May 30, 2024
Wheels

X6 M Competition offers coupe-like aggression, high-seating position

New mild hybrid paired with V8 delivers serious performance

The 2024 BMW X6 M combines a high-seating position with coupe-like BMW performance.

When my 2024 BMW X6 M tester arrived, I looked out the window and saw one thing – a purple SUV. OK, there I said it, it looked (at first glance) like it was purple. After further in-person scrutiny, the X6 revealed itself to not be purple at all – but Wildberry – Metallic Wildberry to be specific. And in true BMW fashion: It was an additional $5,000.

The 2024 BMW X6 M got a serious makeover on the outside and inside. Of course, the real story is not the chop-top style or the very Prince-like hue; it is what’s under the hood – and that’s worth talking about when V8 power is mated to a mild-hybrid system.

The crossover coupe collaboration is in itself a rather crazy concept. You take an X5 and cleave off the top to create a 4-door hatch with a high seating position and a very squat, athletic stance. While the origins are rooted in an SUV, there is less utility in the X6 – though it costs more cash.

Is it worth it? That brings the eye of the beholder into question – or maybe more like into focus – not many people can afford one of these, so it had better be special. Luckily, ramping up this coupe-like crossover with elite-level performance and in-house tuning (M Division) delivers a vehicle worthy of charging $146,345 out the door.

Performance

If your head is spinning after that final price, the first thing you need to understand is this X6 M Competition is the top-end BMW X6. The origins of the X6 start with a rather passive base X6 xDrive40i powered by a 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 engine that has a maximum 375 horsepower.

Following the bloodline up you can opt for the X6 M60i xDrive, which swaps out the 6-cylinder for a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and its bigtime 523 hp. Then there’s my tester, the X6 M Competition, which pushes out a massive 617 hp and 553 pounds-feet of torque with a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8.

Paired with purpose is a sport dual-exhaust system that enhances engine breathing and offers the operator a choice of being loud or (kind to your neighbors). The other notable pairing to the fire-breathing V8 is the 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission, modified by BMW’s engineers to cope with the extraordinary demands of the engine.

Also new this year is the addition of a 48-volt mild-hybrid (electric motor) system, which can deliver an additional 12 hp and 147 pound-feet of torque (I guess every little bit helps). When it’s all said and done, this five-seat SUV gets you from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.

As a crossover, even one with such inspiring high-powered capabilities, you will get your X6 M Competition with the distinction of throwing power to all four wheels via a permanent all-wheel-drive system. BMW says this AWD setup incorporates an active limited-slip rear differential and a special traction control system to help retain grip in any kind of driving situation. When you have 617 hp at your beck and call, this feature comes in handy.

My X6 M tester was far more than just big acceleration. I found the electronically controlled suspension, steering, and braking to be nothing short of track-worthy.

While the X6 M has a hefty 5,500-pound curb weight, it was suggested by several admirers that my tester was certainly a track-worthy SUV. I cannot imagine anybody in their right mind would take one out there – then again, who in their right mind is dropping $146K? Someone who can ... and there’s your answer.

Cabin

The inside of my tester’s cabin featured a wonderous leather upholstery in Ivory White and Atlas Grey. Sophisticated and worthy of adorning an interior with sport, supportive seats, power adjustments, heated and cooled temps, and dual massaging features.

The massive panoramic moonroof opened up the coupe-like roof to bring in light and make the cabin feel a lot roomier. Look for a heated steering wheel along with armrests. Features from the rain-sensing windshield wipers and Connected Package Pro features with Real-Time Traffic, On-Street Parking Info (select cities), and BMW Remote Services help the driver, while passengers will enjoy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, remote software upgrade capability, wireless device charging, and an amazing Harmon-Kardon audio system.

BMW’s curved display features Navigation, a head-up display, a touchscreen, and operation by voice or the console drive controller. I found everything to be pretty easy to navigate and most climate and audio features were intuitive, though Navigation was a little clunky.

Overall, for the steep price of admission, you get a fire-breathing SUV with about as distinctive a look as is available out there. Wildberry or not, the 2024 BMW X6 M Competition is the real deal, with head-turning looks and mild-hybrid tech.

• John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations and new vehicles.