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A X6 M Variant Is Expected From BMW For 2016 With Plenty Of Power

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What changes will make it different?

BMW now has a huge range of models that can be sporty, luxurious, practical, opulent, great-looking and very, very fast. Until the arrival of the X6 as a 2009 model year, you could see the point of everything the German automaker brought to market. But this midsized luxury crossover changed all that, and even though it has sold in impressively big numbers, many industry commentators still struggle to understand it. Lauded by its makers as “the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe,” it was in a segment of one until that number doubled with the introduction of . . . the X4! The 2015 edition saw the arrival of BMW’s second generation of the Sports Activity Coupe, but only its keenest fans would be able to tell the difference from the previous version without close study. The only change we expect to see for model-year ’16 is the launch of the new X6 M performance variant.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

Unless you’re holding out for the new M, we can’t think of a good reason. It didn’t change a great deal with the advent of a new generation, and year two should be a virtual carryover.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

If you like this offering, and plenty of people do, there’s no reason to overlook the ’15 version. Unless, of course, you have your heart set on the 567-horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque that the 4.4-liter V-8 M will deliver.

Will the styling be different?

Not much will be different with the “normal” version, but the M is quite a departure. It adds large air intakes, aerodynamically shaped side mirror caps, body-colored side moldings and quad-exhaust tips at the rear to tell everyone else on the road that this is a performance vehicle.

Any mechanical changes?

Again, the “normal” version should be largely unchanged. The M, on the other hand, gets more than just an engine upgrade. It will feature modified upper wishbones to aid agility in corners, stiffer springs that will result in a 10-millimeter drop in ride height and self-leveling air suspension to the rear. As you would probably expect in such a vehicle, most things are adjustable, with the driver being able to select between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes depending on circumstances.

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Will fuel economy improve?

It should stay about the same. The introduction for model-year ’15 of the rear-wheel drive sDrive35i has delivered highway economy of 27 mpg, which is pretty good for a vehicle of this size containing a 3.0-liter six-cylinder twin-turbo engine that delivers 300 horsepower. Even the 445-horsepower 4.4-liter V-8 in the xDrive50i gets a reasonably respectable 22 mpg on the highway. If you’re desperate to know what the mileage figures will be for the new M, it’s probably not the vehicle for you in the first place.

Will it have new features?

Just as you would expect from a high-end BMW, it can have just about every aid and comfort you desire. Even though many of its most exciting features come with a suitably substantial price ticket, the standard levels of equipment are pretty good. They include automatic climate control, a push-button ignition, both front and rear parking sensors, a high-quality 10-speaker audio system, multi-directional adjustable power seats, dynamic cruise control and more.

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How will the prices be different?

The all-wheel drive xDrive35i went up by $1,100 for the ’15; thus, a similar increase is unlikely for the upcoming model. The rear-wheel drive sDrive35i was new for 2015 and is now the entry point for X6 buyers at $59,600.

When will it come out?

Since the ’15 model has only recently started landing in dealerships, we don’t expect the successor’s release date until late in 2015.

Best competitors

Infiniti QX70, Porsche Cayenne, Acura ZDX, Range Rover Sport

What changes would make it better?

The X6 isn’t as roomy as most of its competitors; this is a very big car to have only four seats. And despite its excellent engines, it doesn’t ride comfortably enough to make us forgive the lack of practicality.

Quick hit

This is a vehicle no one really needs but a lot of people seem to want. It’s excellent in most departments, but while you may love its individuality one day, you are likely to find yourself hating its impracticality the next day. If a manufacturer is going to go out on a limb and make a vehicle that, for all intents and purposes, is pretty pointless, it may as well do it properly. That’s why the M variant will probably be the one that makes the most sense in a decidedly X6 kind of way.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]