If both stomach-clenching performance and catching people’s attention are highly important to you, the 2021 BMW X6 M will not disappoint. As the sloped-back counterpart to the BMW X5 M SUV and the raciest version of the regular BMW X6, the mid-sizer with a mean mug boasts an incredibly powerful twin-turbo V-8 and a body style that separates it from the status quo. While the X6 M’s design might strike some as grotesque, and its 600-plus horsepower and six-figure price might seem excessive, don’t forget that BMW was responsible for the original coupe-SUV mashup. The German automaker now also has to match up against Olympic-level competitors in the performance-SUV space such as the Porsche Cayenne Coupe and Mercedes-AMG GLE-class. Thankfully for fans of the iconic roundel, the 2021 X6 M has the blistering acceleration, sports-car-like handling, and flashy styling to match them.
What’s New for 2021?
The X6 M enters the 2021 model year with only the smallest of changes. The list of standard features grows with the addition of Android Auto and a one-year subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio with 360L. However, the M’s roster of standalone options has been shortened with the elimination of night vision with pedestrian detection, the rear-seat entertainment system, and the satin aluminum roof rails and exterior trim. BMW also changes the Competition designation from a model to a package.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
It’s hard to fathom how less practicality can command a higher price. Still, the 2021 X6 M costs $3500 more than its squareback counterpart, the X5 M. We prefer the less expensive body style, but the 6 certainly attracts more attention. Regardless, the Competition package is a must-have. Not only does it bring 617 horsepower—17 more than normal—but it has better standard equipment, too. This includes a sport-tuned exhaust, an exclusive Track mode, and 22-inch rear wheels (versus 21-inchers). The Competition package also brings fancier leather upholstery and knee padding on the center console to reduce punishment during hard cornering.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Gifted with the same raucous engine that powers the BMW M5 sedan, the X6 M is motivated by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. It makes 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque in its natural state and 617 ponies with the Competition package. The engine hooks up to an eight-speed automatic transmission that feeds a dynamic all-wheel-drive system. This drivetrain can be told to distribute power to all four wheels for maximum traction or have most of it sent rearward for sharper handling. In addition to its selectable drive modes, including customizable settings that can be activated via steering-wheel-mounted buttons, the X6 M even features adjustable brake-pedal feedback. The BMW also has standard adaptive dampers and a set of 21-inch wheels, but a pair of 22-inchers can be fitted out back (they’re standard on the X6 M Competition) We’ve driven the X6M Competition and lauded its lightning quick acceleration, staggering cornering grip, and strong, fade-free brakes. While it rode smooth and steady on the highway, its large wheels and stiff springs contributed to a rocky ride on uneven roads.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the X6 M will earn 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. These ratings are identical to the X5 M. Since we haven’t been able to test either Bimmer on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can’t evaluate their real-world efficiency.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Sportiness and luxuriousness collide inside the X6 M, which boasts carbon-fiber accents and standard leather upholstery. There’s also no shortage of high-tech features thanks to a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and a large head-up display. Those are accompanied by niceties such as ambient interior lighting, massaging front seats with heated and cooled surfaces, heated rear seats, and more. Interior cubby storage is highlighted by a coverable bin below the center stack and a useful center-console bin. While its coupe-like profile doesn’t affect how comfortable it is for front- and back-seat passengers, the sloping roofline does reduce visibility out back as well as cargo space. The traditional X5 M provides 34 cubic feet behind the back row while the X6 M has only 27 cubes.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system adorns the center of the dash on the X6 M. It uses BMW’s latest iDrive software and can also be operated via hand gestures, voice commands, and a center-console-mounted rotary controller. The standout standard features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Harman/Kardon sound system. Looking for an even more powerful stereo? A Bowers & Wilkins setup can be had for extra coin.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 X6 M hasn’t been evaluated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, every model has copious driver-assistance technology such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as well as additional options. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW’s limited and powertrain warranty is identical to alternatives from Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It also provides better complimentary scheduled maintenance compared with both brands, but it’s still not as good as Jaguar’s coverage.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
More Features and Specs