Detroit 2008: BMW unwraps the production X6
Dropping the "concept" descriptor that it carried in Frankfurt, the BMW X6 was just revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in full production trim. Not surprisingly, it's almost identical to what we saw in Frankfurt, with a sharply-raked backlight and hatchback replacing the squared-off rump of the X5. BMW likes to describe it as a blend between a coupe and a crossover, which leads us to ask - is it possible to crossover from something that's already a crossover? Does this mean that it's been double-crossed? The mind boggles.
Follow the jump for our first impression...
The interior appointments are certainly pleasant enough, with plenty of leather, wood and metalized trim. The rear seating, however, is best described as "intimate". While there is enough room, the passengers better at least on speaking terms with each other. Ingress into the second row is OK, but we saw several people struggle to exit the vehicle. Hey, those backseaters aren't paying for the vehicle, so screw 'em.
Under the hood lies BMw's new 4.4L twin-turbo V8, which also sports direct injection for good measure. Horsepower will officially be rated at 407 ponies, with 450 lb-ft of torque available between 1750 and 4500 RPM. Fuel consumption is claimed to be "best in segment" (if that segment consists of porky V8 SUVs). We're on the hunt for a cutaway of this engine so we can get some additional insight as to how it all works.
A six-speed automatic transmission is responsible for picking the appropriate ratio, and given the dead-flat torque curve, we're guessing that the transmission probably doesn't have to be too fussy with the gear selection. The driver can also manually select the desired gear via buttons on the steering wheel, but simply mashing the go pedal and hanging on tight probably produces better results.
With the clumsy "xDrive" model nomenclature comes Dynamic Performance Control, which is BMW's rear axle torque vectoring system. Unlike traditional stability-control systems that work by applying individual brakes (and thus subtract torque from a given wheel), this system supplies additional torque to individual drive wheels via a complex network of clutchpacks and planetary gears in the rear differential. We've yet to drive a vehicle of this mass with such a system, but according to what we've heard, it has the effect of making a large car feel much smaller.
Regardless of what we think of the marketing behind this hatchback, it still probably handles better than most manufacturers' so-called "sport sedans", and so BMW buyers will likely feel right at home - even if it does look to us a bit like a fancy Dodge Caliber.
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