BMW's ActiveHybrid X6 is one of the most powerful hybrid vehicles ever produced.  Outputting a combined 480 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque, this a hybrid to be reckoned with.  Its 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds from a vehicle weighing in at 5,700 lb is definitely astonishing, but does this vehicle live up to its gasoline powered counterparts?Car and Driver magazine had a chance to briefly test drive the all new BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and posted a preview in the February 2010 issue.  In short, they are less than thrilled with the hybrid crossover SUV.  Continuing reading for the highs and lows garnished from their brief preview drive.

The ActiveHybrid X6 boasts a 4.4 liter twin turbocharged V8 engine.  The hybrid side is powered by a nickel met hydride battery and a CVT transmission.  The hybrid feels very similar to the non-hybrid X6 model, but their are some drawbacks.

The hybrid X6 is quick, but its added weight slightly detracts from the overall performance numbers.  It's slower to 60 than the non-hybrid version and the hybrid setup doesn't improve real world fuel mileage much.  The hybrid returns an EPA estimated 17 mpg city 19 mpg highway while the non-hybrid returns 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.

The ActiveHybrid X6 shows its biggest mileage improvement in inner city stop and go driving where it can capably move under electric power alone for short periods of time.  The electric only mode can provide up to 1.6 miles of range at speeds up to 37mph.  However, the other components specific to the hybrid version draw criticism.  As Car and Driver said, "Jumping on the accelerator, however, occasionally caused the powertrain to pause while the computers decided how to route all the juice.  The electric steering also was lighter than we'd prefer and the regenerative brakes felt rubbery and isolated."

In closing the reviewer acknowledges that the ActiveHybrid X6 is one of the "best-driving full hybrids", but notes that its $12,000 premium over the non-hybrid version is a hefty fee to pay.  For the $90,000 price tag, buyers could opt for the M version with 555 hp, but that version only returns 12 mpg city 17 mpg highway.

Buyers of performance SUVs such as the X6 lineup probably show little concern over saving a few mpgs, but the ActiveHybrid X6 fills the niche for those that do.

Source:  Car and Driver Magazine  February 2010