2020 BMW X6 xDrive40i's Fashionable Performance Comes at a Price

The latest X6 may still be the X5's funky sibling, but it performs stronger than ever.

By Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver

If the BMW X6 can teach us anything as it enters its third generation with the 2020 model year, it's that sacrificing some practicality for a funky, sloped-roof silhouette isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of course, you have to like the way the X6 looks to be okay with the loss of rear headroom and the extra $5400 the X6 asks over the X5. Should you buy the X6, know that it’s nearly sporty looks are in keeping with its nearly sporty handling and performance.

In its all-wheel-drive, six-cylinder form, the X6 xDrive40i acts a bit like a larger, lifted 3-series. Okay, a much larger 3-series with an additional 1000 pounds of weight and way more body roll in corners. We realize that sounds bad, that’s why we said it. But really, the similarities are in the steering and the willingness to take corners. At the test track, its standard 20-inch Pirelli all-season run-flat tires (21- and 22-inchers are optional) helped it orbit the skidpad with a commendable 0.90 g of grip. That's more cling than the last X6 xDrive35i model we tested in 2018. We were surprised that the X6 matched the skidpad grip of the V-8–powered, summer-tire equipped X5 M50i and is but a single hundredth shy of the 0.91 g posted by the X6 M50i. 

Revisions to BMW’s familiar turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-powered yield 35 more horsepower and a 30 lb-ft improvement. Coupled to an eight-speed automatic, the 335-hp engine rockets the X6 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and burns a quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds. That’s a full second quicker to 60 mph than its predecessor and the advantage continues to grow at higher speeds. By 120 mph the new X6 increases its lead by six seconds over the old X6.

There’s a smaller win in the braking numbers where our 4713-pound X6 shed 70 mph in 171 feet, a mere foot shorter than its predecessor, but a win is a win. In our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test the xDrive40i returned a good 29 mpg, besting its EPA highway estimate by 3 mpg.

Our lightly optioned test vehicle came to us with just under $4500 in options for an as-tested price of $72,020. Most of its options could be omitted without affecting the xDrive40i's performance, including its Mineral White Metallic paint ($550), the Parking Assistance package ($700), and the Premium package ($2300), which adds gesture control (that’s where you wave your hand at the instrument panel to adjust the radio volume and such), four-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and a wireless charging tray. Like the X5 upon which it’s based, the interior design is elegant and functional and the view out the big windshield is expansive. Front seat comfort and the seating position are just right. Really the only difference inside is the smaller view out the rear window and the reduction in rear-seat headroom.

Manufacturers often charge more money for their misshapen SUV coupes and that’s exactly what BMW does here. Fashion comes at a premium, that’s a fact of life that even TJ Maxx can’t change. The success of the sloping-roof SUVs means that BMW now sells its SUV oddities in every size from the X6, to the slightly smaller X4, and all the way down to the compact X2. Charging more for a less-practical design in a vehicle that is supposed to be practical strikes us as odd. Still, if you like the X6’s looks more than the flat-roof X5 at least this newest version provides a meaningful uptick in performance over its predecessor.


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Automotive Magazine: 2020 BMW X6 xDrive40i's Fashionable Performance Comes at a Price
2020 BMW X6 xDrive40i's Fashionable Performance Comes at a Price
The latest X6 may still be the X5's funky sibling, but it performs stronger than ever.
Automotive Magazine
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