Sam Philip13 August 2009

BMW X6 hybrid unleashed

World’s most powerful hybrid is on its way to Frankfurt. Does it make any sense at all?

BMW X6

See more X6 and 7-Series hybrid pics

BMW has just announced the most powerful hybrid ever: the X6 ActiveHybrid.

It’ll be formally unveiled at the Frankfurt show in September, and it’s a monster: 480bhp and 575lb ft of torque courtesy of BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 running along a pair of electric motors putting out 91bhp and 86bhp. To put that into perspective, that’s considerably over three times the power output of the Toyota Prius.

The X6 ActiveHybrid can run on battery power alone, but not for long: it’ll cover 1.6 miles at 37mph before requiring the assistance of the engine.

With the petrol and electric motors working in hybrid, the X6 will hit 60mph in an impressive 5.6 seconds – just 0.2 seconds slower than the non-hybrid 4.4-litre V8.

BMW says it will return consumption figures of 28.5mpg – around 20 per cent better than the non-hybrid – and emit 231g/km of CO2, a drop of 23 per cent.

The hybrid will be distinguished from the stock X6 by that ‘powerdome’ bonnet and metallic blue paintjob, which is unique to the hybrid.

There are a couple of bits of not-so-good news. One, as you’d expect, is the weight: the X6 ActiveHybrid tips the scales at 2,450kg, a full 185kg heavier than its all-petrol cousin.

Second, we won’t see it in the UK. BMW says the cost of re-engineering the X6 hybrid for right-hand drive would be too high: 85 per cent of X6s sold in Britain are diesel powered, so the market is too limited at present.

BMW has also announced that a 7-Series hybrid will also be unveiled in Frankfurt. Like the X6 hybrid, the petrol power will come from BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8. But unlike the X6, the hybrid 7 features just a single electric motor and will not be capable of running on battery power alone.

It’ll hit 62mph in just 4.9 seconds, return 29.1mpg and emit 219g/km of CO2. Watch out, Lexus LS600h

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