Please forgive my bluntness, and allow me to cut to the heart of the X6-dissenter argument right at the top. Yes, BMW will sell you a 2015 BMW X5 M that is the motive twin (I assume) of the X6 M you’re here to read about, that is also cheaper, roomier, and more conventional in appearance.
For many of you – especially the old guard that hears the descriptor “Sports Activity Coupe” and proceeds to unlock the gun cabinet – that’s all you need to hear. Because, although the fickle community that consumes and comments on internet car culture seems to be fine with typical-looking SUVs and wagons packing performance-enhancing goodies, the idea of slanting the back of one turns them right off.
And yet, BMW continues to sell the things; more than 250,000 units have be delivered in the X6 series’ history. As if that weren’t proof of concept enough, blood-rival Mercedes-Benz has unleashed the GLE, a coupe-like crossover of its own, complete with AMG pedigree.
All of this brought me to Austin, TX, home of Hill Country, The Circuit of the Americas and the 2015 X6 M launch. On both road and track I found a car that was more powerful and blithely capable than ever, while also being exactly as weird to drive as it is a concept to comprehend.
Given that the X5 M exists, and offers styling that is more like normal for the SUV genre, both the lovers and the haters of the X6 M are likely to be focused on the way it looks. Here, the 2015 model isn’t very much changed from the original, meaning you aren’t liable to change sides on the styling debate for this refresh.
The ’15 model has a slightly fewer black accents on the exterior, along with revised front and rear fasciae and vented (and chromed) front fender gills. The car is almost two inches longer than the existing model, but is near enough the same size in every other direction that you’d have to study the specification sheet to know different.
Inside the X6 M that I tested was a beautiful, fully optioned cabin that boasted gripping sport seats and BMW’s wide, easy-to-read infotainment screen. The leather-wrapped everything and carbon-fiber trim were both well executed, and my hands rejoiced at the feeling of the thick-rimmed, serious-looking steering wheel. Veterans of the current M5 or M6 will see a lot that looks familiar here, but to my eyes that’s high praise.