- Distinct shape
- Better look
- Impressive performance
- Available twin-turbo V-8 power
- Cramped rear head room
- Not as practical as an X5
- Big rear blind spots
features & specs
The 2021 BMW X6 trades some of the X5’s utility for a fashion moment, but doesn’t miss a performance beat.
What kind of car is the 2021 BMW X6? What does it compare to?
The 2021 BMW X6 is a mid-size luxury crossover SUV with a fastback-style roof that distinguishes it from the otherwise identical X5. It’s pretty, expensive, and it’s a pretty expensive rival for the Benz GLE-Class, Jaguar F-Pace, and Porsche Cayenne.
Is the 2021 BMW X6 a good SUV?
The X6 has a handsome look and a marvelous interior to go with its stunning acceleration, but cargo space falls shy of the more practical X5. We give the X6 a TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new with the 2021 BMW X6?
Satellite radio now comes standard, along with Android Auto compatibility—but the off-road package has been deleted.
If looks could kill, the BMW X6 would put a bruise or two on your forearm. It’s good-looking in a mashup kind of way, shapely though not sleek or svelte. It’s better knitted together than in past versions, and the ungainly, top-heavy stance is a thing of the past. Inside it’s classic BMW rendered extremely well, with swaths of metallic or wood trim splitting the cabin into a digital space and a leather-clad conversation pit.
Performance ranges from impressive to unreal. Even the base X6, with its 335-hp turbo-6 and 8-speed automatic, hustles off the line with a pace that doesn’t line up with its girthy curb weight; it corners with grace and grip as well as body lean. It clears some very high performance hurdles with the blistering M50i edition and its adaptive air-spring suspension—but it’s utterly amazing in track-ready M Competition trim, with 617 hp, a 0-60 mph time of well below four seconds, stellar levels of grip, and a stiff ride that becomes downright harsh when the pavement’s been degraded.
It loses a baker’s dozen of cubic feet in storage space to the X5, but the X6 still passes the utility test with good scores. Back-seat space suffers under its roofline; front passengers have all the room and support they need, while tall back-seaters will lean or slouch just to tolerate a cross-town trip.
Crash-test data doesn’t exist, but the X6 is quite similar to the top-rated X5, and comes with the usual automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors, with options for a surround-view camera system and sophisticated adaptive cruise control.
How much does the 2021 BMW X6 cost?
Prices start at $66,025 for the X6 xDrive40i, which has rear-wheel drive, leather upholstery, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With wireless smartphone charging, Bowers & Wilkins audio, and 22-inch wheels, the X6 M Competition soars past $110,000.
Where is the 2021 BMW X6 made?
In South Carolina.
2021 BMW X6
The fastback-styled SUV has better posture than before, but we’d still take an X5.
Is the BMW X6 a good-looking car?
We’ve been stumped by the quest to describe the X6 any other way than fastback SUV. An X5 in a turtleneck? That’s kind, and adequately conveys how we give the X6 a 7 for style—with points extra for the interior and exterior.
The X6 is pretty extra by nature, since who buys an SUV with less interior room and a higher price? BMW’s had a lot of luck exploring that idea, and the latest X6 does the best job yet of soothing concerns over its tall-SUV proportions and its wanna-be coupe rear end. The kidney grille’s huge, of course; it lights up too. The roofline descends quicker than a high-rise elevator, the doors crease and suck in to cut as much visual weight out of the nearly 5,000-pound crossover as possible. It’s about as pretty as it can be—and it’s no longer ungainly.
Inside the X6 flaunts its confidence by slathering the usual BMW horizontal cockpit in dramatically colorful leather. There’s black, there’s gray, there’s a sort of neutral beige—and also a fiery orange-red and edible browns. Touchscreens and digital displays rule the top half of the dash, over bands of wood or mesh metal. Serene and free of extraneous glitz, the X6 cockpit wears its boardroom style with ease.
2021 BMW X6
The X6 isn’t exactly nimble—and it isn’t at all slow.
BMW sells the X6 in three distinct power outputs, mostly in all-wheel drive, with an automatic transmission only. Combine those in any fashion or form and you get a sizzling performance SUV that’s outrageously quick in its top trim. We give the X6 a 7 for performance in its 6-cylinder versions, knowing that it’d be an 8 if we rated the rarer V-8s.
Is the BMW X6 4WD?
All but the base model come with all-wheel drive; the X6 sDrive40i is rear-wheel drive.
How fast is the BMW X6?
BMW fits its 335-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-6 in the sDrive40i and xDrive40i, and sends its 331 pound-feet of torque to either the rear or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic. It’s a muscular powertrain with a subdued snarl, and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds.
Spend up to the M50i, and BMW’s 523-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. Steroidally enhanced with those extra cylinders, it can shoot to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds through the effortless gearchanges of the 8-speed and a guttural bark that gives this BMW a distinct Detroit soundtrack. It’s lag-free despite its two turbos, and comes with paddle shifters that flip through gears on command and stay there in manual mode.
If it’s interstellar-grade speed you need, only the X6M will do. It tunes the twin-turbo V-8 to 600 hp—and ups that to 617 hp in Competition spec—for a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 or 3.7 seconds, respectively.
How the X6 handles its tremendous power can be a lesson for democracies of all kinds. It’s tenacious but forgiving, staunchly anti-wheelspin. It’s not nimble, though. At almost 5,000 pounds in heavy-end trim, the X6 applies all the geometry and technology it can to tame understeer. Stock versions get adaptive dampers that change the suspension’s stiffness and offset some of the ride impacts levied by the biggest wheels; more expensive versions get sport-tuned suspensions, air springs, and active roll stabilization that negates body lean with oppositional force—even rear-axle steering that lets the X6 corner more effectively. A happy commuter and weekend adventurer in base versions, the X6 becomes a ferocious track beast in M and Competition models, with uncanny stick and astonishing acceleration that puts it in sports-car territory—and a harsh, almost brittle ride to match.
2021 BMW X6
Comfort & Quality
The X6 shaves valuable cubic feet from the X5.
The X6 shares its running gear with the BMW X5, but the difference in rooflines makes itself known to back-seat passengers. We give it an 8, with points for front seats, fit and finish, and for cargo space, but it misses out on two points that the X5 garners for back-seat and five-passenger room.
In front the X6 has 16-way power bucket seats that offer slightly less space than in the last version of the coupe-like crossover. They’re clad in leather and heated, and BMW offers cooling and upgraded leather. Tall drivers fit well even under the standard panoramic sunroof, and all passengers can tailor the firm seat cushions to fit longer legs, wider torsos, or shorter arms.
The X6 has 35.7 inches of rear-seat leg room, but head room has been trimmed back to a noticeable degree. Passengers taller than 6 feet will touch the headliner if they don’t slouch or lean forward.
The X6 has 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and 59.6 cubic feet behind the front seats. The latter compares to the X5’s 72.3 cubic feet—a difference of a few roll-aboard suitcases, but it doesn’t seem to matter to style mavens. What does matter is the X6’s excellent interior finishes and quality, with a range of leather and wood that appeals to the eye and to the touch.
2021 BMW X6
The X6 hasn’t been crash-tested yet.
How safe is the BMW X6?
With no crash-test data yet published, the BMW X6 doesn’t have a rating here. It’s very close in structural safety to the excellent X5, however.
Standard X6 safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, automatic high-beams, and adaptive LED headlights.
Safety options include adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and a surround-view camera system, which comes in handy since the X6’s outward vision is pretty poor to the rear quarters.
2021 BMW X6
With excellent warranty coverage and technology flourishes, the X6 ranks well for features.
With a few changes to its features roster for 2021, the BMW X6 still scores highly—even picking up a point for the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty that now covers three years of scheduled maintenance. It’s a 9 here, missing only a point for value.
Which BMW X6 should I buy?
We recommend the $68,345 X6 xDrive40i. It’s $2,300 more than the rear-drive s40i, but along with all-wheel drive it comes with leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, satellite radio, a 12.3-inch digital gauge panel, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The $87,225 M50i gains 20-way power front seats, remote start, M-tuned suspension and steering, and Harmon Kardon 16-speaker audio.
Options range from a head-up display to a light-up grille, wireless smartphone charging, upgraded leather upholstery, Bowers & Wilkins audio, a dynamic handling package, and 21- or 22-inch wheels. The off-road package has been dropped.
How much is a fully loaded X6?
You’ll pay $109,595 for the X6 M—then add another $9,000 for the Competition package.
2021 BMW X6
Efficiency loses to power in the X6.
Is the BMW X6 good on gas?
BMW ekes out as much gas mileage as it can with the tall, heavy, powerful X6, but it’s still a 4 on our scale. That’s because the EPA pegs it at 21 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined in sDrive40i trim. With all-wheel drive, it’s scored at 21/25/23 mpg.
Spend up to the M models, and gas mileage falls precipitously. The M50i’s pegged at 16/22/18 mpg. The X6 M and Competition? Both check in at 13/18/15 mpg.