MR face-off: BMW X6 M Design Edition


BMW has released pictures of its BMW X6 M Design Edition, and it’s proving controversial here at Motoring Research.

So much so, MR’s Andrew and CJ have decided to battle it out to decide whether the Design Edition is Bavarian brilliance, or brutally bad.

Andrew: I’d buy one!

I think if I were to compile a list of guilty automotive pleasures, the BMW X6 would be near the top. I can remember when it came out (five years ago now), hotfooting it across town to our local BMW dealer hoping they’d let this newly-qualified driver take one for a test drive.

They didn’t, and I think I was probably the first (and possibly the last) person to be disappointed by not being able to get behind the wheel of an X6.

But look at it – it takes a big, boring, practical SUV and makes it kinda cool (in my opinion, at least). It reminds me of a Paris Dakar racer you’d see blasting across the desert. It would be hopeless off road, but that’s not the point.

The X6 M Design Edition takes a car I genuinely like and adds my favourite interior feature of a car – RED STITCHING! I’ve never driven a car I’ve disliked with red stitching inside. It’s so achingly 80s. Maybe not the look BMW was going for.

As a whole, the interior looks fantastic. It’s a change from bland, dark interiors without being over the top.

The exterior might be an acquired taste. But we all know the performance benefits of fitting striped decals, and the Martini-esque stripes on the Design Edition must shave at least a fraction of a second off the 0-62 time.

Maybe not. The Design Edition doesn’t have any performance modifications over the standard 4.4-litre V8 BMW X6 M – but no one ever wished their SUV had more than 555hp and reached 62mph in less than 4.7 seconds. That’s insane figures for an SUV that weighs comfortably more than two tonnes.

I’d buy one. What’s not to like about a brilliant white SUV with subtle (ahem) stripes and flashes of red inside? And there’ll only be 100 made, so it’ll be exclusive too.


CJ: it looks hideous!

According to Andrew, the interior of the X6M Design Edition is both ‘fantastic’ and not ‘over the top’. By contrast, I believe that one of the few compensations for driving a vehicle that looks hideous on the outside should be an oasis of calm on the inside – after all, if you can’t see it, you can pretend it doesn’t exist (I’ve resisted the temptation to make a Hitchhiker’s Guide reference here).

But that’s not the case with this BMW. Ill-content with painting the exterior white, like the mountainside its silhouette so ably resembles, those waggish Bavarians have gone way beyond a bit of contrast interior stitching – something I’ve never taken previous offence to – and slathered whole sections of the dashboard in bright Mugello Red leather. Save it for the nightclubs, chaps.

As for those external M-division stripes, while I fully subscribe to the well-established convention that every square inch of sticker is worth an extra 5hp, in this case I fear the performance enhancement will be counteracted by the sound and air pressure generated by all the people pointing and laughing as you drive by.

On the other hand, I do have a certain weakness for neatly distributed (genuine) carbonfibre, so I’ll let the M-Sport trinkets here slide. And to be fair, the Design Edition is also available in black or red, and the graphics are commendably optional.

Still, the only real positive I can take away from this whole unfortunate episode is that BMW has restrained itself to building just 100 examples, and not a single one of them will be heading in the direction of the UK. So no British buyer will be tempted to make a dangerous decision. Nor find themselves puzzling over the apparent need to pay extra for heated seats and lumber support on an £86k+ car.

Even less good is the likelihood that the Design Edition signals a coming end for the current X6 – which suggests the impending arrival of a second-generation version, modelled after the gawky new BMW X5.

Who do you agree with? Send us a tweet @Editorial_MR and we’ll feature the best tweets and announce our winner later this week.

Motoring Research will use the information you provide on this form to contact you with regular newsletter updates only. Please confirm that you are happy to receive newsletter information from us by the below methods:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.