2018 BMW X6 M

2018 BMW X6 M Review

The X6 M offers ample power, style, luxury and performance without the burden of actual utility.
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 BMW X6 M stands tall like an SUV, and its four doors and liftgate appear to offer something like SUV utility. But it's an illusion since this racy 567-hp sportback makes only a fleeting concession to practicality.

Like any BMW M division vehicle, the X6 M handles daily driving duties with style and refinement, but it also turns violently fast with just a firm kick of the gas pedal. How fast? It dashes from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat, a shade faster than BMW's iconic M4 sport coupe. Whether you need an SUV with this much power misses the point. It's best to just marvel at a machine that can take you for both a sedate run to Costco, or to county jail for excessive speed, with such ease.

But to say the X6 M's fastback exterior design favors style over substance is an understatement. Though the sloping roofline gives the car a sleek and racy look, it also compromises rear-seat access and headroom and limits cargo capacity. The X6 M's suspension is also tuned for high-performance handling, which means that it's firm and choppy. It's not rock-hard, but your passengers will notice. Suffice to say, there's also no option for a third row.

All of which is to say that the X6 M isn't your best choice for a proper family SUV. If you need that, BMW's X5 M delivers the same kind of performance with a dash more practicality. But if you like an SUV that breathes fire, one that won't be mistaken for any other SUV on the road, then the X6 M is an obvious choice.



What's new for 2018

After the addition of a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless charging, and updates to the iDrive infotainment system last year, the BMW X6 M carries over into 2018 with no significant changes. Last year's Driver Assistance Plus package has been eliminated, with most of its features absorbed into the Executive package.

We recommend

The BMW X6 M is available in only one feature-loaded trim, so there's not much to recommend. This is a BMW, however, so there are several other option boxes you can check, and the most appealing might be the Executive package. Highlights include cooled front seats, heated rear seats, wireless smartphone charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a host of driver safety aids (including blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, surround-view cameras). It's a pricey package, but it's packed with details that will make the X6 M that much more enjoyable. As long as we're spending, let's add the Bang & Olufsen upgraded sound system, which can only be ordered with the Executive package.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 BMW X6 M is a high-performance midsize luxury SUV with seating for five. It's offered in a single trim level. Like any BMW, a bundle of options are offered for further personalization. Several are grouped into the useful Executive Package, though most are stand-alone items.

The X6 M starts with a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine (567 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Standard features include 21-inch wheels, high-performance tires, adaptive suspension dampers, a rear air suspension, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, adaptive headlights, keyless entry and adaptive cruise control.

Interior highlights include heated front seats, 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks, four-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped dash, ambient cabin lighting, aluminum trim accents and a rearview camera.

Finally, standard tech features include a navigation system with 10.2-inch touchscreen display with a touchpad-equipped controller, Bluetooth phone and audio, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, satellite and HD radio, and BMW's suite of smartphone-integrated connected services called ConnectedDrive.

Considering all that standard equipment, the X6 M has a short options list. The Executive package includes adaptive LED headlights, power-closing doors, a heated steering wheel, rear side window shades, a head-up information display, wireless smartphone charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot. A suite of driver safety features comes with the package and includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, surround-view cameras and a self-parking system. 

Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, aluminum-look exterior trim, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, Apple CarPlay compatibility, night vision with pedestrian detection, and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens.



Driving

The X6 M thinks it's a sports car. In fact, its handling prowess is such that you'll need to take it to a racetrack to fully understand just how hard the sticky performance tires, huge brakes, adaptive suspension and rear-biased AWD system will allow you to push this SUV.

Acceleration

Acceleration is impressive. The V8 produces immense torque from about 2,500 rpm and just takes off. Expect a 0-60 mph time of 4 seconds. The X6 M just goes and keeps going until you run out of road.

Braking

The brake pedal has a pleasant and relatively normal feel to it. Jump on it, though, and the X6 M will slow in a hurry. The brakes are sufficiently powerful for a high-performance SUV.

Handling

The X6 M has incredibly quick turn-in, and there's a ton of grip from the tires. It's sports car performance in an SUV body.

Comfort

The cabin appointments are first-rate, and the X6 M comports itself well on the road. The ride quality is quite stiff, but otherwise there are few faults to be found.

Interior

The interior layout pays the price for the X6's stylized exterior. The sloping roof limits headroom and significantly restricts rear-seat access. Rearward blind spots are also prominent. Cargo space and storage are merely average, and the rear seatbacks do not fold completely flat.

Ease of use

The centrally located iDrive controller resides at the driver's fingertips. The climate control layout is functional but has too many buttons.

Getting in/getting out

Front-seat access benefits from the X6 M's height and a door that opens fully. Getting into the rear seat is an exercise in flexibility. The door does not open far enough, the opening is too sloped at the roof, and the wheel hump is a hip-bruiser.

Roominess

Most 6-footers and shorter will find plenty of headroom up front. Elbows and knees will be similarly pleased. The back seat offers suitable legroom for adults, but the roof design limits headroom for taller passengers.

Visibility

Views out the front benefit from lots of glass and the tall ride height. Over-the-shoulder views are limited significantly by thick rear pillars, and the rear window is small.

Quality

The panels fit with consistent gaps; no squeaks or rattles were to be found; and the interior oozes quality. This is a well-made SUV.

Utility

The X6 M's prodigious power is often the focus of discussion, but it's mostly a proper SUV from all the right angles. It offers nearly 60 cubic feet of cargo space and can tow up to 6,000 pounds.

Technology

BMW's iDrive dial controller remains the benchmark for intuitive operation of in-car tech. It makes breezy work of navigating through menus and preferences. Standard and optional audio systems are excellent. Note: The most common driver safety aids are bundled in the pricey Executive package.

Audio & navigation

Navigation comes standard and is made more useful with the iDrive controller and a 10.2-inch touchscreen display. You can't go wrong with either the stock Harman Kardon 16-speaker sound system or the optional Bang & Olufsen upgrade.

Smartphone integration

BMW ConnectedDrive is a comprehensive package of services and features, ranging from remote locking and unlocking to emergency collision notification. Many features can be controlled from a smartphone app. Apple CarPlay is available as an option.

Driver aids

Most expected safety and convenience aids are here — blind-spot and lane departure warnings, forward collision alert, parking sensors, for example — but most are bundled in the pricey Executive package. Many competitors and even lower-priced SUVs and crossovers offer the same features standard.

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.