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BMW gives its trendsetting 2020 X6 crossover a major makeover in new redesign

Key Points
  • BMW debuted the redesign of its influential X6 crossover utility vehicle on Tuesday.
  • Its coupe-like shape has spawned a legion of copycat designs from competitors like Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
  • The 2020 BMW X6 stays close to the design of the outgoing model, but is larger in almost all exterior and interior dimensions.
The 2020 BMW X6
Source: BMW

Few luxury automakers have more extensive vehicle lineups than BMW, launching a broad array of new products over the past decade.

The Bavarian marquee refreshed its roster again Tuesday with the redesign of its influential X6 crossover utility vehicle.

Conceived as a blend of a sports coupe and a sport utility vehicle, the original BMW X6 was a breakout product when it was launched in 2008. Its coupe-like shape has spawned a legion of copycat designs from competitors like Mercedes-Benz and Audi and Porsche's Cayenne.

"It made a difference" in the market, offering more creativity than the classic, boxy SUV, said Stephanie Brinley, a principal analyst at IHS Markit.

But Brinley cautions that the trend may have gone too far. BMW and its German rivals alone have added scores of new models since the beginning of the millennium, and the market is now showing signs of over-proliferation.

The 2020 BMW X6
Source: BMW

BMW itself has added downsized versions of the X6, such as the X2 and X4. But that has begun to raise questions about whether the luxury market is now being flooded with too many new models, each generating smaller sales volumes.

"How many are too many?" she asked, adding that as the global automotive market begins to slow down, "that will sort out," with some low-volume models likely to be pulled from showrooms. That could include some BMW offerings, though Brinley sees the X6 as continuing to be one of the brand's more important and influential products.

The 2020 BMW X6 stays close to the design of the outgoing model, but is larger in almost all exterior and interior dimensions. The only significant exception is its slightly lower height.

The 2020 BMW X6
Source: BMW

The midsize "Sport Activity Vehicle," as BMW prefers to call it, retains the steeply raked, coupe-like roof line that separates it from more classic utility vehicles like the original BMW X5. The 2020 model picks up on the larger version of the signature BMW double-kidney grille first seen on the new X7 flagship. Here, however, buyers can order a package that illuminates the grille, along with the daytime running lights that surround the X6's LED headlamps.

BMW hasn't disclosed the gas mileage for the 2020 model, but the 2019 X6 xDrive50i got 17 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Top speed for all models is 130 mph on standard tires; 155 mph on performance tires. Pricing isn't available yet, but the base price for the 2019 model is $63,550, plus delivery fees.

BMW designers clearly opted for a more aggressive look with the 2020 remake, starting with the larger air intakes on the bumper, as well as the now-standard 20-inch alloy wheels and tires — which can be upgraded to up to 22 inches. The double-bubble roof line flows into twin spoilers above the rear hatch glass. Key design elements, including those spoilers and the "air breathers" that reduce turbulence around the front wheels, have a significant impact on the vehicle's aerodynamics, improving both fuel economy and performance.

The 2020 BMW X6
Source: BMW

Inside, the new X6 gets a more driver-focused layout, with a reconfigurable gauge cluster and the latest version of the BMW iDrive infotainment system. Buyers can opt for the audiophile Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, which punches 1,500 watts through 20 separate speakers. For those who prefer to just watch the outside world passing by, the new X6 also offers a panoramic sunroof that's 83% larger than the outgoing model.

Several versions of the 2020 X6 will be available. The rear-wheel drive sDrive40i and all-wheel drive xDrive40i share the same 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 engine with 335 horsepower, up 33 from the outgoing model. Torque is rated at 330 pound-feet, up 30 from the 2019 utility vehicle.

The 2020 BMW X6
Source: BMW

The sportier X6 M50i opts for a 4.4-liter TwinPower turbocharged eight-cylinder engine. It bumps the numbers up to 523 horsepower, or 78 more than before, and 553 pound-feet of torque, up 74. The "M" model also gets a sport exhaust system. It can hammer from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds, a half-second quicker than the 2019 X6.

All versions share an eight-speed automatic that is paired with an onboard navigation system and the active cruise control radar sensor. That lets the gearbox shift proactively, for example, downshifting ahead of corners and hills.

The 2020 BMW X6
Source: BMW