The Frankfurt Auto Show marks the unveiling of the BMW Concept X6 with ActiveHybrid technology, as well as the global debuts of the new 1-Series Coup and revised 6-Series, led by the all new 635d.
Offering an insight into the possible design of the forthcoming BMW X6, the Concept X6 opens another untapped market segment, the Sports Activity Coup.
The Concept X6 also showcases ActiveHybrid, the world's most advanced hybrid technology and an integral facet of BMW's EfficientDynamics philosophy.
Working alongside Global Hybrid Cooperation partners, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, the BMW ActiveHybrid combines two compact, high-performance electric motors connected by three planetary gear sets, a fixed-transmission ratio gearbox and a high-performance battery to deliver benefits over low and high speed ranges. The result is a reduction in fuel consumption by up to 20% compared to a comparable BMW running on a combustion engine alone.
The two-mode active transmission is based on an ECVT (Electrical Continuously Variable Transmission). The two operating modes, optimized for low and high speeds, are supplemented by fixed transmission ratios. The two power-split ECVT sections allow the drivetrain to run at continuously variable speeds and ensure efficient hybrid functions throughout the operating range of the car.
The Concept X6 ActiveHybrid can be driven on electric power only, on the combustion engine alone, or with a combination of both units. Depending on driving conditions, the electric motors can also be used for both accelerating and regenerative braking. In the case of brake regeneration, the braking forces (created when coasting and when applying the brakes) supply power to the high-voltage energy storage unit to provide an increase in electric power. A similar philosophy has already been seen in BMW's Brake Energy Regeneration systems in many of today's BMW model range.
When the driver needs all available performance to accelerate, one of the two electric motors acts as a generator, converting some of the engine's power into electrical current that is subsequently fed to the battery or the second electric motor. The second electric motor then converts the power coming from the first electric motor or from the battery back into mechanical power for the output driveshaft on the transmission.
Twinned with BMW's benchmark xDrive four-wheel drive system, Dynamic Performance Control spreads drive forces as required in all situations, feeding a varying degree of power when required to the two wheels at the rear.
Dynamic Performance Control is the only system of its kind in the world able to provide its stabilizing effect both under power and with the engine on overrun. As soon as the system detects possible over- or understeer (for example, in a bend) it 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. In the process, Dynamic Performance Control improves driving stability at all speeds, not only ensuring maximum traction when pulling away and precise control when entering a bend, but also higher levels of lateral acceleration and optimum directional stability when accelerating out of the bend.
The Concept X6 is the first car in the world to combine the elegant, flowing lines of a Coup with the safety and convenience of the command driving position in a 4x4. Unashamedly bold in its styling, the Concept X6 takes a number of classic BMW design cues - kidney grilles, double headlamps, Hofmeister kink - and combines them in a dramatic four-door Coup form.
Looked at from the front, the large air intakes positioned on the outer reaches of the front bumper highlight the cooling requirements of the engine and are split horizontally by chrome bars that incorporate round foglamps. The contour of the central air intake also visually widens the car.
The roofline reaches its highest point directly behind the steering wheel and its shape is complemented by one-piece chrome window surrounds as well as the absence of door pillars. On the side panels, a contour line extends from front to rear at the level of the door handles to emphasize the dynamic wedge shape. It is further accentuated by the increasing distance between the shoulder and sill lines towards the rear end, extending all the way to the rear lights. A second character line runs parallel to the side-sills, half-way between the contour and the sill-line.This second character line ends at the large, muscular wheel arches that emphasize the car's robustness.
The exterior mirrors on the BMW Concept X6 are of a similarly innovative design. Made of two pieces with the lower piece finished in body colour, a strip of lights is mounted between the two pieces. This illumination supplements the corona ring day-running lights, now a trademark of BMW design.
The Concept X6 also features uniquely-styled 21" Y-spoke alloy wheels that fill the nearly-square profile wheel arches.