It’s been nearly four months since we last caught BMW’s high-performance X6 M out and about. The previous sighting showed the coupe-SUV wearing much the same camouflage, but it was enjoying a decidedly warmer climate. As with many automakers this time of year, testing has moved north. More importantly for us, out spy photographer moved closer to the beast than ever before, giving us an outstanding look inside the greenhouse with key sections of the dash fully exposed.
There’s certainly some similarity in layout with the current X6. The floating touchscreen in the center stack with air con vents and additional controls below are a familiar pattern, but the redesign creates some harder edges for better symmetry. Some of the manual controls are also moved upward, placed directly beneath the vents instead of clustered down low. That center screen is also bigger, and the instrument cluster looks to be a completely digital affair. The dash is also redesigned to better merge the two screens. And if there was any doubt about this being an M model, take a close look at the exposed shifter.
Gallery: BMW X6 M Spy Shots
There’s nothing much new to gain from the exterior shots, but we are treated to some outstanding close-ups. The M edition will obviously have tweaked fascias front and rear versus the standard model, and you can expect an abundance of darker trim to replace chrome accents. That’s especially true with the kidney grille up front, which should give this big people mover a very sinister appearance.
Fortunately, it should have the firepower to back up that look. We expect to see at least 600 horsepower (447 kilowatts) under the hood, courtesy of a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that will send power to all four wheels. Paddles spied on the steering wheel tell us it will likely use a dual-clutch gearbox that can handle cog swaps on its own, or manually at the driver’s discretion.
We’re still waiting to see the updated version of the standard X6, so while the camouflage on this prototype is properly thin, it could be several months yet until we the M-badged variant on the public stage. This will likely appear late this year or early next year as a 2021 model.