Are you in the market for a high-performance SUV with a fast roofline? Is the 600-horsepower BMW X6 M not quite enough? Well, don’t worry, BMW has just the thing: the 2020 BMW X6 M Competition, which offers a touch more power, tighter chassis tuning and a little more style, too.
A mightier X6 M
Like its squared-off X5 M Competition sibling, the X6 M Competition packs substantial firepower under its hood. BMW’s familiar 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 is here, packing 617 horsepower. Torque matches that of the non-Competition model, checking in at 553 pound-feet available between 1,800 and 5,690 rpm.
Flick the engine into its Sport or Sport Plus setting and performance is ample, with zero quibbles about boost lag. Drop the hammer and the X6 M Competition romps to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, which is one-tenth of a second quicker than the regular X6 M. Triple-digit speeds happen in a hurry, and will eventually top out at 177 mph with available M Driver’s Package, the two-mode active exhaust system putting out a grumble all the while. Without the Driver’s Package, things stop pulling at just 155 mph.
Routing power through the M-tuned, rear-biased all-wheel-drive system is an eight-speed automatic transmission. As usual, the ZF-sourced gearbox goes about its business seamlessly, ripping off quick and well-timed shifts in full-automatic mode, and offers respectable up- and downshifts in manual mode most of the time. Occasionally, there’s a split-second delay when I summon a lower gear with the left shift paddle.
No doubt, there’s no shortage of muscle in the Competition for the street, or even a racetrack if an owner decides to throw the swoopy people-mover on one for whatever reason. For high-load situations like that, the drivetrain should keep its cool, delivering consistent performance with the help of six radiators, four water pumps and a dedicated transmission cooler.
But what’s equally important is that the drivetrain does have a kinder, gentler side. Select the Efficiency setting and the X6 moves along in a respectable manner. It’s quiet, the transmission short shifting up gears for optimal fuel economy, returning an EPA-estimated 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Throughout a week of mixed driving on surface streets and expressway runs, I observed 15 mpg, matching the EPA’s combined-cycle rating. Not exactly tree-hugging levels of efficiency, but not horrific, all things considered.