Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

BMW X6 2020 review: M50i

The X6 M50i is powered by the latest version of BMW's evergreen 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine.
EXPERT RATING
8
BMW's X6 tapers the German maker's five-seat SUV formula into a couple style body, and the M50i powerhouse is the current range flagship. Question is, does it's menacing form, compromise practical function?

You might think you're looking at an SUV, but in fluent marketing double-speak, BMW describes this aggressively styled, high-riding, five-seater as the X6 'Sports Activity Coupe.'

If you're willing to accept a sloping roofline as justification for the term coupe, the sports activity bit is equally apt because this is the top-shelf M50i version of the new, third-generation X6.

That means monster, twin-turbo V8 power, adaptive 'M' suspension, giant 22-inch rims, and a whole lot more. The perfect ride for those determined to leave automotive shrinking violets cowering in their wake.

BMW X6 2020: M50i
Safety rating
Engine Type4.4L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency—L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$155,900

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

If the BMW X6 was walking towards you down a dark alley, you'd cross to the other side of the road, or better still, turn 180 degrees and execute a speedy retreat. This car looks menacing.

Angry, angular headlights look even more focused with the M50i's blue-tinged 'LaserLight' system housed within them, and the supersized 'kidney grille' only needs its vertical blades to be sharpened and start slicing up and down prior to an appearance in the next Mad Max instalment.

Our test car was fitted with the 'Iconic Glow' LED grille illumination option ($1000) which adds an extra dimension to the welcome home light function. And massive gills at either end of the front bumper complete a fierce, take-no-prisoners expression.

Angry, angular headlights look even more focused with the M50i’s blue-tinged 'LaserLight' system housed within them. (image: James Cleary) Angry, angular headlights look even more focused with the M50i’s blue-tinged 'LaserLight' system housed within them. (image: James Cleary)

The side view is dominated by the X6's sloping turret running down to a steeply raked rear screen and slim rear spoiler, and there's a fair bit going on along the car's flanks.

A distinct character line sits just below the windows, above a tapering 'coke bottle' profile that would do a '60s muscle car proud. The wheelarches bulge outwards to accommodate big 22-inch alloys underneath them, while pronounced vents behind each wheel add to the urban assault vehicle vibe.

And things step up a notch at the rear, with the profile of the hatch door and fascia panel below it zigging and zagging like a crinkle cut chip.

The side view is dominated by the X6’s sloping turret running down to a steeply raked rear screen and slim rear spoiler. (image: James Cleary) The side view is dominated by the X6’s sloping turret running down to a steeply raked rear screen and slim rear spoiler. (image: James Cleary)

Long, wavy, LED tail-lights cross the border between the rear quarters and back door, with macho, chrome-trimmed exhaust outlets sitting either side of a diffuser-style centre trim panel. The overall look is busy and brutal.

The interior is more conventional BMW territory, the driver presented with the 12.3-inch, customisable 'Live Cockpit Professional' instrument cluster, flanked by a second 12.3-inch 'Control Display' media screen.

Leather seat trim is standard, but for an extra $7300 our car featured the BMW Individual 'Merino' full leather treatment, taking in the doors and dash, with high-gloss black inlays and brushed metal trim pieces adding an air of premium sophistication.

The interior is more conventional BMW territory. (image: James Cleary) The interior is more conventional BMW territory. (image: James Cleary)

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

At just over 4.9m long, 2.0m wide, and a fraction under 1.7m tall, the X6 M50i is a solid unit, and despite its sloping roofline, interior space is generous.

Storage options are plentiful up front, with a lidded storage box/armrest between the seats, a decent glove box, a pair of (heated and cooled) cupholders in the centre console, and long door bins with dedicated space for large bottles.

Back seaters are provided with a fold-down centre armrest incorporating a flip-top oddments tray and a pair of pop-out cupholders. There are semi-hard shell map pockets on the back of the front seats, a slim hidey-hole in the rear of the front console, and small but deep door bins able to hold full-size bottles.

  • Boot capacity with all seats up is a healthy 580 litres. (image: James Cleary) Boot capacity with all seats up is a healthy 580 litres. (image: James Cleary)
  • It has enough space to swallow our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres). (image: James Cleary) It has enough space to swallow our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres). (image: James Cleary)
  • It fits the jumbo size 'CarsGuide' pram, with room to spare. (image: James Cleary) It fits the jumbo size 'CarsGuide' pram, with room to spare. (image: James Cleary)
  • Drop the the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat and you have no less than 1530litres at your disposal. (image: James Cleary) Drop the the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat and you have no less than 1530litres at your disposal. (image: James Cleary)

Sitting behind the driver's seat set for my 183cm position, headroom (despite the glass sunroof), and legroom were fine. But the person who plucks the short straw and ends up in the centre rear spot wouldn't want to be there for long distances. The seating position is okay, but lacks the more luxurious sculpting of the seats either side.

Speaking of the rear seat, its occupants also enjoy adjustable climate control outlets.

Connectivity is on the pace, with a USB-A port in between the front cupholders providing access to Apple CarPlay. There's a wireless charging bay for compatible smartphones, another USB-C charging outlet in the front centre storage box, and two more on the back of the front seats. There's also a 12-volt socket in the front console, and another under the rear ventilation stack.

Back seaters are provided with a fold-down centre armrest incorporating a flip-top oddments tray and a pair of pop-out cupholders. (image: James Cleary) Back seaters are provided with a fold-down centre armrest incorporating a flip-top oddments tray and a pair of pop-out cupholders. (image: James Cleary)

The sloping roof doesn't impact usable boot space as much as you'd think, and capacity with all seats up is a healthy 580 litres; enough to swallow our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres), or the jumbo size CarsGuide pram, with room to spare.

Drop the the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat and you have no less than 1530litres at your disposal. Tie down anchors in the floor, pop-out bag hooks on each side, and handles near the rear door to remotely drop the back seat are thoughtful touches.

The auto tailgate features hands-free operation via a swoosh of the foot under the rear of the car.

The spare is a space-saver, and the towing fraternity can bank on hauling a 3500kg braked trailer (with 140kg towball download) and 750kg unbraked.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

When you've vaulted over the $150K new car price barrier it's fair enough to expect a lengthy standard equipment list. After all, you're mixing it with high-quality, high-end, SUV coupe competitors like the Audi Q8, Jag F-Pace SVR, and Porsche Cayenne S Coupe, with Mercedes-AMG surely following its upcoming GLE 63 S with a mid-$100K 43 grade in wagon and coupe versions.

And sure enough, included in the M50i's $155,900 (before on-road costs) price are, 'Comfort Access' keyless entry and start, ambient lighting (with six pre-set designs), leather upholstery (our test car featured full leather 'Merino' trim for an extra $7300), the BMW Individual instrument panel finished in leather, leather-trimmed sports steering wheel, four-zone climate control, the 12.3-inch 'Live Cockpit Professional' instrument display, a 12.3-inch hi-res media screen, and a configurable head-up display.

It comes with giant 22-inch rims, and a whole lot more. (image: James Cleary) It comes with giant 22-inch rims, and a whole lot more. (image: James Cleary)

The sports front seats are heated and electrically-adjustable (with memory for the driver), the exterior mirrors are heated (with auto-dipping on the passenger side), audio is 16 speaker, 464-watt Harman Kardon 'Surround Sound' (with digital radio), the doors feature a soft-close function, and an auto tailgate (with hands-free operation) is included.

A panorama-style glass sunroof is fitted, although our test car featured an even more imposing 'Panorama Glass Roof Sky Lounge' for an extra $1700, and the 'Travel and Comfort System' allows accessory elements from media tablets to coat hangers to attach to the top of the front seat backs.

The driver presented with the 12.3-inch, customisable ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ instrument cluster, flanked by a second 12.3-inch ‘Control Display’ media screen. (image: James Cleary) The driver presented with the 12.3-inch, customisable ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ instrument cluster, flanked by a second 12.3-inch ‘Control Display’ media screen. (image: James Cleary)

Also included are 'Adaptive M Suspension Professional' (including anti-roll stabilisation), 'Dynamic Damper Control', 22-inch alloy rims, laser headlights (including 'Selective Beam' high beam control), LED fog lights, 'Parking Assistant Plus' (including 'Reversing Assistant', and 'Driving Assistant Professional' (combining adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist for semi-autonomous function). Specific 'M' elements include an aero package, upgraded brakes, a tricky diff and tuned exhaust.

An impressive package, offering value relative to the car's price tag, and competitor positioning.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

The X6 M50i is powered by the latest version of BMW's evergreen (N63) 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine. This all-alloy unit locates the exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbos in the engine's 'hot vee' between the cylinder banks, improving engine bay packaging and shortening the path of exhaust gases from the cylinder to the turbos to minimise throttle lag.

Featuring direct-injection, 'Valvetronic' variable valve timing, and 'Double Vanos' variable camshaft timing, peak power is 390kW delivered from 5500-6000rpm, with maximum torque of 750Nm available from 1800-4600rpm.

Drive goes to all four wheels via an eight-speed (torque converter) automatic transmission and BMW's 'xDrive' all-wheel drive system.

The X6 M50i is powered by the latest version of BMW’s evergreen (N63) 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine. (image: James Cleary) The X6 M50i is powered by the latest version of BMW’s evergreen (N63) 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine. (image: James Cleary)

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 11.5L/100km, the X6 M50i emitting 263g/km of CO2 in the process.

Despite the standard start-stop function, 'Optimum Shift Indicator', and 'Eco Pro' mode with coasting function, over roughly 300km of city, suburban and freeway running we recorded a 'real world' figure of 14.1L/100km, due in part to a pretty regular examination of the car's performance potential. It really is that kind of beast.

Minimum fuel requirement is 91 RON standard unleaded, although 95 RON premium is recommended, and you'll need 83 litres of whichever one you choose to fill the tank.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Okay, so, the X6 M50i is fast. As in, 0-100km/h in 4.3sec, which is proper sports car speed, and outrageous for a roughly 2.2-tonne SUV.

Maximum torque, all 750Nm of it, is available from just 1800rpm all the way to 4600rpm, which means pulling power is gargantuan from step-off right through the mid-range.

Despite a pair of turbos in the works, the engine sound and exhaust note are suitably aggressive, and the eight-speed auto transmission is ultra-smooth in the more civilised drive modes, yet satisfyingly responsive in 'manual' using the wheel-mounted shift paddles.

The supersized 'kidney grille' only needs its vertical blades to be sharpened and start slicing up and down prior to an appearance in the next 'Mad Max' instalment. (image: James Cleary) The supersized 'kidney grille' only needs its vertical blades to be sharpened and start slicing up and down prior to an appearance in the next 'Mad Max' instalment. (image: James Cleary)

Suspension is by double-wishbones at the front, and a five-link set-up at the rear, and the standard 'Adaptive M Suspension Professional' and 'Dynamic Damper Control systems mean despite the giant 22-inch rims, shod with licorice-thin Pirelli P Zero rubber (275/35 fr - 315/30 rr),  you can dial in a plush ride, while retaining excellent body control, or push up into the sportier settings for more immediate dynamic response, but decidedly less comfortable progress.

The xDrive permanent all-wheel drive system manages a fully variable torque split, although the default balance is 40/60 from front to rear axle.

And handling balance is impressive thanks in no small part to the standard 'Integral Active Steering' system which provides an element of rear steer; the rear axle turning counter to the front wheels in slow speed maneuvers, and in unison at higher speeds.

Long, wavy, LED tail-lights cross the border between the rear quarters and back door. (image: James Cleary) Long, wavy, LED tail-lights cross the border between the rear quarters and back door. (image: James Cleary)

Road feel is good rather than brilliant, but the big X6 remains poised and predictable when the family's at home and a sneaky B-road burn beckons, the all-wheel drive system working subtly to keep the M50i gripping hard and pointed in the right direction. Braking, by big ventilated discs all around, is strong and consistent, even under the pressure of a favourite backroad run.

Believe it or not, some will choose to take this autobahn blaster off-road, so, it you must know its angle of approach/departure is 25.1/21.7 degrees, breakover angle is 17.9 degrees, ground clearance (when unladen) is 216mm, and fording depth (at 7.0km/h) is 500mm. 'Hill Descent Control' is also standard.

A panorama-style glass sunroof is fitted. (image: James Cleary) A panorama-style glass sunroof is fitted. (image: James Cleary)

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

The X6 M50i packs all of BMW's latest active safety tech. As well as the usual suspects like ABS, EBD, BA and stability and traction controls, the standard suite includes high- and low-speed AEB, adaptive cruise control (with stop and go function), 'Steering and Lane Control Assistant', lane departure warning (with lane change assist), lane keeping assist (with side collision warning), front and rear cross traffic alert (with rear AEB), blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, an 'Attentiveness Assistant', a tyre pressure indicator, and dynamic brake lights.

'Parking Assistant Plus' incorporates a reversing camera, 'Active Park Distance Control' rear, and 'Reversing Assistant', as well as 'Surround View', 'Panorama View' and '3D View'.

If all that fails to save the day you're supported by head and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as side curtain bags. And in the event of a crash there's an 'Intelligent Emergency Call' function to get emergency or rescue services on the case immediately.

There are child restraint/baby capsule top tether points on each of the three rear seating positions, with ISOFIX anchors on the two outer positions.

At the time of writing neither ANCAP nor EuroNCAP had assessed the X6's safety performance.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

BMW offers a three year/unlimited km warranty, which is drifting off the pace now with the majority of mainstream brands stepping up to five-year cover, with some at seven.

That said, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche are still in the three years/unlimited km warranty zone, and the BMW's body is warranted against rust (perforation) for 12 years/unlimited km, and roadside assistance is provided free-of-charge for three years/unlimited km.

The spare is a space-saver. (image: James Cleary) The spare is a space-saver. (image: James Cleary)

Maintenance is 'condition based' with sensors and on-board algorithms (mileage, time since last service, fuel consumption, driving style) determining whether an annual vehicle inspection or oil service is required.

The 'BMW Service Inclusive' package, offering a single, one-off advance payment to cover selected service and maintenance costs, is available in two levels - 'Basic' or 'Plus.'

Verdict

As with its high-performance, luxury competition the BMW X6 M50i is as much about the way it looks as the way it performs. But the fact is, it combines supercar acceleration, with exceptional dynamics and surprising practicality. The premium value equation adds up and the car is beautifully put together. Just be prepared for pedestrians crossing to the other side of the street as you range into view.

Pricing guides

$167,900
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$121,900
Highest Price
$213,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
M COMPETITION 4.4L, PULP $213,900 2020 BMW X6 2020 M COMPETITION Pricing and Specs
M50i 4.4L, ULP $155,900 2020 BMW X6 2020 M50i Pricing and Specs
xDRIVE30d M SPORT 3.0L, Diesel $121,900 2020 BMW X6 2020 xDRIVE30d M SPORT Pricing and Specs
xDRIVE40i M SPORT 3.0L, ULP $124,900 2020 BMW X6 2020 xDRIVE40i M SPORT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Design8
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety9
Ownership7
James Cleary
Deputy Editor

Share