First Drive: 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6 Page 2

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2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6, Bal Harbour, Florida

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6, Bal Harbour, Florida

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Overall, BMW quotes fuel efficiency 20 percent better than a non-hybrid X6 with the same V8 engine and equivalent performance. The EPA rates the 2010 ActiveHybrid X6 at 17 mpg city / 19 mpg highway, whereas the standard X6 xDrive 50i comes in at 13 mpg city / 18 mpg highway.

The six-cylinder X6 xDrive 35i gets 15 mpg city / 21 mpg highway, but it's slower than the V8 models, and its combined mileage of 17 mpg is still less than the hybrid's combined 18 mpg rating.

Looks

The X6 is somewhat polarizing; people either love it or hate it. It's like few other cars on the road, that's for sure.

While it shares much of its understructure--and a factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina--with its X5 sport-utility sibling, the profile of the X6 is distinctly different.

BMW calls it a "sports activity coupe," which translates to SUV ride height and all-wheel-drive capability, but with only four seats, a fastback roof line, and far less cargo capacity.

We initially didn't like the X6, and plenty of people still feel that way. But after spending a day with the ActiveHybrid X6, either the shape is growing on us or we've simply gotten over the shock.

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6

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Ride and Handling

In TheCarConnection's review of the BMW X6 line, we lauded the "handling magic" created by the Dynamic Performance Control system. It integrates stability control into the all-wheel-drive control, sending varying amounts of power to each wheel to help with stability.

That system is carried over unchanged into the ActiveHybrid X6, which remains a smooth-riding and tenaciously grippy vehicle. Especially, as our review said, for a vehicle that's "still a big, heavy SUV."

And the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6 is heavier yet, with the battery pack, transmission, and power electronics imposing a weight penalty of more than 400 pounds.  The total curb weight listed by the maker is 5,688 pounds, or almost 3 tons.

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6

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Equipment

The 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6 is priced at the top of the X6 range, with a base price of $88,900 plus a mandatory $825 destination charge totaling $89,725 before any options.

While that's more than $20K higher than the base X6 xDrive 5.0i, BMW's Tom Salkowsky pointed out that the typical X6 sells with enough options to take it to $80,000.

The 2010 ActiveHybrid X6 comes with roughly 20 standard features that cost extra on non-hybrid X6 models, including leather seats and trim, heated seats, four-zone climate control, heads-up display, rear-view camera, auto-closing doors and power tailgate, and 20-inch 'Aero' wheels.

A heavy hand on the list of 10 different options could push the price over $95,000. They include active ventilated seats, a rear-seat entertainment package, and an enhanced sound system. Sport seats and 19-inch wheels with all-season tires are no-cost options.

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6, Bal Harbour, Florida

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6, Bal Harbour, Florida

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Miscellaneous

Fans of BMW's launch control mode, which provides maximum acceleration for a driver who puts the X6 into 'Sport' mode, brakes to keep the car stationary, and then revs the engine before releasing the brake, will be pleased to know it's present on the X6 ActiveHybrid too.

Conclusion

It's far from inexpensive, but BMW has managed something almost no other maker can claim: The company has built a hybrid vehicle, with the far better fuel efficiency that entails, that doesn't "feel" or behave like a stereotypical hybrid.

While the market has been skeptical of performance hybrids in the past--think the short-lived Honda Accord Hybrid--we suspect BMW will find buyers for the small numbers of the ActiveHybrid X6 that they're likely to build.

High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided vehicle to produce this hands-on road test. The manufacturer also provided airfare, lodging, and meals during the course of this test.


 
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