Behind the Wheel

2020 BMW X6 M Competition Review: Brawny big brother stands out for all the right reasons

The 2020 BMW X6 M Competition is a standout during track days and as a daily driver.

Photo courtesy of BMW

When a kid in the school yard is bigger and stronger than all the others, it's often thought that they're a bully. The sheer brawn of the person makes them stand out on matter how much they try to fit in, even if deep down, despite their athletic prowess, they're just a gentle giant. That's pretty much the story of the 2020 BMW X6 M Competition.

It's the largest of the high-riding hatchback-style sports activity vehicles that BMW sells and it's easy to think of it as the SUV opposite of the BMW X7, which is noted for its long body and three rows of seating. If you're picturing a slightly larger version of the BMW X4, you'd be on the right path.

2020 BMW X6 M CompetitionThe SUV is more of a high-riding hatchback than what you'd typically think of as a sport utility vehicle.Photo courtesy of BMW

The model was redesigned for 2020 giving it more width and length, and a longer wheelbase. It's also an inch shorter. The result is a muscular vehicle that isn't horribly attractive, but it's not the ugliest in the BMW lineup either thanks to the design of the new 4 Series Coupe. It gets the full M design treatment, complete with blacked out exterior elements that are traditionally covered with chrome, like the fenders, mirror caps, tailpipes, badging, and rear diffuser.

The X6 M Competition's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine is a beast delivering 617 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque, and dismal fuel economy (15 mpg combined). But, it can get from zero to 60 seconds in 3.7 seconds so the trade off with Mother Earth's ozone layer almost feels worth it, especially when you're pressing the limits of acceptable speed heading into a corner only to have the model stick the pavement like a champ.

The elegant shifter pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver smooth shifts but moving the SUV into Sport mode and utilizing the paddle shifters is why you're spending the extra tens of thousands on this particular X6. Go for it. Enjoy.

2020 BMW X6 M CompetitionBMW's standard center console experience works well here too.Photo courtesy of BMW

Together, the beef and the brawn make sense - they're complimentary, well-engineered, and typically BMW.

The X6's interior is rather ordinary for the BMW family. There's no design risks, bold strokes, or surprises. With as much effort as was put into the powertrain and drive dynamics, it falls flat, tumbling right from the BMW playbook, despite the best efforts of the SUV's glossy carbon fiber accents and two-tone quilted leather upholstery.

That's not to say that it's too perfectly functional to be good. BMW routinely delivers one of the best user experiences for in-cabin tech and that continues in the X6. The finely crafted interior features materials befitting the car's price tag (starting at $117,600) and it delivers a quiet drive experience when your foot isn't toying with the accelerator.

2020 BMW X6 M CompetitionThe cabin is appropriately refined.Photo courtesy of BMW

Along with BMW's finely-tuned engine performance comes BMW's finely-tuned stopping power. This was, unfortunately, put to the test as I made my way through my neighborhood in a classic scenario where a ball rolled out into the street and was followed by a small child who didn't look to see if there was a car coming. A quick swerve, a slam on the brakes, a little curb rash on one of the SUV's standard 21-inch wheels, and the ball and child were safe.

While many cars could perform this type of behavior, it's important to note that safety technology didn't step in during this scenario, despite the X6 being loaded up with BMW's latest and greatest. It was up to human engagement. The model, despite being engineered for exhilarating performance on a track at high speed, is just as good performing in mundane life scenarios, like stopping quickly at low speed.

2020 BMW X6 M CompetitionThe model is available with offset 21-inch wheels up front and 22-inchers at the rear.Photo courtesy of BMW

That ying and yang is the anthesis of the X6, really. It's the brawny big brother in the crowd who isn't afraid to let its more gentle soul show through when required.

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The 2023 Crosstrek starts at $23,645.

Subaru

Subaru is one of the best at listening to its customers' needs, and the Crosstrek is a great example of that mindset. It's a useful vehicle with plenty of interior space and enough ground clearance to take its passengers well of the beaten path. Today, Subaru announced pricing for the 2023 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid. The duo will go on sale this summer.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek's cabin is adventure-ready and packed with great tech. Subaru

The standard Crosstrek starts at $23,645 before destination and the Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $36,845. Five trims are available for the standard model, including Base, Premium, a new Special Edition, Sport, and Limited. The Hybrid comes in a single trim level. All Crosstrek variants get all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The Base, Premium, and Special Edition trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower. The Sport and Limited trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 horsepower. Most models come with a continuously variable transmission, but the Base and Premium trims come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with two electric motors. The plug-in system can deliver 17 miles of electric range.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek delivers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.Subaru

True to Subaru form, the Crosstrek comes with a full suite of advanced driver aids, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, adaptive cruise, and more. These features are only available for CVT-equipped models. The Limited trim and the Crosstrek Hybrid add automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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The new Z starts at under $40,000.

Nissan

The new Nissan Z is finally here, and the 400-horsepower sports car is hitting the market with a reasonable price. The car starts at just $39,990 before a $1,025 destination charge. That's significantly cheaper than the least expensive Toyota Supra for a car with impressive specs and great style.

2023 Nissan ZThe Z gets a 400-horsepower V6 from Infiniti.Nissan

The 2023 Z comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower. It's paired with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. That's the enthusiast's dream setup, and it's one of few cars available in the U.S. with a manual gearbox. The body is stiffer and features more reinforcements from prior cars, and the steering system now features electric assistance instead of hydraulics. 18-inch wheels are standard and 19-inchers are available.

When it announced the car, Nissan made a point to talk about its retro-inspired styling and classic proportions. The coupe features a sweeping roofline, a distinct front fascia, and is unmistakeably a Z car, through and through. Inside, the car features a three anlog gauges for a classic look, 12.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 9-inch touchscreen display. The cabin looks upscale and tech-forward, with deep bucket seats.

2023 Nissan ZThe 2023 Z lands this summer. Nissan

Nissan says the new Z will go on sale in summer 2022. Pricing starts at $39,990 for the base Sport trim, $49,990 for the mid-range Performance trim, and $52,990 for the limited-edition range-topping Proto Spec trim.

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