Herbert Bayerl is not someone who spits big tones. The friendly Bavarian is project manager at BMW M GmbH and responsible for the heavy hitters X5 and X6. “It’s the biggest facelift we’ve ever done,” says the friendly Bavarian, who is easily accepted in this assessment. A bit of “Mia san Mia” is in the specifications for the Munich car manufacturer anyway, since the crossovers in the Bavarian metropolis are called SAVs (Sports Activity Vehicles). So the dynamic compared to a boring SUV is already cemented in the name. If it is an M, this aspect is raised to a higher power.

At BMW M, the dynamics are largely defined by the engine. The engine with the internal code S68 is something like the Munich car manufacturer’s jack of all trades, because it replaces both the N63 engine installed in BMW AG vehicles and the S63 from M GmbH. By reducing diversity, the people of Munich save a lot of money. Among other things, the units differ in terms of their different performance levels. In the X6 M Competition it is 460 kW / 625 hp and a maximum torque of 750 Newton meters. The dynamic crossover is certainly not underpowered, but the Munich team misses out on setting an exclamation mark in the muscle man competition. After all, the BMW M8 with the identical performance is in the approval lists and the pre-model refinement Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT even with 471 kW / 640 hp.

But the greatest power fizzles out ineffectively when the drivability is poor. That’s why this BMW M is the first with 48-volt electrification. The electric motor integrated in the transmission contributes 9 kW / 12 hp and 200 Newton meters of torque. “Torque is more important than power,” explains Herbert Bayerl. Finally, the e-machine plugs shift and turbo lags, improves response and saves up to five percent fuel in the WLTP cycle through recuperation. BMW specifies the average consumption as 12.9 liters per 100 kilometers. After 3.9 seconds, 100 km/h is reached from a standing start and the X6 M Competition is up to 290 km/h fast. So much for chronicler duty. In everyday life, it is more important that the electric extension conceals the drive weakness. In fact: with this eighth you are relaxed and confident in every situation. However, the low-frequency banging of the double-declutching salvos when the flaps of the sports exhaust system are open is annoying. The sound mixer could have done that better. On the other hand, what is always fun in a BMW M is configuring the tuning using the many setting options.

The fact that the USA is the main market for the power SUV is evident from the steering, which responds extremely directly from the middle position. You have the feeling that you only have to think in one direction and the vehicle immediately dives to that side. In addition, there is a steering feel that does not clearly convey what the front wheels and their traction are like and wants to convey sportiness through high restoring forces. That goes down well in the US. For us, precision and harmonious transparency characterize good sporty control. Basically, a steering system that does not attract attention and reliably carries out the pilot’s commands.

Please don’t misunderstand. On its own, the BMW XM 6 Competition is definitely an agile and sporty crossover. But compared to the segment leader, the Porsche Cayenne, the Munich-based car clearly came second. The man from Zuffenhausen is light-footed across the board than his competitor from Munich. It starts as soon as you turn into the curve. The X6 M does not change direction quite as quickly as its competitor. That also applies to the cockpit. The driver has to concentrate much more on the turn-in and apex than is the case with the Swabian competitor.

When it comes to the brakes, the BMW X6 M Competition deserves top marks. The compound brake system can be metered more precisely than is the case with a carbon-ceramic version. The BMW technicians are so convinced of the stability that they no longer offer a carbon-ceramic version. Even the impressive weight of the BMW X6 M Competition of 2,370 kilograms does not detract from the performance of the delay system, as several endurance tests in the Alps have proven. The people from Munich know what they are doing, after all, this compound brake, in which the brake disc is not directly connected to the wheel bearing, has been part of the BMW M technical arsenal for some time. The brake should be able to withstand a temperature that is 100 degrees higher without fading occurring.

As with all models in the X5 and X6 series, the developers have also upgraded the interior of the X6 M Competition. In the case of infotainment, this means larger displays and a more modern operating system: the BMW Operating System 8. However, the increase in the number does not necessarily mean that everything is better. You know that from your smartphone. At the Munich carmaker, you no longer navigate through the variety of menus quite as intuitively as was previously the case. But that can be improved with a wireless update and as long as the iDrive Controller is part of the operating concept, driver distraction is also reduced and the occupants are not slavishly dependent on the touchscreen. That brings us to the first part of the infotainment refresh, the screens: the digital cockpit is displayed on a 12.9-inch monitor and a now 14.9-inch touchscreen is the infotainment command center. The fact that voice control works well makes operation noticeably easier. For example when entering the navigation destination. However, there is always a catch with BMW GmbH products. They are not a special offer. This is no different with the X6 M Competition: Nothing goes below 165,400 euros.