BMW’S FIRST HYBRID…
There’s been much activity behind the scenes at the German brands, and BMW is first out of the traps with a production Hybrid. Known as the X6 ActiveHybrid, BMW’s offering is powered by a 400bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, and two electric motors developing 91bhp and 86bhp. With everything working in unison, the result is 480bhp and 575lb ft of torque. The engine complies with the upcoming Euro V emissions regulations. This not only trumps the newly launched Lexus RX 450h in power, but it also beats its Japanese rival with a higher top speed of 130mph and a zero to 60mph dash of only 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy is said to be improved by 20 per cent, while CO2 emissions are down to 231g/km. This is achieved by connecting the engine to a dual-mode transmission, with twin electric motors, three planetary gearsets, and four multiplate clutches, all channelled through a seven-speed automatic gearbox. At lower speeds, just one of the electric motors is used, but when more power is required, the second motor cuts in alongside the petrol engine.
The X6 ActiveHybrid can operate as a full-hybrid, with the ability to run for 1.6 miles, solely on battery power up to 37mph. BMW’s familiar xDrive all-wheel-drive system is employed, and channels drive between the front and rear axles. The electric motors get their power from a high performance 2.4kWh NiMH battery unit located beneath the boot floor. BMW says that this doesn’t affect the amount of luggage space. The fly in the ointment is that there are currently no plans to sell the X6 ActiveHybrid on the UK market, with BMW UK citing the reason that petrol power in its off-roaders accounts for a tiny percentage of sales, with almost all buyers opting for its diesel derivatives. The hybrid X6 will be exhibited at the Frankfurt motor show for the first time.
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