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2020 BMW X6 M50i

I love this car. It makes me giddy. "It's chill," as my teenage children would say.

Yes, the 2020 BMW X6 M50i is shaped like a giant Easter egg — albeit one with 21-inch wheels. But, at the same time, it's one of my favorite car designs of the year. Technically, it's a mid-size luxury SUV, but in reality, it's an oversized hatchback/race-car.

I think I like it so much because it looks like nothing else on the road. Sometimes being aggressively different is good. Who wants to blend if you are spending close to $100K on a car? From its unique sifter, which looks like a fist-sized diamond, to its sky-blue brake calipers, the X5 M50i is a hoot.

FAST FACTS

* Model: 2020 BMW X6 M50i

* Exterior color: Arctic Gray Metallic

* Interior color: Tacora Red Vernasca Leather

* Engine: 4.4-liter V-8, twin-turbocharged

* Horsepower: 523 horsepower

* Transmission: 8-speed automatic

* Fuel economy: 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg highway

* Local Dealer: BMW of Chattanooga

* Price (as tested): $97,195

Viewed from the front, its imposing grille appears to scowl back at you like an NFL linebacker through a face-mask. From the back, its quad exhausts and fastback shape give it a sporty, stacked vibe. And inside — oh, my goodness — the cockpit features Red Vernasca Leather seats and multi-colored door panels that would look at home in a design museum.

This feast for the eyes is also thrilling to drive. Powered by a 523-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-8 the X6 M50i will launch from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 3.8 seconds. Yes, there's a six-cylinder version of the X6 available called the S30i, but you'll want the full M-trim V-8 experience if you can scratch up the money.

Our tester, which has about $10,000 in options, rings up at $97,195. With most $100,000 cars, my response is an eye-roll. For the BMW X6 M50i, though, $97K feels like a bargain. (Locally, check with BMW of Chattanooga at 6806 E. Brainerd Road for X6 availability.)

 

WHAT IS IT?

The BMW X6 M50i is the performance version of the mid-size, luxury X6 SUV. It slots above the X6 40i V-6 and just below the full-bore X6 M V-8, which makes it the "just-right" selection in our view. With seating for five passengers and 27 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat, it doesn't have the expansive interior dimensions of a full-on SUV. But if driving is your main focus, who cares? Buy the X6 M50i and rent a van for the family vacation.

 

HOW MUCH?

Our tester has a base price of $85,650. The full MSRP, $97,195, includes options and a $995 destination charge. Our favorite option is a $1,700 driver's assistance package that saved our bacon when a car swerved in front of us on Highway 27 on the way to work one morning. The X6's nanny-cameras sensed the danger before I did and throttled down the car to avoid the incident. Well done, X6.

 

WHAT WE LIKED

Well, a bunch. The styling, the performance. But mostly the little things like the hand-gesture radio volume control (sure feels like magic), the throaty exhaust note, the rich Arctic Gray Metallic paint, the 22-inch Y-spoke wheels, the boss M-style steering wheel and the Harman Kardon sound system.

 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

I'm stumped. The lift-gate motor is a little slow, I guess, but who cares. The back seat could be a bit more inviting, maybe, but I don't really see this as a family car. This is a Swiss-Army-knife vehicle for active (and affluent) buyers.

 

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

We love the X6 M50i's acceleration. Jam the accelerator, listen for the lion to roar under the hood and brace yourself for launch. The steering is a little heavy, but in a good way. BMWs and Subarus share this attribute, and once you get used to it, it's better than the alternative — overly light steering. The brakes, assisted by discs the size of large pizzas, are commensurate with the power of the engine. Top speed is limited to 130 mph, which is a good thing. Nothing good happens over 130 mph in a passenger car.

 

BOTTOM LINE

This a rare luxury car approaching six-figures that is actually worth the price. Maybe it's just personal preference but, if I had the money, I'd buy this car all day long.

In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.


View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy



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