Used 2015 BMW X6 M SUV Review

Ultimately, the 2015 BMW X6 M is about two things: style and performance. It has oodles of both.




what's new

For 2015, the BMW X6 M has been fully redesigned.

vehicle overview

The X6 has always been a curio of the BMW family. To create it, BMW took its perfectly sensible X5 SUV and then traded out utility and visibility in favor of controversial looks and a higher sticker price. But it didn't stop there. Now there's the redesigned 2015 X6 M, a gonzo combination of a hatchback body style, near-supercar performance, luxury sedan trappings and the stance of an SUV. Yet it's a combo that's strangely magnetic.

At first glance, it can be a bit difficult to tell the difference between the old X6 M and the new one. But check out the spec sheet and you'll notice that it's slightly longer and wider and weighs about 140 fewer pounds than the outgoing version. It's also now a full five-passenger vehicle, as before it only had two rear seats. Other changes for 2015 include revised styling, more power and torque from the twin-turbo V8 engine, an upgrade to an eight-speed automatic transmission (from a six-speed) and an improved, three-level version of the dynamic stability control system to allow more driver control during aggressive cornering.

The result is an X6 M that's a bit more refined, a tad quicker and a smidge more fuel-efficient. Just as before, though, it's hard to make a rational recommendation. The X5 M has all the same performance, yet is less expensive and more practical. Rival SUVs like the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR and the 2015 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, outrageous as they are, also come from more conventional schools of thought. But for a particular type of well-heeled buyer, the X6 M's compelling visceral punch will no doubt be an overwhelming draw.

trim levels & features

The 2015 BMW X6 M is a performance-oriented version of the X6 midsize crossover SUV. Standard equipment includes 21-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, active stabilizer bars, a self-leveling rear air suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors and a sunroof.

Inside, you get four-zone automatic climate control, heated 18-way power front seats (including four-way power lumbar), front seat memory settings, leather upholstery, the BMW iDrive interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 10.2-inch screen, a navigation system, a rearview camera, online info services, smartphone integration and a 16-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD and satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB audio interface.

The Driver Assistance package adds a variety of safety-related features (see Safety below). The Executive package includes full LED adaptive lighting with automatic high beam control, soft-close doors, front seat ventilation, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, concierge services via BMW ConnectedDrive, heated rear seats and manual side sunshades for rear passengers.

Stand-alone options include rear-seat entertainment screens, upgraded leather upholstery, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, night vision with pedestrian detection, and self-parking functionality. Smaller 20-inch wheels with non-run-flat high-performance tires are no-cost options.

performance & mpg

Motivating the 2015 BMW X6 is a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is all-wheel drive.

BMW says that the 2015 X6 M is even quicker than last year, reaching 60 mph from a standstill in an incredibly rapid 4.0 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway).

safety

The 2015 BMW X6 M includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes, automatic brake drying, a rearview camera, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard are the BMW Assist eCall and BMW Remote Services emergency communications systems, which provide automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery, remote lock/unlock, a smartphone app with remote vehicle functions and on-demand emergency response via an SOS button.

With the optional Driver Assistance Plus package, the X6 M also comes with lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, and side- and top-view cameras.

driving

This massively capable crossover has a singular focus — on-road high performance — and in that regard it excels. Nearly everything about it is frenetic, from the abrupt response of the gas pedal to the quick-revving engine to the short gearing. Pin the pedal to the floor and the X6 M launches from a stop with such fierceness that only a handful of sports cars on the planet would be able to outrace it.

The steering is quick, but not to the point that it's darty during everyday driving. It offers good feedback to the driver and there is a natural amount of effort. The grip level of the X6 M is so high that few drivers will ever push this car to its limits on public roads. Thanks to the giant brakes, adaptive dampers and stabilizers, and rear-biased all-wheel drive with torque-vectoring technology, the X6 M delivers the sort of vehicular physics that isn't normally associated with 2.5-ton SUVs.

In everyday driving, the ride is far from what we'd call supple, even when the three-mode adaptive dampers are set to their most comfortable. It's never unbearable, but you might find the ride a bit busier than you would expect, even of a performance SUV. The cabin is serenely quiet while cruising, but the lack of rear visibility can be problematic. The X6 M is a luxurious, high-riding missile of a midsize SUV, and it's not for everyone.

interior

While the appearance of the 2015 BMW X6 M is likely to split opinions, the same cannot be said of this SUV's cabin. It's a stunning environment, with quality materials, up-to-the-minute tech and thoughtfully stitched contours throughout. The heavily bolstered and sublimely supportive front seats are among the first clues that you're driving something special, an impression confirmed by the M instrument cluster with its performance-themed readouts. The joystick-like shift lever mimics BMW's twin-clutch "DCT" automated manual, though in fact it's hooked to a revised version of the eight-speed automatic common to other X6s.

For 2015, the redone interior features a crisp 10.2-inch widescreen display that stands proud of the dash top and is operated by BMW's latest iDrive interface. There's a learning curve to deal with, and at times it can take a few more twirls of the knob to get what you want compared to rival systems, but overall iDrive works very well and is complemented by useful smartphone app integration. The other banks of switchgear, including the audio and climate controls, are agreeably intuitive.

Versus the outgoing X6 M, this new generation offers improved rear seat accommodations. The rear seat now has room for three, although the contouring of the outboard seats means the middle seat is more of a hump. That would be three shorter adults or children, by the way, as the sloping roof line severely limits the amount of headroom above the backseats. The roof line also makes it considerably more difficult to get into the rear seat compared to the front. You have to angle your head to avoid smacking the roof, plus the rear doors don't open very wide. Legroom is pretty decent once you're in, but anyone around average height and above will brush their head on the roof.

Space for luggage and cargo is also in short supply. There are 19.3 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats or, with the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks folded, 53.9 cubic feet total. Other luxury SUVs with more traditional profiles can typically handle about 10 cubic feet more.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.