- BMW unveils its first off-road coupe
- Opinions differ at the huge stern
- As a hybrid, the X6 saves 20 percent fuel
- When will the space cruiser from BMW come?
BMW unveils its first off-road coupe
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For a long time BMW watched the storm on the niches almost without doing anything. While Mercedes constantly presented new variants, Bayern remained calm. That is now the end of it: an overdue model offensive begins with the X6. The chances are great – so are the risks.
B.MW gives the X5 more sex appeal and is now following the significantly larger off-road vehicle as the X6, one of the first all-wheel drive coupes on the market. Although the study presented at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt has conventionally four doors that are already planned for the coming year on the mogul slope. But its flat roof in the rear is almost even more sloping than, for example, the Porsche 911.
Although the combination of crouched stature and greater ground clearance is rather unusual, the X6 not only looks good at first glance, but above all familiar. He is not exotic and passes as a fully integrated member of the Bavarian X family. The face, with its broad kidney grille, sharply cut headlights and a strongly contoured bonnet, has almost unchanged the features of the X5.
And the underrun protection made of solid aluminum leaves no doubt about the off-road properties of the X6, which the marketing strategists are celebrating as the world‘s first “Sports Activity Coupe”. From this perspective, the small white light bars in the exterior mirrors, which, together with the so-called corona rings in the headlights, are intended to make the X6 unmistakable, are new.
At the latest when you look at the flank, the family resemblance is almost over again. It is true that the X6 takes over the wheelbase of 2.93 meters from its platform brother, which is now almost coarse in a direct comparison, and the front overhang is also the same length, except for a few millimeters. But the Bavarians have retracted the roof of the X6 by a noticeable seven centimeters and already begin the gentle downturn above the head of the driver, which ends in a rear that is two centimeters longer.
Opinions differ at the huge stern
Opinions are likely to differ on this downside: For some, the huge rear, which is emphasized once again in its width by the high shoulder and the LED lights that are pulled far around the corner, will probably have a deterrent effect. At the first sight of this mountain of sheet metal and strength, others will wish to pat the X6 as quickly as possible.
In Frankfurt, for the time being, the friendly gentlemen from the plant security team will be able to prevent this from happening. Because for the moment the motto is: "Please do not touch." A first seat sample will therefore hardly be possible. The space conditions would certainly be exciting. With a total length of 4.88 meters, there is hardly any lack of knee room, and the trunk under the sloping flap should also be huge. But if BMW does not install the seat system in the rear lower than in the X5, headroom could be a little tight in the back seaters.
Because the X6 is to become the declared athlete among all-wheel drive drivers, there is not only the emphatically dynamic design, but also, as a technical delicacy, a further developed all-wheel drive with "Dynamic Performance Control". It not only distributes the drive torque between the front and rear axles, but also, if necessary, between the right and left rear wheels in order to stabilize the car, for example when cornering. Where the anti-skid ESP catches a car through targeted braking, BMW relies on acceleration and thus naturally guarantees more dynamism. But don’t worry: of course, Bayern only play this game within certain limits and otherwise rely on the electronic guardian angels very traditionally.
BMW has not yet made any statements about the engines of the X6. But it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to imagine all the units of the X5 in the X6 and thus to span the arc from the six-cylinder diesel with 235 hp to the V8 petrol engine with 355 hp. In addition, this time the discussion about an M version could run differently and the X6 could pass as sporty enough for the 507 hp ten-cylinder from the in-house gym.
As a hybrid, the X6 saves 20 percent fuel
The fact that BMW doesn’t say anything about the drive of the production model is mainly due to a second X6 study that is rolling on the stage in Frankfurt and is to be brought into the focus of the technology discussion. There the Bavarians live up to the IAA motto “see what moves tomorrow” and for the first time show their idea of a hybrid drive, which they do not want to steal the show with another arms race in the production model.
The system developed jointly with General Motors, Mercedes and Chrysler is called "ActiveHybrid" and is intended to make it clear that saving works without having to forego fun. For this purpose, the engineers have developed a so-called "two mode" concept, for which the gasoline engine is assisted by two electric motors. They are combined in such a way that “the efficiency advantage can be used over a significantly larger speed range,” explain the developers, without giving any further details. The only thing that can be elicited from them is that they consume around 20 percent less than with a conventional drive.
And that they make the changeover easier for the driver because the “proven character of an internal combustion engine” is retained. When starting itself, the Stromer brings its enormous pulling power into play. But when you accelerate further, the driver hears and feels nothing different than before, according to BMW. This is made possible by a sophisticated system of gears and planetary gear sets, which allow power to be split into two gear ratios (hence the name "two mode") and thus more possibilities for variation in the interaction of the electric car and combustion engine than with any other hybrid concept.
Unlike the competition, BMW has set off the hybrid version, which can also drive purely electrically over short distances, at least as a design study with a few nice gimmicks from the conventional X6. A blue hybrid lettering shines out from the door sills, and when the car drives electrically, the exhaust pipes disappear behind the movable underride guard as evidence of the white vest.
When will the space cruiser from BMW come?
The expansion of the model range is not yet complete with the X6. But soon the Bavarians want to finally show the car, which has been haunting the gazettes as a “space-functional concept” for several years now. According to the current state of affairs in the rumor mill, the Munich response to the success of the MPV will avoid the name van just as vehemently as the mini Clubman doesn’t want to be a station wagon. But it all boils down to a higher version of the five-car touring, which should have movable individual seats and a little more variability in the rear.
On the one hand, new concepts with more space and more variance are sorely needed, because otherwise the dealerships will have to allow many customers to be drawn to the competition in the future as well. But the way into the niches is not without risk: Although the X6 will certainly not fare as badly as the Ssangyong Actyon, which has barely more than 100 registrations in Germany so far, despite all the formal similarity. But there are also more prominent examples of less successful expansion strategies based on SUVs. Mercedes can sing a loud song about this in the R-Class, for example.
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