Engine: 4.4-liter turbocharged V8, 567 HP, 553 lb-ft. of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Pricing (US): 2015 BMW X6 M starts at $103,050 after destination charges, $112,450 as tested.
Pricing (CDN): 2015 BMW X6 M starts at $110,295 after destination charges, $123,295 as tested.
EPA Fuel Economy: 15 MPG city, 22 MPG hwy, 16.2 MPG observed average
CDN Fuel Economy: 16.6 L/100 km city, 12.1 L/100 km hwy, 14.5 L/100 km observed average
A rare creature roams the streets.
Some say this beast is half utility vehicle and half sports car, while others call it an overgrown hatchback. Officially, it’s referred to as a Sports Activity Coupe or SAC for short. Its looks are certainly unusual and a hot spot for controversy.
With a steeply raked rear roof and mid-size crossover proportions, the 2015 BMW X6 M is an unconventional vehicle. It weighs more than a Ford F-150, has the ground clearance of a Chevrolet Colorado, yet has more power than a Porsche 911 Turbo S.
Painted in stunning Long Beach Blue and wearing massive 21-inch wheels, the X6 M is hard to miss. And just in case this big, blue monster somehow slips under the radar, what’s under the hood is sure to make other drivers sit up and take notice.
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Heart of a Beast
Powering this monster is a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 jacked-up to make 567 HP and 553 lb-ft. of torque. Equipped with standard all-wheel drive, the X6 M can rocket from zero to 60 mph in four seconds flat despite weighing a hefty 5,185 lbs. That zero to 60 time splits the difference between the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Cayenne Turbo S.
And the power is also very usable, thanks a lot to the eight-speed automatic transmission that’s similar to the one used in the Jaguar F-Type. Upshifts and downshifts are unusually fast and rival the Corvette Stingray for the quickest regular eight-speed automatic I’ve ever driven.
Still, there is an annoying delay off the line. Every time the X6 M comes to a complete stop, the electromechanical parking brake is lightly applied and the transmission disengages to prevent forward creep. It works, but also causes a bit of hesitation for the X6 to get moving when first applying the throttle. Thankfully, the auto parking brake feature can be turned off, but the transmission disengaging during a stop always occurs.
Reflexes of a Predator
But once underway, the X6 M seriously hauls. Catch a gear at the right rpm, and the big Bimmer will pin you in your seat with jetliner-like thrust. As speeds climb, power never wains. All the while, a subdued V8 growl floods out of the quad-tip exhaust, erupting into a staccato bark during high-rpm upshifts.
SEE ALSO: BMW X5 Review
It’s funny how often people try to drag race the X6 M from a stoplight. I guess they see it’s a hulking SUV and wonder if that M badge is a fake or assume this must be a slow moving barge on wheels. Either way, the X6 M will eat up an Audi S4 in a straight line and give it a run for its money in the corners.
Yes, it’s huge and heavy, but the X6 M has serious cornering grip. BMW did more than just give it a boost in power and a stiffer suspension — the company dialed it in. The X6 M’s chassis setup feels more balanced and more willing to properly negotiate a corner than a lot of other SUVs on steroids. Of course, having massive 285-mm front tires and ridiculously wide 325-mm rear tires helps the cause. And to stop this behemoth, 15.15-inch cross-drilled brake rotors are installed at all four corners.
The interior of the X6 has changed quite a bit for 2016. There are now five seats instead of the old X6’s less usable four-seat configuration. With a mix of leather, metal and carbon finishes, the X6 M looks the part of a high-end SUV with quality in spades. The front seats are very comfortable and supportive, but some shorter passengers did complain about the position of the fixed headrests.
SEE ALSO: 2015 BMW X5 xDrive35i Review
With 35.6 inches of legroom and 37.9 inches of headroom, it’s still a bit tight in the back seat of the X6, thanks to that sloping roofline. Six-foot tall passengers are able to just squeeze themselves in back there, but anyone taller than that will have a hard time fitting comfortably.
The X6 has always been criticized for its lack of storage space because the tapered roof cuts diagonally though the cargo area. But with 26.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity, it actually has more room behind the rear seats than a Porsche Cayenne. Part of this has to do with a large underfloor storage compartment that comes with a gas strut prop rod to keep the hard cover lid up.
The 2015 BMW X6 M starts at $103,050 after destination charges, ensuring these monsters will remain a relative rarity in all but the poshest of neighborhoods. Equipped with the full Merino leather interior and carbon trim, my test vehicle upped the price slightly to $112,450.
Although this will probably be no concern at all to potential owners, the X6 M is officially rated to return 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. During my time with this brute, I averaged 16.2 mpg – a direct reflection of my love to pin the throttle at every opportunity.
The Verdict: 2015 BMW X6 M Review
Admittedly, I was never a fan of the X6 before. And if it’s the regular 2015 X6 that’s being discussed, I’m still not.
But the X6 M is something special. The brilliant blue beast has charmed its way into my heart. It’s big, brash and unapologetic. It drives a lot like a lifted BMW M5 and that’s a good thing. Completely unnecessary in so many ways, the 2015 X6 M is the right kind of crazy.