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Genre-busting BMW debuts at Detroit. Image by BMW.

Genre-busting BMW debuts at Detroit
BMW shows its production X6 at the Detroit Auto Show in January and UK prices have been confirmed.
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| All-New Model Preview | 2008 Detroit Auto Show | BMW X6 |

It's been seen in 'concept' guise at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but visitors to the Detroit Auto Show in January will be the first to see BMW's genre-busting 'Sports Activity Coupé' in production guise. Sharing much of its underpinnings with BMW's hugely successful X5, the X6 turns SUV convention on its head; it featuring a sleeker coupé-style body rather than the more usual two-box functional cabin. Unusually, and despite its coupé designation, it's a five-door, but then Sports Activity Hatchback doesn't sound quite so appealing; does it?

Whatever the nomenclature there's no denying that the BMW X6 is an appealing looking machine. It's certain to drive well too, as it features the same intelligent XDrive four-wheel drive system that makes BMW's other X cars so enjoyable to drive on the road. In addition to the already proven transmission technology BMW is adding Dynamic Performance Control to the X6's driving arsenal. This computer-controlled system helps steer the X6 by directing torque to either of the rear wheels. BMW is claiming the system as a world first that not only enhances the car's dynamic responses, but makes it safer, too.

At the US show BMW will debut the new X6 with a pair of petrol engines. The first, the familiar 3.0-litre in-line twin-turbo six-cylinder unit offers 301bhp and 300lb.ft of torque, while a new twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 offers 402bhp and 450lb.ft of torque. BMW has managed to squeeze the V8's turbochargers into the V channel between the cylinders to make it as compact as possible - expect it to feature on the 5 and 6 Series in time. Performance for the V8 is pretty extraordinary, managing the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.4 seconds and easily straining at its 155mph electronic limiter. The 3.0-litre 'six reaches 62mph in 6.7 seconds and offers a top speed of around 149mph. Official combined fuel consumption and emissions figures for the V8 is 22.6mpg and 299g/km, the six-cylinder turbo managing 25.9mpg and 262g/km.

Impressive as the petrol engine's performance are those fuel consumption and emissions figures will ensure the turbodiesels are a bigger hit in Europe. They're not at the show in the US, but the launch line-up of diesels will consist of BMW's acclaimed 3.0-litre six-cylinder in both single and twin-turbo guise The entry-level diesel develops 231bhp and 383lb.ft of torque, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre turbodiesel achieving 282bhp and 427lb.ft. That's enough to enable the somewhat incongruously titled X6 xDrive30d reach 62mph in 8.0 seconds and a maximum of 137mph. The X6 xDrive35d scampers to 62mph in 6.9 seconds and a maximum of 147mph. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures for the diesels are more palatable at 34.4mpg and 217g/km and 34.0mpg and 220g/km, respectively.

Assisting those fuel consumption figures is the standard fitting of BMW's EfficientDynamics system, it scavenging power from regenerative brakes and using a clever intelligent alternator and low-rolling resistance tyres to reduce consumption and emissions. A hybrid is also due to join the range in the future. But the X6 isn't really about planet-hugging; it's an indulgent car for drivers wanting the hitherto unavailable mix of coupé-like styling combined with SUV stance and BMW's remarkable driving dynamics.

Inside, the X6 underlines its driver focus with all models coming with wheel-mounted paddle-shifters for the six-speed automatic transmissions. The cabin also only offers individual seating for four. The US unveil is significant, America inevitably the largest market for BMW's new model. The UK is certain to be a big market, too. Launched here in May in six-cylinder guises with prices ranging from £41,995 to £44,625, the V8 will join the line-up later, its price announced nearer its on-sale date.

Kyle Fortune - 17 Dec 2007

2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.2008 BMW X6. Image by Kyle Fortune.

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2008 BMW X6. Image by BMW.

2008 BMW X6. Image by BMW.

2008 BMW X6. Image by BMW.

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