BMW X6 M 2015-2018 review

Open gallery Close by Tom Webster 30 January 2015 Share

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The second generation of the BMW X6 M aims to set new standards in the performance SUV sector.

On paper it has certainly succeeded. With 567bhp, the BMW is 17bhp more powerful than the previous version of the coupe-like SUV, while its 553lb ft of torque is up by 52lb ft over the last generation.

The X6 M is still a fantastically capable car, despite its vast size. If you can get past the huge price tag then this is a genuine Porsche Cayenne Turbo alternativeTom WebsterNews editor

More significantly, it has 55bhp more than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, while having 10bhp less than the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S.

For those that are interested in such things when buying a £93,000 performance SUV, fuel economy has improved by 5.2mpg over the old car. It might not sound like much, but given that the new car claims 25.5mpg on average, that is a significant increase.

Perhaps the most staggering figure, though, is the 0-62mph time, which takes just 4.2 seconds – 0.1 of a second faster than the BMW M5 saloon.

The X6 M lives up to all those impressive-sounding numbers and it is blisteringly fast.

It’s rare that you will have the opportunity to floor the throttle completely, but in truth you don’t need to – the X6 M explodes away from a standstill even with a gentle prod of the accelerator. 

If you keep your foot down the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission shifts through the gears precisely and rapidly, but flick one of the paddles behind the steering wheel and it hands over control instantly and allows you to hold the gears right up to the limiter. 

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It almost gets to this speed too effortlessly. You are kept somewhat isolated from the sensation of speed, meaning you really have to be travelling at some pace before you get a sense of it.

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The efficient brakes mean you can carry vast amounts of this speed into a corner with confidence. They’re of the high-performance compound sort – significantly larger than the previous BMW X6 M’s – and the calipers are painted in the typical dark blue of M cars.

It sounds fast, too. The electronically controlled flaps on the exhaust system make the most of the V8, which produces a fantastic series of snarls, barks and roars. But for all of this noise, the X6 M still manages to keep itself in check when it needs to. It is remarkably calm at low speeds, and almost more so at motorway pace.

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The X6 M comes with the Adaptive Dynamic suspension setup that makes other BMWs ride and handle so well. In Comfort mode it smoothed out the few pockmarks on the road surfaces of our test route to make the X6 a wonderfully fast cruiser. Even in Sport mode it still deals fantastically with all the lesser potholes you will encounter on a daily basis.

The rest of the cabin is standard X6, albeit with higher levels of luxury than you might get on lesser versions. Inside expect to find M Sport seats, Merino leather upholstery, wireless phone charging, wi-fi hotspot preparation, dual-zone climate control and an iDrive infotainment system with DAB, sat nav, a 20GB hard drive, and USB interface. Outside there is adaptive sports suspension, LED headlights, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, powered tailgate, and auto lights and wipers.

One big fallback with the X6 M is its relative practicality. Its boot is smaller than all of its main rivals, at 580 litres, and the swooping bootline will make it harder to carry larger items. It is also only a four-seater, so won’t be able to take as many passengers.

For all its capability, ultimately it’s hard to recommend the BMW X6 M. Truthfully, there are other cars that do the individual jobs it performs as well or better. For instance, BMW’s own M5 is just as fast and is more than £20,000 cheaper.

Similarly, if you want a fast SUV then the X5 M will offer much the same package as the X6 – it is just as quick and has more in the way of space and practicality.


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