With the X6 M, BMW whips up the perfect recipe, blending sport and luxury with a generous dash of artistry. The result is a gorgeous, functional mix that earns the SUV a 2020 Wards 10 Best Interiors award.
Of course, M stands for Bavarian performance, and the X6’s driver-focused cockpit offers plenty of reminders, including the bright red starter button mounted on the center console and customizable M1 and M2 selectors along the steering wheel that enable the driver to quickly snap the vehicle into more dynamic driving modes. Red and blue M-brand stitching adorns the steering wheel and pistol-grip gearshift and runs along the outer edge of the seatbelts.
The X6 M Competition’s form-fitting seats further drive home the point, with a bold racing stripe down the center and special X6 M badging embedded into their beefy integrated headrests. Completing the theme is the digital instrumentation, with its dramatic kidney-shaped combo tach and speedometer, and a dynamically rising center console that envelops the driver.
“What an incredible design statement by the M division,” notes juror James Amend. “The front seats, which look like something out of Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, send the message this is one seriously sporty SUV.”
But a vehicle that stickers north of $130,000 also needs a high dose of luxury – and the X6 M delivers here, too. For starters, it turns out those great-looking seats also are quite comfortable no matter where you’re sitting. Front seats include full massage features and there’s extra lumbar support for the driver. Four of the five seating positions are heated, and a four-zone climate-control system ensures each passenger’s comfort.
There isn’t an ounce or inch of faux here. All materials are genuine, from the quilted Merino leather that covers the seats, instrument panel and doors to Alcantara headliner and the metallic and carbon-fiber trim throughout. Multicolored accent lighting, including backlit speaker grilles for the Bowers and Wilkins sound system, seals the deal. Our test vehicle also came with the optional Executive Package that includes rear window shades and heated and cooled cupholders.
Beyond all that, it’s the X6 M’s overall design aesthetic that simply takes your breath away. Its two-toned cockpit, highlighted by its stunning pale gray Silverstone leather, appears as if meticulously carved from an iceberg. There are so many interesting lines and so much attention to detail here, including the sculpted inner door panels both front and back, the precise accent stitching found in unexpected places and the carbon fiber that bends and flows ever so smoothly along the instrument panel.
This artwork is supplemented by arguably the best man-machine interface on the planet. The X6 M’s seventh-generation iDrive is mated to a 12.3-in. (31-cm) configurable display screen that can be controlled in multiple ways, including hand gestures, steering-wheel buttons, direct touch or the console-mounted rotary dial.
Voice controls are spot on. Telling the system your back hurts will activate the massaging feature, and mentioning you’re cold will raise the cabin temperature and turn on the heated seats. There’s also an M-exclusive head-up display that includes tachometer readouts.
“The X6 M’s exciting and racy interior almost feels as though it’s been lifted from a concept car,” sums up judge Bob Gritzinger. “But it’s real, and available for purchase by those few BMW buyers looking for the ultimate interior to match their ultimate driving machine.”