One-of-a-kind design; styling details; performance; handling of a smaller, lighter vehicle; improved emissions and fuel-efficiency of hybrid model; available technology features
BMW's distinct 'Sports Activity Coupe' was introduced last year and enters its second year adding a new ActiveHybrid X6 model, a 2-mode gasoline-electric full hybrid that promises brisk acceleration yet dramatically reduced emissions and improved fuel economy.
The BMW X6 is a niche model, mixing the attributes of a modern crossover SUV with the edgy, curvaceous styling of a sports coupe. Versus other crossover SUVs, the X6 compromises some utility and space, but in return you get a much more rakish, coupe-like and refreshingly different vehicle. Surprisingly, the X6 handles like a lower, lighter vehicle. Plus, it is stylish and very technologically advanced.
The X6 is offered in two different non-hybrid models--the xDrive 35i and xDrive 50i. Powering the 35i is a 306-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder engine, while the xDrive 50i gets a 400-hp, 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. On both of these models, all-wheel drive comes standard and a 6-speed automatic transmission handles gear-change duties.
With either engine, the X6 performs well; it can dash to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds with the 6-cylinder and 5.3 seconds with the V8; the 6-speed automatic comes with steering-wheel paddle-shifters that can deliver shifts at the driver's whim when taking on curvy roads. Because of the twin-turbo layout, peak torque is produced low in the rev range, which allows quick launches and seemingly effortless passing.
The X6 handles much better than other vehicles of its hefty weight thanks to a system called Dynamic Performance Control, which interfaces with the stability control system and helps direct power to the wheels with the best traction--whether on slippery roads or during high-performance driving. In normal situations the xDrive all-wheel drive system sends 60 percent of power to the rear wheels but it can send more to whichever wheels can gain traction. The available Active Steering system also reacts with Dynamic Performance Control to assist in emergency maneuvers. Also aiding handling is a special suspension geometry, with double wishbones in front and integral axle design in back.
New to the X6 lineup is the ActiveHybrid X6, which incorporates a full hybrid system--meaning it can run on either the gasoline engine, an electric motor system at low speeds or both power sources. In the system, a twin-turbocharged V8 engine plus twin electric motors make a combined maximum power output of 480 horsepower, with peak torque reaching a peak of 575 pound-feet. Both power sources run through planetary gear sets, then power is sent through a 7-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, while regenerative braking helps keep the nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack--located under the cargo floor--charged.
Although fuel economy figured weren't yet release at the time of publication, the ActiveHybrid is expected to achieve 20-percent higher fuel economy ratings versus the xDrive 35i. X6 has a fuel economy rating of 12 mpg city, 17 highway for the 50i, 15/20 with the 35i.
Although the X6's profile isn't the most passenger or cargo friendly, clever interior design makes the most of it. Rear headroom is just adequate for adults, and the cargo area has 25.6 cubic feet of space with a folding cover. The back seats do fold forward, with the backrests tucking neatly into place, to increase cargo space. Overall, the instrument panel and driving position are much like those in BMW's X3 and X5 SUVs, with attractive trims and surfaces and the iDrive controller accessing most climate control and audio functions.
All of the X6 models come with a host of high-tech safety features including adaptive tail lamps, side airbags and head-protecting curtain bags, along with crash-activated headrests.
The 2010 X6 comes well-equipped as a luxury vehicle, but the real excitement arrives with the options list. It includes items like high-end audio, Bluetooth hands-free calling, BMW Assist with speech recognition, a navigation system, active ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, headlight washers, four-zone climate control, a rear entertainment system, a head-up display, and opulent-looking trims such as dark bamboo wood.
Vehicle Price: 89,875.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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