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2020 BMW X6 sports activity vehicle. Photo: BMW

This week I'm driving the 2020 BMW X6 xDrive40i, what the German automaker calls a "sports activity coupe."

  • It's what you get when you blend an SUV with a coupe — a slope-roofed crossover with less utility and less headroom.
  • That distinctive look of the X6 costs almost $6,000 more than the traditional squared-off BMW X5, and some people won't mind paying even if it's less practical than an SUV.
  • Personally, I'm not a fan of the X6's rear end. It's neither fish nor fowl, and just looks awkward to me.

That said, the X6 is an excellent ride, as you'd expect from BMW, and loaded with useful technology.

  • With the $2,300 Premium package you can get gesture control which allows you to wave your hand at the instrument panel to adjust the radio volume, for example. (It takes practice, but I'm getting better at using this function.)
  • A new back-up parking assistance feature takes over steering to maneuver the vehicle out of a parking space, mirroring the path most recently used in the forward direction.

There are many assisted-driving features available, including a system that will relieve the driver in stop-and-go traffic up to 40 mph, and a highway lane-keeping system that will actively steer away from a potential collision.

The bottom line: Built at BMW's huge factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the X6 starts at $64,300 and goes up to $85,650 for the high-performance V8 version, the X6 M50i.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 6 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.