2015 BMW X6 M Expert Review

Editor's Overview

2015 marks the 2nd-generation X6, and BMW's coupe-like performance utility vehicle arrives sleeker, smarter and more efficient. As rivals like the Acura ZDX have come and gone and Mercedes-Benz preps its own foe in the GLE, the X6 keeps marching to the beat of its own drum.

You'll Like The 2015 BMW X6 M If...

You don't need seating for seven in your luxury SUV. In fact, you barely need it for two. You're at a stage where you can forsake the practicality of an X5 for the performance-oriented lifestyle choice that is the X6, while still retaining a modicum of utility and capability.

You May Not Like The 2015 BMW X6 M If...

If you need three rows of seats or simply want a premium SUV that offers more room for passengers and cargo, alternatives such as the X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the Acura MDX are more logical choices.

What's New

The 2015 BMW X6 enters its second generation with fresh interior and exterior design, a more powerful engine in V8 versions and the addition of a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) base model, the X6 sDrive35i. For enthusiasts seeking the biggest punch, the BMW X6 M comes packing 567 horsepower.

Interior Features

The cockpit of the newest X6 carries on its mission of being a comfortable and rewarding space, at least for the front-seat passengers. A 3-passenger bench in back offers decent legroom for adults but the X6's sloping roof compromises headroom compared to boxier, more traditional SUVs. And while its exterior may seem quirky, the X6's interior is all BMW. As with the X5, leather and wood abound, and the quality of materials goes hand in hand with the X6's $60,000 starting price. The front seats are comfortable and roomy, and thanks to the X6's high-riding position grant a good view out front.

Exterior Features

The X6's bold and brash design is not without controversy. To some it looks like a big and bloated coupe, confused to find itself riding high like an SUV. Others appreciate that this muscular, category-blurring vehicle looks like hardly anything else on the road. For its 2nd-gen revamp, the 2015 BMW X6 has a cleaner and more cohesive design, especially in the rump. But there's still no denying that you'll probably either like it or loathe it. On the practical front – and yes, the X6 has some of that – the BMW has high-illumination bi-xenon headlights and a power tailgate.

Driving Impressions

Fitting its anti-SUV nature, the X6 is also a contradiction on the road: Its performance is more impressive than its hefty size and roughly 5,000-pound weight may lead you to believe. This is especially so for the xDrive50i, which features a twin-turbocharged V8 that easily propels the 2015 X6's mass. In this form it hits 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Just as impressive is its grip. No, it won't slice and dice like a 4 Series coupe, but BMW's proclaimed sports-activity coupe is more dynamic than its X5 sibling. On mundane roads the X6 is comfortable for hours. In all-wheel-drive (AWD) form and with hill-descent control, the X6 can crawl around steep terrain, but limited ground clearance means limited off-roading. Downsides remain large blind spots created by the X6's sloped roof, while the start/stop system that idles the engine at traffic lights is jarring upon restarts. However, the engine-idle feature can be disabled.

Pricing Notes

The 2015 BMW X6 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $60,500. That's roughly a $6,000 premium over a base X5, which makes the less-practical X6 more expensive. Style indeed has its price. On the other end of the spectrum, a V8-powered X6 starts closer to $74,000, while the top-dog X6 M begins over $103,000. With options, all of these figures can increase by thousands. At its starting price, the X6 is in the same range as the Porsche Cayenne and is more expensive than the Infiniti QX70, which starts in the mid-$40,000 range. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their X6. If past performance is any indicator, the X6's resale value is expected to be in line with Infiniti's coupe-like SUV rival and lower than that of the Porsche.

Notable Equipment

The 2015 BMW X6 comes in three main trims: sDrive35i, xDrive35i and xDrive50i. In its base form, the new, RWD X6 sDrive35i comes with leather interior, moonroof, power tailgate, parking sensors, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, 10-way power front seats with heat and universal garage remote. The standard iDrive infotainment system includes navigation, 9-speaker AM/FM/CD player with Bluetooth streaming, USB port and hard drive for music storage. The xDrive35i adds BMW's AWD system and hill-descent control, while the xDrive50i comes with a V8 engine, 20-way power front seats and Comfort Access hands-free tailgate opening. The niche X6 M model has the lineup’s most powerful engine.

Notable Options

No matter which version of the X6 you choose, it is both easy and tempting to upgrade. Most popular features are bundled into packages. We suggest the Driver Assistance package that includes a rearview camera and head-up display. The Driver Assistance Plus package has blind-spot monitoring, bird's-eye-view camera system, active cruise control and lane-departure warning. Other options are ventilated front seats, satellite radio, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel, and 4-zone climate control. M Sport and X Line packages feature 20-inch wheels and unique interior and exterior aesthetics. Audio lovers can find bliss in high-end harman/kardon and Bang & Olufsen sound systems.

Favorite Features


Just like the TVs in our homes, display screens in cars keep getting bigger and better. The new BMW X6's high-resolution display crisply renders navigation, entertainment info and more. Situated prominently in the center of the dash, it looks elegant even when off.


Like all new BMWs, the 2015 X6 includes four years/50,000 miles of complimentary factory-scheduled maintenance. The plan also includes four years/unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Together, they combine cost savings and peace of mind.

Under the Hood

Three turbocharged engine variants and two drive configurations are available in the 2015 X6. The sDrive35i and xDrive35i models use a 6-cylinder and come in RWD (or what BMW calls sDrive) or traction-enhancing all-wheel drive (which BMW dubs xDrive). The xDrive50i and X6 M use a roaring V8 engine, with the latter performance model tuned to make 567 horsepower. A diesel engine is not available in the U.S. X6. All models transmit power through an 8-speed automatic transmission. In a bid to be more efficient, all models feature an auto stop/start function that stops the engine in situations such as traffic lights where it would otherwise idle. The startups can be jarring and, if frequent, annoying. Thankfully it can be disabled with the touch of a button.

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6

300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm

300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,0000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 mpg (RWD), 18/27 mpg (AWD)

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8

445 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm

480 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8

567 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm

553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA

Editors' Notes

When launched in 2008, the BMW X6 defied SUV conventions. It was brawny and featured all-wheel drive as many sport-utility vehicles do, but in other respects the X6 was an intentional compromise. Performance and aesthetics took precedence over pragmatics, yet the concoction connected with buyers seeking a personal luxury vehicle that's confident in any weather. 2015 marks the 2nd-generation X6, and it arrives sleeker, smarter and more efficient. As rivals like the Acura ZDX have come and gone and Mercedes-Benz preps its own foe in the GLE, the X6 keeps marching to the beat of its own drum.

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