Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: July 2, 2023
Refreshed for 2024, the BMW X6 receives minor yet meaningful updates. M60i replaces the outgoing M50i badge but the output remains the same, with the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 delivering the same 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque through an 8-speed automatic. However, a new 48-volt mild hybrid system has been paired with the powertrain, along with four-wheel steering, an adaptive suspension, and a host of other creature comforts to bring the X6 up to modern standards.
The M60i sits in the middle of the X6 range, offering more speed and power than the base xDrive40i engine, but with less gusto than the full X6 M Competition. But after spending more time behind the wheel of the M60i, it became glaringly difficult to find reasons and justifications to pony up to the full M. The M60i is incredibly well-balanced with a rev-happy V8 that provides hair-raising acceleration, a thrilling exhaust note to match, and a wonderfully judged ride that strikes that fine balance between supple and stiff.
The X6 M Competition is significantly quicker in a straight line, and undoubtedly more agile and athletic around corners. Its exhaust is louder and more bombastic, and it provides a bigger kick in the pants, but trust us when we say the M60i provides eight-tenths of those thrills at eight-tenths of the price. The M60i covers all the bases and is able to coddle you across a province yet it wouldn’t embarrass itself should there be a racetrack at the destination.
There’s a tidal wave of torque the moment you even feather the throttle. The mild hybrid system supplements the engine and gearbox by providing extra torque and polishing out low-speed transitions between shifts and engine starts. It may not sound like much but it adds an extra dimension of refinement to the way the powertrain operates, refining the start-stop system, gear transitions, and throttle inputs. And it’s so seamless that you hardly ever notice the tag team of gas and electric in play. That said, the hybrid system is there to enhance the engine, and not be the star of the show, and the beating V8 war drum will never let you forget that, both dynamically and acoustically.
The fuel efficiency of the M60i was as expected from a high-output V8. We achieved a yield of 14.7 L/100km over a mix of city and highway driving, compared to other V8-powered competitions like the Range Rover Sport P530 (16.1 L/100km), Maserati Levante Modena S (14.7 L/100km), and Porsche Cayenne GTS (14.2 L/100km).
The M60i rides a bit harsher than the standard X6. You will feel it crashing more when it tries to negotiate potholes on the road, and we didn’t find it as compliant as a Range Rover Sport either, but the M60i’s body control when you kick things up a notch is well worth the firmer damper setup. It’s all about compromise after all.
The rear-wheel steering system on the other hand positively adds a heightened sense of agility to the X6, and it’s well-tuned. Linear and organic in rotation, it reduces what used to be a three-point turn into a one-turn move, aiding in its maneuverability in small parking garages. BMW has made it organic and progressive enough that it doesn’t feel artificial or fake either, but rather just a natural extension of steering effort.
The interior of the X6 underwent a slight revision with new lighting accents on the passenger side dashboard and redesigned fan vents. The climate controls are now implemented into the 14.9-inch touchscreen unit and much to our dismay, we find it more cumbersome to use than the previous model’s dedicated screen and buttons. The latter made inputs much quicker and more convenient, especially when you just wanted to ramp up the temperature or the heated seats in a jiffy. We prefer ergonomics over avant-garde and minimalistic designs, but the cabin admittedly looks cleaner and more streamlined without them. We similarly greave the stack of programmable shortcut buttons but on the bright side, they live on in Rolls-Royces.
The driving position in the X6 is spot on - a high up yet hunkered seat that makes you feel like you are the king of the road, though we always seem to find that BMW steering wheel columns don’t tilt down far enough, with the wheel always angled too acutely towards the headliner. That means we can’t sit very low or far back like in a sports sedan. We adore the thick leather wrap around the wheel though, and even the airbag cover is stitched leather and not that plastic nonsense that Mercedes still offers at this price point. Odd that BMW also got rid of the heated steering wheel button that used to be located on the lower spoke. It was convenient but actually looked out of place.
Elsewhere are your typical upscale materials and creature comforts of a six-figure SUV. We appreciate the grab handles on the door panel and prefer its location over the center-mounted grab handles in the Cayenne and GLE. And of course, the X6 is never going to be as practical or as functional as the X5 with its sloped roofline, but its inherent penalties aren’t as severe as you might expect. Rear seat headroom is still enough for my six-foot self, though visibility out the rear windshield is severely hampered, and there’s a stark feeling of darkness despite the large windows and expansive sunroof, especially in this black leather spec. Best to stick with brighter colours. Green on tan, anyone?
The X6 gets a nip and tuck on the outside as well with a new and more aggressive front fascia, and updated headlights that seem to resemble arrow signs on guardrails. There’s now an M badge on the front grill whereas only full M models used to have them before, and there’s an M60i badge on the side fender so everyone knows you spent a little extra coin for the V8.
The rear-end revisions are harder to spot but it’s got the same quad exhaust pipes nestled within a black surround. New wheel designs and colours round out the changes, including this Isle of Man Green on our test vehicle, which comes off very similarly to Alfa Romeo’s Verde Montreal. We call this the Ninja Turtle spec.
The X6 continues its journey to the top step of luxury SUVs with both cosmetic and dynamic changes for the 2024 model. The M60i houses a thick layer of daily usability and everyday comfort but spices it up with a V8 that livens the experience and adds a sense of occasion to every drive. We miss some of the BMW’s past interior features that made functionality much easier, and the new looks don’t seem to justify an early upgrade, but the agility offered by the new rear-wheel steering system and the polish and smoothness of the mild hybrid system, make it an ever more complete SUV.
Model: 2024 BMW X6 M60i
Paint Type: Isle of Man Green
Base Price: $108,000
Price as Tested: $127,500
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Horsepower: 523 hp
Torque: 553 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.7
Tires: 275/35R22 front; 315/30R22 rear