The world’s most powerful hybrid SUV will make its premier at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in exactly a month. BMW’s ActiveHybrid X6 has a V8 petrol engine with two turbos which makes 300kW (408hp). At the same time supplementary power is harnessed through two electric motors which deliver 63kW (86hp) and 67kW (91hp) respectively. Together the entire system makes 357kW (485hp) and 780Nm of torque. Performance is claimed to be a swift 5.6 seconds for the 0 – 100km/h with top speed electronically pegged at 236km/h and 250km/h with the Sports Pack fitted.
Driving the four wheels through the xDrive AWD system is a 7-speed automatic gearbox based on ECVT (electronic continuously variable transmission) architecture. It has four clutches and can, as expected of a BMW, be changed “manually” by the driver.
Of course hybrids are all about saving fuel so BMW says the vehicle will save up to 20% in petrol use compared to a similarly-powered all-petrol SUV (SAV, sorry – no, Coupe SAV).
Up to 2.5km can be travelled in full electric mode without using fossil fuel, at a speed of up to 60km/h. While this may appear paltry, when sitting in traffic like Jozi traffic this can possibly be more, leading to fuller tanks at the end of the working week. A rating of 9.9 litres per 100km has been achieved, along with a C02 emissions figure of 231g/km.
Because this is a different car to the recently-launched xDrive50i, “there is no starter, alternator, or belt drive for the air-conditioning compressor and hydraulic pump. The dual-circuit cooling system has been modified for all-electric operation.”
Most new hybrids are coming out with lithium-ion battery technology but the X6 has stuck to the old technology of NiMH batteries which are sitting underneath the floor. Kinetic energy is captured when the car brakes, converted to electrical energy and stored in the battery pack.
Standard wheels are 20-inch light-alloy types that are unique to the ActiveHybrid X6. If you look at the bonnet you’ll notice the power dome that lets the car stand out from others in the range. The suspension is also tuned for the hybrid setup.
Most of the rest of the car is pretty much the same as the normal X6. That means things like Head Up Display, iDrive, cruise control, park distance control and an 80GB satellite navigation system with a music storage facility.