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First drive: BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW X6 M
Nobody strictly needs a 575hp super-SUV, but BMW now makes too. We've driven the 'lively' X6 M.


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It's hard not to be impressed by the new BMW X6 M. It's monstrously capable even in extreme driving, but it is also, according to many, monstrous. We're going to put that aside though and review it on merit. It deserves its rating based on what it can do and the inherent quality and engineering integrity. Our money would go on the equally new BMW X5 M though.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW X6 M
Pricing: 93,070 on-the-road
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 258g/km (Band M, 500 per year)
Combined economy: 25.4mpg
Top speed: 174mph (if fitted with the optional M Driver's Package)
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 575hp at 6,000- to 6,500rpm
Torque: 750Nm at 2,200- to 5,000rpm

What's this?

The new ultimate BMW X6, simply called the X6 M. It's launched at the same time as the mechanically identical (but infinitely better looking to our eyes) X5 M and it comes in at 93,070 in the UK. To put that into perspective, the current range-topper, the X5 M50d is 'only' 66,915. But that's only an M Performance Vehicle (BMW's words, not ours), while the X6 M is a full-on M car. And the aggressive styling reveal that right away.

That also means, of course, that there's been a huge engineering effort put into the X6 to turn it into a car worthy of the M badge. The list of acronyms describing the electronic sub-systems is dizzying in its own right, but, as ever with an M car, the engine is a key talking point. The X6 M adopts the twin-turbocharged V8 from the BMW M5, though it has been fettled and now puts out 575hp and 750Nm of torque. 'Feisty' is one word for it. 'Faintly ridiculous' are another two.

How does it drive?

We're as impressed with the hardiness and strength of the drivetrain as we are with the scarcely believable 4.2-second 0-62mph time. It's very fast. Even on a super-smooth and wide track that usually accommodates Formula One cars the X6 M is, at times, uncomfortably quick. It attacks the circuit with aplomb at first, with great agility, zero unwanted body movements and even a little throttle adjustability at the limit, but it can't defy the laws of physics forever and the tyres soon overheat.

In these conditions (which we realise few customer cars will ever be subjected to), the X6 M copes well considering its bulk. Most impressive is its composure and stability under very heavy braking and fast direction changes. It just soaks up the abuse and gets on with it. The mid-setting of the DSC stability control system (MDM) even allows a little oversteer if you set the car up right for a corner, but there's never any doubt that this is a four-wheel drive car and there's little point in treating it any other way.

Back on the road, under normal conditions, few will ever test the limits of the X6 M's ability. It's fast and unflappable, but lacking the engagement found in the likes of the BMW M3. Not that anyone should be surprised by that. Instead, it's crushingly capable, taking everything we know about a fast M car and applying it to a tall and heavy SUV. High points are its big powerful brakes and the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. It also makes a rather loud roar to make sure everyone knows you're in the M version.


As the ultimate BMW X6, the new M doesn't disappoint. It's utterly capable - much more so than anyone will ever need from a large SUV - and it's beautifully engineered and appointed. If you already like the X6 and want the best then you won't be dissatisfied. We'd go for the slightly less extrovert X5 M though.

3 3 3 3 3 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain

Shane O' Donoghue - 29 Jan 2015    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- X6 M images

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M. Image by BMW.


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