What it Is
new cars: 2008 BMW X6 Preview – In BMW lingo, it’s a Sport Activity Coupe, but most people will probably call it a funny looking SUV. The idea is to combine the driving dynamics of a 6 Series with the X Series-styled body done as a coupe with four doors. It comes in two models, xDrive50i and the xDrive35i, both of which are all-wheel drive. The X6 introduces a new driving system that the automaker calls Dynamic Performance Control. The X6 is scheduled to go on sale in the spring.Why it Matters
It will be BMW’s third vehicle in the new “It” segment, crossovers. While Porsche’s Cayenne possesses more off-road capability, BMW’s X5 rules the road. The X6 continues that direction, and according to the automaker, improves the driving dynamics. For some fans of the Roundel, it's a further dilution of the brand and they often say buyers only pick an X to get the BMW logo in their driveways. To whatever extent that is true, it is also true of most every luxury brand.
What’s Under the Hood
The X6 comes with either a new 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 in the xDrive50i, or a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, inline six-cylinder in the xDrive35i. The V8 produces 400 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque, while the V6 serves up 300 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of twist. Power is fed through a six-speed automatic transmission with a sport shift mode that BMW says has been enhanced. New and introduced on the X6 is a system BMW calls Dynamic Performance Control that works with the all-wheel drive system to distribute power to the wheels based on driving conditions, including sensing under or oversteer and applying power to correct the driving line. The system can also multiply torque to a rear wheel to control yaw. All of these adjustments are supposed to go unnoticed by the driver, and the system is designed to allow driving up to the limits without intervention. Dynamic Performance Control is tied in with stability and traction control systems.
What it Looks Like
Unmistakably BMW and very much like the X5 and X3, except with a sloping rear roof line. Detractors are already chiming in with criticism. However, it also looks like a Dakar Rally race truck, which lends an element of cool brawn. The immense 21-inch wheels and fat wheel arches only serve to amplify the bruiser look.
The X6 interior is very much like other X-series, although there are some additions. A standard sport steering wheel with paddle shifters is a first; there are kneepads on each side of the center console; and individual rear sport seats separated by a center console. BMW doesn’t give an actual figure for rear head room, which several observers think will be on the cramped side, but the automaker does say rear head room “is unusually generous for a coupe.” That's a nice way of saying that people over six-feet tall will bump their heads. While it's fairly easy to get into the back seat, getting out is awkward because the rear door doesn't open very far. Let's hope they remedy that for production.
What BMW Says
“The world's first Sports Activity Coupe from BMW once again sets the standard in a market segment characterized by particularly dynamic growth And at the same time the BMW X6, through its concept and drive technology, clearly proves and confirms the exceptional innovative power of Germany's premium carmaker.”
What We Think
It’s another love it or hate it design from the Haus von Bangle. Regardless of that, people will buy it, for better or worse, because it has the Roundel logo, possesses BMW performance and will be available with more features than trees by the Nurburgring. It is yet another new vehicle with more technology than an Apollo space capsule and undoubtedly it will be available with the usual array of BMW options.
By Bob Beamesderfer
MyRide Road Test Editor
Photo Credit: Staff