2013 BMW X6 M Expert Review

3.7 Overall Score
Performance 4.1 Comfort 3.5 Styling 3.2 Value 2.9

Editor's Overview

The 2013 BMW X6 offers a unique twist on the SUV, combining coupe-like proportions with a wagon body and a sports-sedan suspension and powertrain. It's not the most practical SUV on the road or the least expensive, but it does have a certain urban appeal that can't be denied.

You'll Like The 2013 BMW X6 M If...

If you're looking for a big, powerful wagon that doesn't look like it's in soccer-mom mode 24/7, BMW's 2013 X6 SUV might just hold some appeal. It is wicked-fast, costs lots of cash, and it's a BMW.


You May Not Like The 2013 BMW X6 M If...

If you're buying an SUV for the practical reasons most people buy SUVs, the 2013 BMW X6's small cargo area and back seat, poor fuel economy and ridiculously high sticker price probably won't impress you. A Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 delivers similar performance in a less costly and more versatile package.

What's New

The 2013 BMW X6 receives a number of minor improvements including modest front and rear styling updates, more use of LEDs in the taillights and headlights and some new paint colors.


Interior Features

Inside you'll find traditional BMW strengths in the area of driver ergonomics and – if you can overlook the lack of rear-seat headroom – passenger comfort. The view from the driver's seat is not unlike that of the 6 Series until, of course, you try to view what's behind you in the next lane. Then, the blind spot that is the 2013 BMW X6 fastback profile makes itself known. To its credit, everything is well-crafted, and the tighter cabin dimensions convey an intimacy rarely offered in more traditional SUVs.


Exterior Features

Beauty, we'd agree, is in the eye of the beholder. With that, behold a "sporty" fastback roofline atop an SUV platform. With the end result weighing some 5,000 pounds it becomes hard to fully appreciate the execution when built on such a shaky assumption. To its credit, the X6 is less awkward than Honda's Crosstour, but we're damning the 2013 X6 SUV with very faint praise.

Driving Impressions

The X6 platform benefits from all those well-engineered chassis that went before it. And while it sits higher than a 3 Series or 5 Series sedan, a rigid body structure, all-independent suspension and xDrive AWD effectively mask its oh-so-obvious mass. In point of fact, you'll probably not take note of the 2013 X6's basic inefficiency until you stop for gasoline, where even the most efficient variant – xDrive35i – squeezes out a rather pathetic 23-mpg highway rating. The V8 versions are even thirstier, but at least you have the benefit of more urgency, too. Drink up!

Pricing Notes

As noted earlier, the 2013 BMW X6 shares its basic platform with the X5. What BMW regards as its more "sexy" sheetmetal doesn't, however, come cheap, adding some $10,000 above the cost of a base X5 to become the base X6. You'll invest just over $60,000 for the xDrive35i. Opt for the V8-equipped xDrive50i and you'll spend upward of $70,000 while the X6 M begins just north of $90,000, and can quickly accelerate – literally and figuratively – into six figures. Of course, BMW typically enjoys best-in-class resale. And check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Option for an idea of what consumers are paying for the same car in your area.

Notable Equipment

Those with a need for all-season mobility can revel in the addition of xDrive AWD to all variants of the 2013 BMW X6 architecture. With its ability to transfer engine torque, the system optimizes control in virtually any road condition. Add to that BMW's attention to on-road dynamics and an extremely rigid body shell, and you have the makings of a 4- to 5-passenger GT. An 8-speed automatic delivers responsive acceleration and efficient cruising; it is standard on both xDrive35i and xDrive50i.

Notable Options

Most significant options are bundled into various packages, and include Active Ventilated Seat Package, Cold Weather, Premium, Premium Sound, Sport/Sport Activity and Technology. Given the X6 mission of combining all-season capability with sports-coupe demeanor, we believe one of the two Sport packages goes a long way in enhancing the X6's sport-oriented presence. Among stand-alone options, BMW's Active Steering enhances maneuverability at lower speeds, while the Chateau Nevada Leather (in red) enhances eye appeal at any speed.


Favorite Features

XDRIVE ALL-WHEEL DRIVE

Few all-wheel-drive systems are more capable than BMW's xDrive AWD. Despite the additional hardware, the 2013 BMW X6 enjoys an almost-ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Even in the Sunbelt, the very occasional rain or snow will only reinforce your purchase decision.


HISTORICALLY GOOD RESALE VALUE

There is absolutely no rational reasoning behind the purchase of BMW's X6. It is an impulse buy, and as such, you should prepare yourself in advance for buyer's remorse. Happily, the X6 should still provide a reasonable return on your investment. If you're leasing rather than purchasing, however, we'd advise a short-term lease, after which you can find a true sports sedan. Or true SUV.


Under the Hood

In its entry-level xDrive35i form, the 2013 X6 benefits from the delightful strains of BMW's turbocharged (300 horsepower/300 lb-ft of torque) inline-6. And despite wonderful performance numbers – a 0-60 time of just over six seconds and an electronically limited top end of 130 – the 5,000 pounds of the X6 will be felt with a full passenger and cargo load. Opt for the xDrive50i and you'll enjoy some 100 more horses and an extra 150 lb-ft of torque, which is probably the sweet spot in the X6 lineup. The X6 M offers more go, but starts north of $90,000. The xDrive35i and xDrive50i are connected to 8-speed automatic transmissions, while the "M" makes do with six. But at 150 mph, who's counting?


3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6

300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm

300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg


4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8

400 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm

450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg


4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8

555 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

500 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,650 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17 mpg


Editors' Notes

BMW's X6 SUV for 2013 isn't the best vehicle to take off-road nor does it provide the most efficient use of interior space. But, it is practical for the urban dweller who sometimes needs the additional cargo space provided by the large hatchback or the security of all-wheel drive. The X6's coupe-like profile creates a stylish and individual look, but it also curtails what could be a much larger cargo area. Available in three all-wheel-drive (AWD) trims, including the 555-horsepower twin-turbocharged X6 M. The South Carolina-built X6 shares its platform with the more versatile X5, yet it holds less, weighs more and is significantly more expensive. We must be missing something because not only is the X6 selling well, it is inspiring a similar line of vehicles from BMW's closest competitors.


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