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Looking for a new luxury sedan to add to your family? The third generation of BMW's X6 debuted in 2020, and it brought many promising changes. Buyers and car gurus alike have been raving about the fastback roofline, the X6 M50i trim level's turbocharged 4.4-L V8 engine (which got beefed up to a power output of 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque), the quiet ride quality, and the superb high-quality interior materials.
For 2021, most of what you would have found on the 2020 line-up carries over. Its sporty aesthetic is not lost by any means. The most noteworthy addition this year is standard Android Auto, which was previously unavailable. A few previously standard and optional features have been given the ax, and there is now a mild hybrid system on the V6 engine option.
The nice thing about the X6 is that the line-up itself is simple. You can only choose between the base sDrive40i and M50i trim levels, both of which are well-equipped with standard features. The sDrive40i receives its power from a 3.0-L inline-6 cylinder engine that creates a power output of 335 hp. This system has a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain system built into it, and it comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
While that is pretty powerful, the M50i amps it up with a 4.4-L twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque - a significant power upgrade indeed. Of course, you can always opt for the X6 M variant, which boosts power output to a massive 617 hp. Cornering grip is downright impressive on all of these X6 models, so you know that you are in for a wild ride when you start taking one out on the open road.
The X6 is not a perfect vehicle though, if such thing even exists. The style infringes on practicality, as the slooping roofline cuts down on both head space for rear seat passengers and rear outward visibility for the driver.
With that being said, this review of the 2021 BMW X6 will go over what is new for the model year, what there is to like about the vehicle, a few things that buyers might not like, and how it stacks up against the competition. Be sure to read through to the conclusion to get our final verdict on the new X6.
What's New for 2021?
Only a few changes have been made for 2021 since last year saw a total overhaul of the X6. This year, the 2021 BMW X6 sees the standard addition of Android Auto. This is actually the first year it has ever been available on the X6. It used to be that BMW was Apple CarPlay exclusive, but they are now becoming more inclusive with their smartphone app integration. Gone are a few former features: glass interior controls, acoustic glass, night vision on the pedestrian detection feature, and the rear-seat entertainment system. On top of it all, the V6 engine gains a 48-volt mild hybrid system for enhanced fuel efficiency.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 BMW X6 – The Pros
1. Strong Engine Acceleration
Regardless of which engine you opt for, you get strong acceleration. The V6 feels spunky enough, but the V8 has no problem sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. And as far as the high-performance X6 M is concerned, you will be leaving everyone else in the dust. And, with the mild hybrid system on the V6, you get a little boost in fuel efficiency.
2. A Quiet Ride
Despite its sporty nature, the X6 is remarkably quiet at any speed. Take it up to 80 on the highway, and you will still experience a well-insulated cabin. We just wish the acoustic glass had not been axed as an option since it made the cabin even quieter at high speeds. At any rate of speed, though, you will have no problem hearing your music or chatting with rear seat passengers.
3. A Compliant Suspension
Handling is superb on the 2021 BMW X6 thanks to a well-tuned suspension. The M Sport Package itself includes a revised suspension that adds even more comfort and compliance to the ride quality. It is a double-axle air suspension, which means it is able to adapt to the surface the vehicle is gliding over and quickly dispatch bumps.
4. High-quality Interior Materials
As you should expect, BMW nails it with an exquisite interior design. The materials are all high-quality. You will find a lot of soft touch surfaces and gorgeous leather upholstery options. The physical controls are all made of quality material, and the color options you get are all able to be smartly paired together.
5. The M Sport Package
One of the optional 'must-have' packages for the X6 is the M Sport package. We recommend adding this one because it enhances the vehicle's exterior accents, gives it an even sleeker body kit, adds the double-axle air suspension, equips a special M Sport steering wheel, and provides you with an upgraded exhaust system. The cost is justifiable for many buyers and makes the X6 feel even sportier and aerodynamic.
6. The Premium Package
The second package we recommend adding is the Premium package. Why the Premium? Well, it has the head-up display (more on that below), a wireless charging pad, and remote engine start - and that is just for starters. It has a whole host of features that make the tech on the X6 all the more enjoyable.
7. The Head-up Display
Since the double-screen system is kind of a bust (again, more on that below), we recommend getting the Premium package so that you can use the better-organized head-up display. This projects important vehicle data onto the windshield in front of the driver's eyes. The graphics are crystal-clear, and the controls are easy to use.
8. Standard Smartphone App Integration
Android users, rejoice! Android Auto is finally a standard feature on the X6. Now you, like iPhone users, can sync your smartphone with your vehicle, utilizing your favorite apps as you go. Don't like BMW's built-in navigation? Simply use what is on your phone instead. Jam to your favorite tunes or make phone calls with ease.
9. Many Standard Safety Features
Safety features are abundant on the X6. The list of driver aids includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert. You can opt for adaptive cruise control, which comes with stop and go technology built in, but the standard cruise control system should do just fine for many drivers.
10. The Complimentary Maintenance Plan
While the rest of the warranty coverage is industry standard, the complimentary maintenance plan BMW offers is superior. This plan allows for 3 years or 36,000 miles of maintenance work footed by BMW and performed by their highly skilled mechanics. Generous, for sure, and something that drivers can really take advantage of when they need to.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 BMW X6 – The Cons
1. The Sloping Roofline
The 2021 BMW X6 has one big downfall: the sloping roofline. Sure, it looks cool, but it is completely impractical. It takes head space down by 2-3 inches from what you get inside of the X5, meaning that taller folks sitting in the rear might feel like they have to shrink themselves down. It also makes for poor outward visibility for the driver.
2. The Dual Digital Displays
The two 12.3-inch displays clogging the dash are obnoxious, even though they're meant to be cool. Their controls are aggravating, and the graphics are nothing to marvel at. One screen would do just fine, and the head-up display is much more adept at showing organized vehicle data.
3. Gesture Controls Aren't That Helpful
Gesture controls - meaning controls that function based on your bodily motions - sound nifty, right? Unfortunately, those in the X6 aren't very helpful. You might feel like you're flailing your hands when you just want to change the volume on the stereo. A cool concept, but it is poorly executed and needless.
4. A Small Cargo Area
The sloping roofline means that cargo space is diminished too. The X5 offers more, and you will have a hard time fitting bulkier items into the X6. While the X5 can handle about 11 carry-on suitcases, the X6 barely manages to fit 9.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 BMW X6 vs. 2021 BMW X5
Much like the X6, the X5 offers a line of solid engine options that generate plenty of power. It also has a luxurious cabin that comes packed with standard features. Its cargo space is more generous though, as it does not share the same sloping roofline as the X6. However, the X5 does have a lot of blind spots and not too many small item storage areas inside of the cabin.
2021 BMW X6 vs. 2021 Porsche Cayenne
The 2021 Porsche Cayenne has some of the most precise handling capabilities for a crossover luxury SUV. You get a number of options to help you customize it, including a list of strong engine options to choose from. However, the Cayenne isn't as plush with standard features as the X6, as too many features that are standard in the X6 are optional in the Cayenne.
The 2021 BMW X6 is a sporty number with a lot of power beneath its hood. While some of the technology feels overwhelming and a bit over-the-top, the real downside is the sloping roofline. If you can live with that, however, you are bound to enjoy taking the X6 out on the wide open road.
• Why buy a 2020 BMW X6? w/ pros vs cons