2009 BMW Concept X6 and Concept X6 ActiveHybrid Preview
By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
- The first "Sports Activity Coupe"
- Based on the 5 Series platform
- Four-passenger seating
- Offering gasoline and hybrid powerplants
- ActiveHybrid model is 20 percent more fuel efficient
- First to offer Dynamic Performance Control
- Unique two-mode hybrid transmission
BMW introduced their first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)-designated the X5-in 1999. Based on the 5 Series platform, and sharing many of the mechanicals and electronics, the X5 was offered with standard all-wheel drive and a choice of 6- or 8-cylinder power. Unlike other sport utility vehicles of the time, the 5-passenger BMW X5 was designed to favor sporting road use with limited off-road intentions. The X5 was a success, encouraging Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen to follow with their own luxury sporty utility vehicles.
BMW calls its Concept X6 and the Concept X6 ActiveHybrid "Sports Activity Coupes," and follows that it is the first of its kind to market. Larger and longer than the X5, but seating only 4 occupants (the current X5 offers seating for up to 7), the X6 is designed to offer an even higher level of on-road sport, luxury and elegances.
BMW calls the X6 the world's first "Sports Activity Coupe." It is "the most sporting and dynamic interpretation of a BMW X model," with emphasis on "the car's active driving potential." The design of the X6 presents a very clear BMW DNA. The short overhang, hood, and roofline silhouette appear very similar to that of the X5 up to the B-pillar. At that point, the greenhouse plunges down, coupe-like, as the low-slung roof meets the integrated rear spoiler at the thick D-pillar. The rear overhang is long, emphasizing its sporty and sleek intentions.
The vehicle's stance is wide and muscular, with generous ground clearance and extra-large wheel arches. From the front, the extra-wide BMW kidney grille over a lower skidplate implies power. This impression is reinforced by the large air intakes on each side of the front fender, and the flowing contours that continue over the hood. The rear of the X6 finds the exhaust tailpipes located wide to each side, pushed outward by a prominent metal skidplate, accentuating the wide track of the vehicle. Chrome-colored slats, aluminum trim, and carefully integrated lighting complete the body design.
Although gasoline powertrain configurations have not been officially announced, the X6 is expected to follow closely the engine offerings of the current X5. These include a 3.0-liter inline-6 rated at 260 hp and a 4.8-liter V-8 rated at 350 hp. The 300-hp, twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 currently available in the 5 Series may replace the normally aspirated 6-cylinder in production.
A new innovation from BMW, and first introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Concept X6 ActiveHybrid replaces the conventional combustion powerplant in the X6 with a hybrid system. Utilizing a combustion engine and two high-performance electric motors, it is credited with the ability to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.
The X6 ActiveHybrid can operate on electric power only, on the combustion engine only, or a combination of both powerplants. The dual electric motors may be used for acceleration or for regenerative application of the brakes during deceleration, sending electric power back to the high-volt energy storage unit for additional electric power. Carefully managing the various power usages and maintaining the battery at a high charge level lets BMW use the electric motors "to first, give the car incomparable spontaneity and a direct response and, second, to significantly reduce fuel consumption." Economy follows performance.
All X6 models will be equipped with xDrive, BMW's permanent all-wheel-drive system. Dynamic Performance Control, unique to the X6, works in conjunction with xDrive to provide directional stability and precision under all driving conditions.
The BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid features a two-mode active transmission. Utilizing electronics, the transmission is able to operate in two different settings: the first for starting from a standstill and low speeds, the second for higher speeds. Based on an electrical continuously variable transmission (ECVT), the innovative transmission allows the drivetrain to run at continuously variable speeds while ensuring efficiency throughout the complete operating range of the vehicle. Unlike conventional hybrid transmissions, the two-mode transmission is more compact and lightweight-increasing efficiency while improving the X6's driving and handling dynamics.
Video of the BMW X6 Active Hybrid Concept
Read a Preview of the 2009 BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe
Ratings and details for all BMW models
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