The BMW X6 is a mid-size luxury crossover by German automaker BMW. The first generation (E71) was released for sale in April 2008 for the 2008 model year. The X6 was marketed as a sports activity coupé (SAC) by BMW.
The third-generation BMW X6 debuts for 2020 and follows the same basic formula as its two predecessors: Take the BMW X5 — an upright and traditional luxury SUV and slice off a bit of the roof to create a fastback coupe-like profile. It’s successful if controversial, formula and one of the most influential in automotive history. Since the original X6 debuted, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and more have released coupe variants of more staid SUVs to varying degrees of success.
The 2020 X6 is all-new and represents the model’s third generation. Along with shorter and wider dimensions than its predecessor, BMW also stretched the wheelbase and overall length. The new X6 is now also more chiseled on the outside and offers an illuminated grille for the first time. Inside, the styling is virtually identical to all of the company’s latest models. A pair of 12.3-inch screens are standard along with many other available luxuries. The 2020 X6 has updated turbocharged six-cylinder and twin-turbo V-8 powertrains, too.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The X6 40i is powered by a 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or all-wheel drive. The M50i has the same transmission and standard all-wheel drive, but its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 is significantly more powerful. Its 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque helped it rocket from zero to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds at our test track. What’s even more shocking is that the forthcoming X6 M, which we review separately, has up to 617 horsepower and will be even quicker. Still, the standard six-cylinder powertrain is plenty quick and velvety smooth. Both the X6 40i and M50i also have standard adaptive dampers and wheels sizes that range from 20 to 22 inches. We’ve only tested the V-8-powered X6 as of now, but its cornering grip and stopping power from 70 mph were impressive. Although its suspension is firmer than the setup found on the regular X6, it was never punishing. We also appreciated its adjustable steering heft and hushed interior at cruising speed. Those who want a more relaxed ride and improved off-road abilities will appreciate the all-wheel-drive 40i model with the optional air suspension and trail-ready drive modes.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 X6 hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Still, the Bimmer is available with a plethora of standard and optional driver-assistance technology.
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Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
BMW X6 models
The 2020 BMW X6 is offered in three basic trims: the rear-wheel-drive sDrive40i, the all-wheel-drive xDrive40i and the sporty, V8-powered M50i. There’s also the high-performance X6 M, which is reviewed separately on Edmunds. Standard and optional features are similar for all three trims, so the main difference is what’s resting under the hood.
The X6 sDrive40i and the X6 xDrive40i are both powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six (335 hp, 330 lb-ft) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The sDrive40i sends power to the rear wheels, while the xDrive40i pushes power to all four with a slight penalty to fuel economy.
Standard feature highlights include LED headlights, 12.3-inch displays for both the infotainment system and instrument cluster, USB and USB-C ports, keyless entry with push-button start, automatic climate control, and a full suite of advanced driver safety aids (BMW’s Active Driving Assistant). Apple CarPlay is standard, and Android Auto is coming in mid-2020.
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The X6 M50i transplants a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (523 hp, 553 lb-ft) in place of the inline-six, and it adds an M Sport differential, brakes, suspension, and exhaust system as well as some X5 M-inspired visual cues. Standard features mirror those of the sDrive40i and the xDrive40i, though the M50i gets an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, four-zone climate control, a wireless charging pad, and sport front seats.
To bump up the X6’s feature content even further, take a look at the Premium and Executive packages. You can also get the M Sport package (for the 40i) or the Dynamic Handling package (the M50i) to boost the X6’s handling potential.
2020 BMW X6 Comfort & Quality
The 2020 X6 is 1 inch longer than the model it replaces, including 1.6 inches added between the wheels. It’s fractionally wider and lower too, reportedly for better aerodynamics in the big, heavy crossover.
The standard 16-way power front seats have more leg room than the outgoing model but less head room. With the standard panoramic moonroof, even the tallest drivers would have a tough time noticing the reduction in head room. The standard sport buckets are firm and bolstered without being too rigid, providing a nice balance of support and comfort.
Rear-seat passengers get 35.7 inches of legroom—up incrementally over the outgoing version—but even less headroom than before, too. The turtleback of the X6 pinches rear vision, but at least the driver shouldn’t have to look past the bowed heads of rear-seat passengers, who shouldn’t be adults over 6 feet tall.
2020 BMW X6 Interior
Unsurprisingly, the X6 interior looks and feels like most other new BMW products. That means upscale materials and soft-touch surfaces abound and two large 12.3-inch digital displays dominate the dashboard. While the instrument panel looks slicks, the gauges are a confusing mess. Thankfully, the optional head-up display is more straightforward. The rest of the switchgear is also smartly laid out. BMW’s gesture controls, which enable you to control certain functions like audio volume by waving your hand in front of the infotainment screen, are included but unnecessary. Plenty of standard amenities are offered, too, including 16-way power-adjustable front seats, customizable ambient lighting, heated front cushions, and passive entry. While the back seat is comfortable for two adults, its legroom and headroom shrink by about 2 and 3 inches, respectively, compared with the boxier X5. Likewise, the X6 has less cargo volume behind the rear seats. In our test, it only held nine carry-on suitcases back there; the X5 held 11.