Used 2016 BMW X6 M SUV Review

The 2016 BMW X6 M is about two things: style and performance. It has an abundance of both.




what's new

The Enhanced USB and Bluetooth package is now standard equipment. Other than that, there are no changes for the 2016 BMW X6 M.

vehicle overview

Sports cars and SUVs are not often mentioned in the same sentence, other than to illustrate how wide a net the word "car" can cast. Sports cars are typically low to the ground, have two doors and are meant to bomb through corners. SUVs are tall, designed to comfortably carry a family and maybe tow a small boat. On its surface, a vehicle that meets the two in the middle would seem like a misguided attempt, yet the BMW X6 has proven otherwise.

In spite of its diametrically opposed inspirations, the 2016 BMW X6 M combines practicality and performance in a surprisingly effective way. The X6 is a funky vehicle to begin with, as its sloping roofline cuts into rear headroom and takes a bit of utility out of the mechanically related X5. But it's a stylish alternative for buyers who like the ride height of an SUV and don't find much use for a second row.

The M badge, reserved for BMW's high-octane sports cars, is no marketing bull. The 567-horsepower V8 is estimated to propel the X6 M from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat, a tick faster than BMW claims for the mighty M4 coupe. The adaptive suspension dampers do a superb job at keeping the X6 M flat through the corners, no small feat given its 2.5-ton curb weight. And the massive brakes halt the big lug in its tracks faster than you would imagine possible.

Opting for the X6's hard-edged M variant is a lesson in compromise. Even with the suspension in the comfort-oriented setting, the ride is rougher and busier than a typical SUV buyer might expect. The X6 M is also jumpy from a standstill, so every stop-and-go traffic situation becomes a lesson in light throttle application.

There are plenty of hot-rod SUVs on the market, but few prioritize styling over practicality. The X6 M's most direct competitor is the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE63 S Coupe, which pairs the swoopy body style of the GLE Coupe with a roaring 577-hp V8. High-powered SUVs with more traditional styling include the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR and 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. If you like the X6 M's interior design and performance but need more functionality, opting for the 2016 BMW X5 M is a no-brainer.

trim levels & features

The 2016 BMW X6 M is a high-performance midsize luxury crossover SUV with seating for five. It's offered in a single, well-equipped trim level.

Standard equipment includes 21-inch wheels with summer performance tires, sport-tuned adaptive suspension dampers, a rear-axle air suspension, active roll stabilization, a torque-vectoring sport differential, special M brakes, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, power-folding and auto-dimming heated side mirrors, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, a hands-free power liftgate with a foot sensor, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, adaptive cruise control, ambient interior lighting, quad-zone automatic climate control, hill-descent control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with wheel-mounted paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, extended leather upholstery, heated 18-way power front sport seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver and front-passenger memory settings, 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks and a synthetic suede headliner.

Cabin technology highlights include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-inch central display screen and a touchpad-equipped controller, online services (including weather and news), smartphone-app integration, a navigation system, voice controls and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

With all of that included as standard, the X6 M has a modest options list for a BMW, starting with just two packages. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds a variety of advanced safety features, while the Executive package throws in adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beam control, power-closing doors, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and manual rear-window sunshades.

Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, aluminum-look exterior trim, an automated self-parking system, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 9.2-inch screens.

performance & mpg

The all-wheel-drive 2016 BMW X6 M is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 rated at 567 hp and 553 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission available is an eight-speed automatic.

BMW estimates the X6 M can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, which puts it between the 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S when it comes to acceleration. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway).

safety

The 2016 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 can keep up.

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. Shoot the X6 M into a corner and you'll marvel at its composure and total lack of body roll. Thanks to the giant brakes, adaptive dampers, and rear-biased all-wheel drive with torque vectoring technology, this vehicle delivers the sort of vehicular physics that aren'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 from 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, but it's not for everyone.

interior

While the appearance of the 2016 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 and modern technology throughout. The heavily bolstered and well-contoured 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.

A high-resolution 10.2-inch widescreen display is perched upon 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.

The rear seat has room for three, although the contouring of the outboard seats means the middle seat is more of a hump. However, if you care much about your friends in the back row, you've purchased the wrong SUV. The sloping roofline is one of the X6's defining characteristics, and the price of that styling is reduced headroom for rear-seat passengers. There's decent legroom once you duck your way into the backseat.

Luggage and cargo space is also in short supply. There is 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.