Entry price: $66,000
Price as tested: $72,020
This week we’re driving the all-new third generation 2020 BMW X6, a car-like model available with either rear-drive or AWD underpinnings. Arriving with an enhanced and optionally illuminated kidney grille, new front and rear motif and outstanding new cabin, our X6 xDrive40i model is just one of many new BMWs available at dealer showrooms. One thing they all have in common is the legendary sports car handling and distinctive opulence one expects from the BMW nameplate.
Looking back at BMW’s motorcar history, it’s almost impossible to believe that back in 1955 the noted German brand was near extinction. Specifically, the only thing sitting between bankruptcy and solvency was a new, tiny little bubble car they called Isetta 300. Surprisingly, along with motorcycle sales, this 13-horsepower powered vehicle helped BMW persevere through difficult economic times.
Further, I remember seeing several Isetta 300’s back in the late 1950s and novel they were. Isetta’s weighed just 750 pounds and relied on a 1-cylinder, (yes, just one) 247-cc, BMW motorcycle engine. It delivered 60 MPG, went 53 mph flat out and cost $1,048 when introduced to the U.S. market in 1958. Fast forward to 1966, the compact, “real car” BMW 1600 series became the darling of the college crowd and if you didn’t own one, you sure wish you did. BMWs morphed into the opposite of the VW Bug and Bus, and if you owned a VW Bus, you were a member of the “flower power” hippy generation. Meanwhile, if you owned a BMW 1600, you were a member of the more preppie, wine and cheese crowd. Either way, you were “in” and many times shared together at the college parties.
Fast forward and we’re back to modern day BMW land where it officially calls the 2020 X6 either a “Sports Activity Coupe” (our tester) or a more conventional looking “Sports Activity Vehicle,” with the boxy roofline.
The X line of BMW Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes starts with the X1 ($35,200) and then progresses all the way up to the luxurious and powerful X7M50i, which starts at $99,600 with a 523 horse turbo V8 under the hood and zero to 60 times of 4.5 seconds. All deliver BMW expectations and the higher the number goes the more amenities and powertrain options appear on the build sheet. The X4 and X6 versions feature the more pronounced sloped rear roof coupe design over and above the others.
The X6 40i standard engine, be it rear or AWD, is the powerful 3.0-liter inline-6 that delivers a stout 355 horses and 365 lb. ft. of torque. All Xdrive models feature all-wheel drive and Dynamic Driving modes including Sport, Sport+, Comfort, or Eco with a special launch control for those who want to sprint away from a situation as fast as possible.
Our tester’s inline-6 may not be in the same acceleration class as the 523-horse X7’s turbo V8 but it will for sure impress. Expect zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds thanks to torque that is delivered to an 8-speed paddle shift sport automatic while 20-inch Pirelli run flats provide the necessary road adhesion. Lightweight spoke alloy wheels also help in reducing weight on rotating assemblies and as they say if it’s lighter, it’s faster.
As for the “Twin Power Turbo,” BMW utilizes a special twin-scroll turbo direct induction and exhaust system to eliminate even a trace of turbo lag when accelerating. Its “Twin Power Turbo” delivers a seamless, no hesitation turbo acceleration from a direct common rail fuel injection system that quickens the fuel/air mix to the intake valves and then through a special exhaust manifold when combustion is complete. (Sorry readers, for the too technical info, but please keep reading).
This turbo setup results in BMW’s wording “Twin Powered Turbo” (intake and exhaust enhancements) even though the X6 uses but one turbocharger, not two. It’s a very good system that over the years has resulted in many people thinking these BMW’s have two turbos instead of one.
On the road, X6 will get you through the toughest of poor climate conditions and then take on the best of them when it comes to handling and road worthiness thanks to perfect 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. With its engine coming from Austria and the transmission from Germany, you know you’re getting the best that BMW offers in drivetrains with everything then assembled in Spartanburg, South Carolina, by American craftsmen and women.
All X6 models feature modern safety equipment including stability and traction controls, safety rear monitoring and infotainment delivered on a large 10.25-inch color screen and standard panoramic moonroof. Your BMW dealer will explain all of the countless high tech BMW items when you visit, including the navigation and safety systems. Notable for a powerful BMW are the EPA numbers at 20 city and 26 highway.
As noted, our X6 delivers better handling characteristics versus the other smoother riding BMW X models, so I recommend driving several of the X Series models before choosing.
A notable $2,300 Premium Package adds four-zone climate ducts, heads-up windshield display, SiriusXM with one year free, wireless charging, Wi-Fi, gesture control, and enhanced USB and Bluetooth. (This should all be standard).
Recommended is an $875 Harmon Kardon 16-speaker stereo system with CD while another notable option is a Parking Assist Package for $700 that will handle any parallel parking that comes your way. When adding $550 for special metallic paint and $995 delivery, it brings the final retail to $72,020.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 117.1 inches, 4,784 lb. curb weight, 21.9 gallon fuel tank and up to 59.6 cu. ft. of cargo space with rear seats down.
In summary, BMW’s X6 generation is high on my list of what the EPA considers a Standard Size SUV. If you’re looking for a 4x4 that delivers both family needs with loads of performance DNA, this new BMW X6 may be the one for you.
Likes: Powerful inline-6, heritage, opulence, car like design.
Dislikes: Limited rear visibility, some options should be standard, a bit too expensive.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive column: All-new 2020 BMW X6
Entry price: $66,000