First Drive: 2020 BMW X6 Is a Flashy, Driver-Focused SUV

BMW’s redesigned SUV emphasizes sport and luxury over utility and cabin room

2020 BMW X6 front view

The BMW X6 may appeal to buyers who seek a sportier-driving, much more dynamic-looking vehicle than the related X5 midsized luxury SUV.  

The X6 shares most of its mechanical components with the X5, and the two SUVs are similar in length and weight, but the X6 has edgier, coupelike styling. The dramatically sloping roofline fits with the X6’s sharper focus on the driving experience but brings less rear-seat space and a smaller cargo area than the X5.  

Prices for the X6 span from $64,300 for the base, rear-wheel-drive sDrive40i model with its 335-hp turbo six-cylinder up to $85,650 for the all-wheel-drive X6 M50i that packs a 523-hp twin-turbo V8, before a $995 destination charge. All versions of the X6 come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. X6 competitors include the Audi Q8, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.  

Consumer Reports does not plan to purchase the X6 and run it through the gauntlet of testing we conduct on vehicles we rate, because of its niche in the market and its close relation to the more popular X5.

But if you’re a Consumer Reports member, our detailed test drive impressions below are available to you. If you're not a member, click below to join and access the full review and all of our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Membership also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for any of the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and appliances.

Our impressions below are based on an X6 we rented from BMW and will serve as our only evaluation of this SUV. CR members also have full access to the results of more than 50 tests that we put the mechanically similar X5 through at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.

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What we rented: 2020 BMW X6 xDrive40i
Powertrain: 335-hp, 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbocharged engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $66,600
Options: $4,425. Premium package (head-up display, wireless charging, remote engine start, 4-zone climate control), Harman Kardon audio system, Parking Assistance package, Mineral White Metallic paint.
Destination fee: $995
Total cost: $72,020

CR's Take

BMW labels the X6 a Sports Activity Coupe, saying it combines attributes of an SUV “with the more aggressive DNA of a coupe.” But the X6, now entering its third generation, has never made a lot of sense, because it’s about as big and heavy as the X5, yet its angular styling brings hampered rear views, more difficult rear-seat access, and a smaller cargo area.

As such, the X6 is best for people who desire the higher-riding character of an SUV but don’t require loads of passenger space or the same levels of functionality found in the X5.

The new X6 is a little bigger in most dimensions than the outgoing model, although roof height has been reduced by 0.7 inch. The redesigned X6 shows many of the same improvements we found when we tested the X5, including a seamless drivetrain, superb interior quality, comfortable front seats, and a whisper-quiet cabin. The X6 adds tauter handling to the mix but also a noticeably stiffer ride.