BMW's unique X6 cross-over Coupe will feature direct-injection, twin-turbo petrol power when launched locally in 2008.
BMW claim the X6 to be a ground breaking design, propagating a new niche within the muddled cross-over market niche.
BMW might call it a cross-over Coupe, yet it is nearer to a hunkered down X5 with a radically sculptured roofline.
Stylish and spacious
Beyond this radically sculptured roofline the rear three-quarter view encapsulates these sportier Coupe styling cues.
Despite the radical styling treatment of the roofline, rear-section luggage and passenger space have remained capacious. X6 is set to seat four passengers with ease and swallow 725-litres of luggage.
Interior design heralds the use of galvanized trim rings on the instrument panel with the same high-quality metal shimmer being boasted on the rotary knobs, the door openers, on the gearshift lever knob, and on the brackets within the air vents.
Kneepads on the centre console offering the driver and front passenger additional stability in city traffic manoeuvres and when driving off-road under jarring condition.
One suspects bouncing up and down kerbs at the local gym or shopping centre is the most use these kneepad will ever get.
X6 will feature Dynamic Performance Control (DPC) as standard. DPC splits drive force between drive wheels on the ear axle, acting like a highly sophisticated limited slip differential of sorts.
With X6 featuring a 40:60 rear-wheel biased drive split in normal conditions, DPC goes further via advanced computer control.
Assisted by an innovative rear differential incorporating two planetary gearsets and two clutch packs, this enables DPC to multiply torque on an individual rear wheel. In effect this helps to steer the vehicle by directing torque to either of the rear wheels.
DPC is in effect on overrun conditions too, when the accelerator is not being depressed. This is made possible by the addition of a planetary gear set and a multiple-plate clutch operated by an electric motor on both output sides of the rear differential.
As a further boon of DPC's intervention, dynamic stability control (DSC) intervenes less frequently. In practice, this means a driver is able to use full drive power and torque much longer than with a conventional system.
DSC now acts on individual wheels or reduces engine power only when the driver really pushes the extreme limits of physical performance.
Beyond DPC X6 carries over much of the vaunted X-range dynamic features such in the guise of intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive technology featuring Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), optional Active Steering and Adaptive Drive.
X6 will feature the latest twin-turbo BMW direct injection petrol and diesel engines. Two petrol engines, a 4.4-litre V8 and the much vaunted 3-litre straight six, as well as a 3-litre turbodiesel, will drive through a six-speed automatic transmission with dynamic paddle-shift gearchange paddles on the steering wheel.
The V8 turbo produces 300kW and an almighty 600Nm of torque from 1750r/min. This awesome torque output is thanks mostly to the twin-turbochargers which are uniquely located in the centre of the cylinder V-section, between the two banks of cylinders.
Performance promises to be epic, BMW quotes figures a 0-100km/h sprint in 5.4 seconds, combined consumption of 12.4l/100km and the obligatory governed 250km/h top speed.
Already a winner of the 2007 world engine of the year award, the turbine smooth 3-litre straight six produces 225kW and 400Nm of torque, enough to see off the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.7 seconds, top 240km/h and return a very reasonable 10.9-litres per 100km.
The petrol twin-turbo engines are able to provide this mix of performance and economy thanks to the use of low-inertia turbochargers and a high-compression ratio made possible by direct-injection, allowing a cooler fuel/air mixture for combustion. This allows the use of a much higher compression ratio than would be possible on a conventional intake-manifold mixture turbocharged engine.
Beyond these twin-turbo petrol engines BMW will also be offering sophisticated direct-injection turbodiesel power in the X6. The venerable 3-litre straight-six turbodiesel will be offered in a 210kW and 580Nm state of tune.
This powerful turbodiesel will be badged 35d and should hit 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds, see a 236km/h top speed and return 8.3-litres per 100km.
With a line-up of sophisticated and powerful turbocharged engines, a dramatic Coupe styling and a dynamic paddle-shift gearbox, BMW could hardly have suspended the X6 with live-axles.
To ensure the large Coupe cross-over retains characteristic BMW handling finesse and balance a double-track control suspension set-up up front ensures maximum tracking stability and minimum lateral forces on the steering. Rear suspension is handled by BMW's patented Integral IV axle.
All models will ride on 19-inch alloys shod with run-flat tyres as standard equipment, ensuring optimal mobility and safety, especially in rural areas.
Safety features are well catered for too in the guise of front and side airbags, as well as curtain-type head protection system airbags at the side, protecting the occupants both front and rear from injury.
X6 will go on sale in South Africa during the middle of 2008. At launch only the BMW X6 xDrive35i and xDrive35d will be avaliable, with a third model, the BMW X6 xDrive50i becoming available in early 2009.