2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6  (Source: Motor Trend)

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6  (Source: Motor Trend)

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6  (Source: Motor Trend)

Under the hood of the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6  (Source: Motor Trend)
Hybrid SUV will also offer competitive fuel economy for its class

A growing trend among luxury car makers like BMW, Ferrari, and Mercedes is to leverage hybrid platforms not only for better fuel economy, but also to bump up performance.  A prime example of this dual-goal philosophy is BMW's new 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6.  Soon to be released, this beastly hybrid will feature the sweet performance that BMW's customers demand, while gaining ground on fuel economy.

The vehicle starts with BMW's powerful, but fuel-hungry twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, which provides 400 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque.  They then load in hybrid electronics, a 2.4 kWh battery, and two electric motors, which crank out 91 and 86 hp (and 192, 206 lb-ft torque, respectively).  Altogether this yields a system power of 485 hp, with a peak torque of 575 lb-ft to drive the approximately 5,700 pound vehicle. 

Compared to the 2010 BMW X6 xDrive50i (15 mpg combined) and the BMW X6 xDriveM (14 mpg combined), the hybrid variant earns a loftier 18 mpg.  In performance, the hybrid manages to retain much of the performance of its gasoline-only rivals.  According to official estimates, it can accelerate from  0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 5.6 seconds, versus 5.4 seconds for the xDrive50i and 4.7 seconds for the xDriveM (though the hybrid may be even more competitive when released -- Motor Trend was able to accelerate 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds).

The vehicle will be BMW's first to use the two-mode CVT transmission jointly developed with GM and-then DaimlerChrysler.  The system previously appeared in the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen hybrids (no longer being produced) and will also be used in the upcoming Mercedes-Benz ML450 hybrid.  It also is used in GM's current line of hybrid trucks and SUVs.

Whereas GM and Chrysler's takes on the dual-mode system used three planetary gearsets for four total fixed gear ratios, the BMW hybrid uses 3 additional "virtual" ratios, to transform the transmission into a seven speed -- which gives it a more dynamic performance.  Shifting is manumatic, performed by steering-wheel-mounted paddles or the console shifter.

The vehicle can drive in all-electric mode for at least 1.6 miles and at speeds of up to 37 mph.  Automobile claims that it can go 2.5 miles in electric mode.  Four drive modes in total are available -- the aforementioned e-mode, the e-boost mode, used at higher speeds to boost the combustion engine, the power generation/recharge mode (which uses braking to regenerate the battery power, like most hybrids), and a drive mode which pushes the combustion and electric motors to their max.

The 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid X6 is packing a wealth of high tech features and performance, but comes with wallet-busting estimated price of $89,755 according to Car and Driver

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