UK [updated 18/12]: Now BMW puts coupe and SUV in the blender

By just-auto.com editorial team | 17 December 2007

One British consumer writer has described the new BMW X6 'Sports Activity Coupé' as an X5 (SUV) minus three seats and reckons it was styled by something large flattening said X5 aft of the B-pillar.

Maybe - but you'd think the German automaker had thoroughly researched the business case before committing to production its new niche vehicle - previewed at the Frankfurt show last September - which, as the PR puff puts it: "heralds the dawn of a new era in motoring. Never before have the elegant flowing lines of a coupĂ© been combined with the powerful presence of a four-wheel drive model."

So, they say, buyers of the from-GBP41,955 (here in the UK) X6 will get "the safety and convenience of a command driving position with the on-road performance of a sports car, all wrapped in the svelte lines of a coupe".

For the first time in BMW's history, an entire model range is turbocharged with the X6 offering four forced induction powerplants. The range flagship is an all-new twin-turbocharged V8 producing 408hp at 5,500rpm and 600Nm of torque from 1,800rpm. Fuel consumption on the EU combined cycle is 22.6mpg and CO2 emissions 299g/km.

BMW said this is the world's first engine in the world to locate twin-turbochargers and a catalytic converter within the vee of the engine (how hot will it get in there, we wonder) - this allowed twin turbos without having to reconfigure the double wishbone front suspension.

Other engines are a three-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol and the proven single and twin-turbo diesels expected to be the volume sellers in the UK. BMW noted that no other non-hybrid SAV/SUV sold here falls into the 'Band F' sub-225g/km CO2 tax bracket like the two diesel models badged xDrive30d (217g/km) and xDrive35d (220g). That keeps them (but not the twin-turbo V8) out of the top Band G which is beginning to attract large annual increases in a government effort to deter buyers from higher-polluting models.

All models have EfficientDynamics which has been well covered following its debut in earlier models but something called Dynamic Performance Control (DPC) makes its world debut on the X6.

According to BMW, DPC works by spreading drive forces from side to side at the two rear wheels as required in a given situation.

It is claimed to be the only system of its kind in the world able to provide its stabilising effect both under power and with the engine on overrun. The system works by detecting possible over- or understeer of the vehicle in, for example, a bend. When this occurs, DPC will vary the distribution of drive forces between the wheels for perfect stability, dynamic traction, and forward motion. This is achieved by transferring additional wheel speed to the outer rear wheel to push the car round the corner rather than applying brake force to the inner wheels as currently happens with traditional stability control systems.

BMW said the four-seat X6 is aimed at a different customer to X3 and X5 owners, "appealing to the driver who enjoys the command driving position, but one that also savours the characteristics of a sports car".

These are not cheap cars so the UK range will have as standard 19-inch alloy wheels, DPC, xDrive four-wheel drive, stability control, xenon headlights, front and rear park distance control, sports suspension and six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddles.

Interior features include part electric seat adjustment, 6.5-inch colour display screen with iDrive controller, two-zone climate control and Isofix child seat attachments in the rear.

UK (RHD) sales start next May with the twin-turbo V8 version following later.