Trucks & SUVs

Same Shape, Different Size: What’s Up With The BMW X4 and X6

Upon first glance – at least online – the BMW X4 and X6 SUVs look like almost the exact same vehicle. Their similar body lines and styling set them apart from most other SUVs, but there isn’t a lot to differentiate between the two. What is the big difference though, is the size and performance. BMW is well known for making its sporty M model performance-oriented sedans and coupes, but they also make some impressive and competitive SUVs as well.

The 2020 BMW X4

The 2020 BMW X4 is what I would describe as the SUV for people who don’t like SUVs. It’s compact-size and sporty driving experience make owners forget that they are driving a larger SUV, but they get all of the practicality of owning an all-wheel-drive SUV.

Among the two trim levels available, the xDrive and M40i you get style and luxury that you’d expect from much more expensive SUV brands, like the Lamborghini Urus, for a brand-new tag of around $51,100 and for the M40i performance model it’s $61,000 making it cheaper than the base model X6.

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Regardless of the trim level, you get the BMW all-wheel-drive system which pairs with one of two engine options. The base model comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that offers 248hp and if that isn’t enough, the M40i has a 3.0L 6-cylinder that offers 355hp.

It also gets slightly better fuel economy than the X6, but not by much, with a city average of 23mpg and a highway average of 28mpg. The differences in gas mileage are so small that it isn’t a fair argument to say one is significantly better than the other.

The 2020 BMW X6

The 2020 BMW X6 has similar body lines to the X4, and if you didn’t know any better you might even mistake the two, especially in pictures. The X6 has a higher entry-level price than the X4, starting at $64,300 which is several thousand dollars more than the M version of the X4. To get the equivalent performance package on the X6 will set you back about $85,650.

Unlike the X4, however, the X6 offers more passenger and cargo space because it is a full-sized SUV. Unlike the other BMW SUVs on the market, however, it has a fastback design that deletes the traditional boxy-style rear end and replaces it with sleeker rooflines. While this is appealing to some consumers, others think it looks slouchy and awkward.

The 2020 BMW X6 M on display at an auto show
The 2020 BMW X6 M on display | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

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The X6 doesn’t get much different gas mileage than the X4, although it is not as good, with 21mph in the city and 26mpg on the highway. Manufacturer reports for gas mileage are usually set under ideal conditions, however, and driving style and circumstance could easily bring the two SUVs onto a more level playing field.

The BMW X4 and X6 share a lot in common besides their sporty body lines and aggressive appearance. They both have luxurious leather-clad interiors with carbon fiber or wood trim along with the dashboard and center console control panel. Ambient lighting help set the appeal and the high-quality materials make these SUVs worth the price.