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 Competition The 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 Competition BMW'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 Competition The 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 Competition The 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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A long roof with a V8. What could be better?

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Spend enough time reading car reviews, and you'll probably notice a trend among writers. We all love wagons, despite the fact that almost nobody in the United States buys them anymore. If there's a wagon that could appeal to almost anyone, however, it's this m2003 BMW 540i M Sport with a very special engine swap. It's up for auction right now and could be yours – or mine.

It doesn't get much better for a car nerd than this. The 2003 540i Sport Wagon has had its engine swapped for an S62 4.9-liter V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. For those of you not obsessed with E39 generation 5-Series cars, that's the engine from the M5 of the time. Here, it sounds every bit as raw and powerful as it does in the car it originally came from, and the six-speed manual gearbox makes this an enthusiast's dream.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon The car has been upgraded with all the right M5 components.Bring a Trailer


Inside, the black leather appears to be in great shape, considering the car's advanced age and mileage, though this wagon is lacking the in-dash navigation system that the M5 carried at the time. It's probably for the best, given that an 18-year-old computer would feel absolutely ancient compared to even the cheapest infotainment system today.

This auction is a little more than halfway through and the current bit is just over $20,000. There's quite a bit of time left for that to climb substantially, but at even twice the price it'd hard to feel cheated if you won.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon There's no navigation here, but 20 years haven't been kind to the M5's system, anyway.Bring a Trailer

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European sports sedan

Grab this 2000 BMW M5 before someone else does

Classic good looks and a rowdy V8 are the story here.

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We could spend all day bemoaning the rise of car auction sites and their impact on prices, but that won't do any good. The damage has been done. Of course, there are exceptions to the sky-high pricing we typically see on auction sites, and some cars are worth the money. This 2000 BMW M5 is one of them, and its current auction bid of just $15,250 makes us think it could go for a decent price.

The E39 M5 is one of the most legendary and sought-aftersports sedans of all time. Its 4.9-liter V8 produced 394 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque when it was new, which isn't all that crazy by today's standards, but an almost 400-horsepower family car was a big deal at the time. That magical engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive – an enthusiast's dream recipe.


2000 BMW M5 This car is in great shape for its age.Bring a Trailer


Inside, this car's tan leather upholstery looks great, and matches well with its black exterior. The seller has kept mods to a minimum, with just a set of aftermarket headlights on the list of changes. The car's original navigation system and head unit appear to be in place and the entire package is so well preserved it's amazing that the car hasn't drawn more interest so far.

Where this M5 will end up is anybody's guess. These cars are particularly difficult to find in any condition that could be called drivable, so this car's relatively low $15,000 current bid amount is surprising. Commentors on this auction are just as surprised as we are, and are asking where the love has gone for this M5. Of course, someone could swoop in at the last moment and start a bidding war, and with a full day left on the clock there's plenty of time for some action.


2000 BMW M5 The tan leather is nearly perfect.Bring a Trailer

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