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LA 2009: BMW X6 ActiveHybrid Makes M Power, Passable Fuel Economy


The seconds of two production hybrids to get their North American debut at the LA Auto Show, the X6 ActiveHybrid joins the ActiveHybrid 7 in using the new green technology to make ridiculous amounts of power with modest (very modest) improvements in fuel consumption. In fact, BMW's engineers have chosen to exploit hybrid technology to develop a vehicle that sits, performance wise, half way between the current twin-turbo V8 model and the new X6 M.

Using a 400hp twin-turbocharged V8 engine from the X6 and combining it with two electric motors, the X6 hybrid achieves a massive 480-hp and 575 ft-lbs of torque, enabling it to hit 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. By comparison the X6 M makes just 500 ft-lbs of torque. It, however, can hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.

As a two-mode hybrid system, the X6 ActiveHybrid will be able to travel on pure electric power up to a speed of 37 mph. Unfortunately it can't drive on electric power long, just 1.6 miles at speeds up to 37mph, before the gasoline engine kicks in.

Interestingly the X6 ActiveHybrid makes use of a 7-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted by the driver. BMW says the tranny is "based on" a CVT transmission and works in two separate modes. There is one mode for around town where one electric motor operates and when the speed is increase or more power is called for the second electric motor kicks in an engages the gasoline engine. That second electric motor then powers the vehicle's electric systems (power steering, radio, etc.).

When the hybrid crossover debuted in Frankfurt BMW claimed a fuel-economy rating of around 23.8 mpg (average) on the European cycle. The EPA's numbers aren't so impressive, at just 17/19 mpg (city/highway), which is only slightly better than the V8's 13/18 mpg rating.

The X6 ActiveHybrid is priced from $89,775.

More: LA 2009: Saab 9-5 North American Debut Obscured by Brand's Instability on AutoGuide.com

For more coverage of the 2009 LA Auto Show visit AutoGuide.com
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