yet not that intelligent or, ultimately, desirable. Basically a tall M5, the X6 M comes with the same adjustable shocks, steering and throttle settings, not to mention the potent V8 and quick shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox. The seats are supportive and will hold you tight through a sweeper taken at high lateral loads, which the X6 M can achieve with little trouble.

It’s pleasant enough cruising down the road, too. It maintains 100 mph with aplomb, while the driver is awash with luxury appointments. As far as center-console command centers go, BMW’s iDrive ranks among the best. Fuel economy isn’t great, but among the very thirsty performance SUV class, it’s a reasonable 19 on the highway and the tank is big enough to make gas stations an occasional errand.

Yet it’s also big and goofy and in-your-face. Really, what’s wrong with the X5 M, an actual useful SUV? The four-door coupe phenomenon works well enough with cars, but the adoption of the design to crossovers didn’t take. The X6 M, in particular, really shouts at you visually, with pay-attention-to-me looks that put a bad taste in a true BMW-o-phile’s mouth. Like Lochte, a little subtlety would go a long way. 

Robin Warner

– Robin Warner is Editorial Manager at Autoweek. He once tried and failed to become a professional race car driver, but succeeded in learning about debt management and having a story to tell. A former engineer, Warner loves cars for their technology and capability.

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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $103,195

As Tested Price: $110,395

Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, 8-speed automatic, AWD

Output: 567 hp, 553 lb-ft

Fuel Economy: 14/19/16(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Options: Executive Package ($4700), Driving Assistance Plus ($1700), Parking Assistant ($500), Apple Car Play Capability ($300)

Pros: A tall M5 with nearly the same capability

Cons: Brash looks; an unnecessary machine when the X5 M exists