The BMW X6 is back – not that it really went anywhere. Now in its third generation, Bimmer's biggest crossover coupe is more sculpted, more powerful, and loaded with more tech than ever before. Thank its new underpinnings; the 2020 BMW X6 rides on the same BMW Cluster Architecture (CLAR) as its more-traditional sibling, the X5. But the new platform doesn't take away from its sculpted looks. The X6 is still a sharp-looking CUV, and even better with fun exterior options like an illuminated grille.
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The new platform does mean new powertrains, though. The entry-level sDrive40i and xDrive40i models make do with BMW's twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, producing 335 horsepower (249 kilowatts) and 330 pound-feet (447 Newton-meters) of torque. Those numbers represent a modest 33 hp (25 kW) and 35 lb-ft (47 Nm) increase over the outgoing version. To 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour), it takes the sDrive model 5.2 seconds, while the xDrive version gets there in 5.3 seconds.
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The more-powerful X6 M50i model gets BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 instead. Here, that engine produces 523 hp (390 kW) and 553 pound-feet (750 Nm) of torque, an increase of 78 hp (58 kW) and 74 lb-ft (100 Nm) over its predecessor. It takes the X6 M50i just 4.1 seconds to hit 60 (0.5 seconds better than its predecessor), and it will continue on to a limited top speed of 155 miles per hour (249 kilometers per hour). And if you spec it with the factory trailer package, the X6 can tow up to 7,200 pounds (3,265 kilograms).
Both the inline-six and V8 versions of the X6 utilize the same eight-speed automatic transmission found elsewhere in the BMW lineup. A double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension make the X6 more agile – or, as agile as an X6 can get without the full-on M treatment – and an optional Dynamic Handling package adds performance upgrades like active roll stabilization and active steering. The former uses electric swivel motors to reduce body roll, while active steering turns the rear wheels, in or out depending on speed and road conditions, to counteract slippage.
If you want your X6 to get rugged, it can. The xDrive40i model comes with an optional off-road package. The additional kit adds a two-axle air suspension, an electronically controlled M Sport rear differential, and four specially designed off-road driving modes for different terrains: snow, sand, gravel, or rocks.
In terms of in-car tech, the X6 gets version seven of BMW’s Live Cockpit with iDrive. That includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch central touchscreen, ripe with standard and optional features like the "Hey, BMW" voice assistant, advanced gesture controls, wi-fi connectivity, wireless charging, and wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility (with an annual fee, of course).
If it’s safety you want, the X6 offers plenty of it. Standard equipment includes BMW’s Active Driving Assistant – essentially radar cruise control for stop-and-go traffic – blind-spot detection, forward collision warning, and park distance control. For an extra fee, X6 buyers can get more active equipment, things like lane-keep assist, automatic lane-change assist, side-collision avoidance, and a few others.
The base X6 sDrive40i starts at $64,300 in the U.S., not including $995 for destination. The xDrive40i models asks $66,600, a slight increase over the rear-wheel-drive model, while the hot M50i model gets a steep $85,650 starting price. Like most of its modern crossovers, the X6 is built at BMW’s U.S. manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.