More than 10 years ago, BMW followed the trend set by the Mercedes-Benz CLS “coupe” and put a twist on it, creating the X6, the first “SUV coupe.”
After more than 443,000 units sold worldwide and a number of competitors coming to market, the X6 is now entering its third generation, riding on the same fresh underpinnings as the new-for-2019 X5.
Compared to the current model, the 2020 X6 is an inch longer (on a 1.6-inch-longer wheelbase), over half an inch wider, and 0.7 inch less tall.
Differentiating the new X6 from its X5 sibling are a different front bumper design (the pictured model is an M50i, which wears the M Sport body kit as standard), a side vent that is better integrated into the front fenders, and a more angular front grille that, for the first time on a BMW, can be illuminated as an option, lighting up along with the daytime running lights.
But aft of the B-pillar is where the X6 makes its mark. The roofline and greenhouse are less ungainly than the current X6, and its rear fenders are more muscular.
The slim LED taillights, repositioned license plate, and large darkened diffuser try to alleviate some of the thickness of the rear end and give it a sleeker look, but the X6’s butt still seems a bit stubby, tall, and weird.
Like before, the X6’s styling is very much an acquired taste—this new one is just a little easier to acquire.
The interior is basically identical to that of the X5, with a modern dashboard that houses a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, both standard.
A massive panoramic roof is standard and is 83 percent bigger than the previous generation’s, while an illuminated Sky Lounge glass roof is an option.
Headroom has barely changed, and there’s the slightest bit more legroom than before.
The three-across rear bench can be folded with a 40/20/40 split, and BMW says cargo space has also been slightly increased.
Unlike the X5, the new X6 is available with rear-wheel drive in the form of the base sDrive40i model, which uses a 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six.
The top-of-the-line model is the X6 M50i—there’s no “regular” 50i model—powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8.
It makes 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, and BMW says it will hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, matching its claim for the new X5 M50i as well as the outgoing X6 M.
All models use an eight-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with optional summer tires, all X6s have a top speed of 155 mph, as opposed to 130 mph without them.
Standard features for every X6 include full LED headlights, heated front seats, automatic climate control, 20-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, and a bunch of active-safety features including lane-departure warning and blind-spot warning.
Being a modern BMW, the X6 is available with all kinds of fancy optional features such as a head-up display, massaging seats, even more active-safety features, wheels up to 22 inches, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, night vision, and a whole lot else.
A new Off-Road package for the xDrive40i adds an M Sport differential and air suspension (both available separately), sump guards, and some special off-road driving modes.
The new X6 will be built at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory, with deliveries starting in November of this year.
The X6 sDrive40i will start at $65,295, only $750 more than the outgoing 2019 X6 sDrive35i. Adding all-wheel drive to the 40i costs $2300, and the X6 xDrive40i is $5900 pricier than an X5 xDrive40i.
The X6 M50i starts at $86,645, $7350 more than the 2019 X6 xDrive50i but $20,050 less than the 2019 X6 M. And don’t worry—a new X6 M is coming.