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Jim Holder
14 January 2008


Last September, the BMW X6 concept car was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show. Fast forward four months, and the rakish lines of the production car are gracing the Detroit motor show.

It's certainly eye-catching, although not everyone will find favour the X6's styling or Germanic description as a 'Sports Activity Coupe', which is more mystifying than informative.

Whatever you think, it certainly takes the 4x4-coupe crossover idea to extremes, blurring the line between a sports car and 4x4 like never before.

At launch, there will be two petrol and two diesel engines - but the hybrid drivetrain unveiled as a concept in Frankfurt and on show again in Detroit is tipped to be available in 2009.

The range-topping 404bhp 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine accelerates the X6 from 0-62mph in a rapid 5.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph. The 302bhp 3.0-litre unit propels the car from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 149mph.

There are two diesels - the most powerful is a 282bhp 3.0-litre that powers the X6 from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds and has a top speed of 146mph. A less powerful version of the same engine produces 232bhp. It takes the car from 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 130mph.

All cars are fitted with BMW's Brake Energy Regeneration system, which uses energy stored when braking to charge the car's battery, meaning it doesn't have to use power generated by the engine to recharge. This increases fuel economy and lowers emissions.

The X6 comes with BMW's Intelligent xDrive system as standard, which constantly alters power between the front and rear wheels to ensure maximum acceleration.

Other driving aids include systems to control traction, stability, trailer stability, hill descents and braking when cornering, and there's also a tyre defect indicator.

A quirky rear seat layout separates each passenger with a centre console. They get a seat each, benefiting from side support, rather than sitting on a bench.

In addition, the X6 is the only X-series to feature a sports steering wheel with semi-automatic gearshift paddles as standard.

Boot space is 570 litres with the rear seats up - enough for four golf bags, says BMW - or 1450 litres with the seats lowered.

Safety equipment includes six airbags, seat-belt pre-tensioners and crash-activated headrests.

The car, which will go on sale from this summer from around 43,000, will sit in BMW's range between the 6 Series coupe and the X5 4x4, whose platform and engines it shares.