When is an SUV not an SUV? That’s a question posed by the BMW X6 M, which has limited off-road capability and not much utility but a lifted ride height and extraordinary performance ability. Take a moment to let this sink in: The 567-hp X6 M’s 3.8-second zero-to-60-mph time nearly matched that of the 560-hp M6 Gran Coupe. The 5190-pound X6 M also stopped from 70 mph in just 153 feet, bettering the 795-pound-lighter M6 by 15 feet (although that M6 may have had some glazed brake pads). And it circled our skidpad at 0.98 g—0.06 g beyond what the low-slung sedan was capable of. The X6 M’s performance isn’t just astounding for an SUV; it’s astounding, period.
As is common in modern BMWs, the X6 M’s electrically assisted steering is devoid of any substantial feel or feedback. It’s relatively quick in hand despite a 17.9:1 overall ratio, and the driver can adjust the steering’s weight via—yes—three different modes. To keep X6 M drivers from being overwhelmed by the multitude of performance settings, BMW provides a pair of steering-wheel-mounted buttons that can call up two different customizable combinations.
Although the powertrain offers an Eco mode, you’ll probably be unsurprised to learn that fuel economy is not the X6 M’s strong suit; EPA estimates are 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. We got 16 mpg during the course of the X6 M’s stay with us, matching the feds’ combined figure. The bulky BMW did manage to beat its EPA rating on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy loop, however, returning 21 mpg.