BMW X6 hybrid (2009) spy photos | CAR Magazine

BMW X6 hybrid (2009) spy photos

Published: 04 July 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

BMW is preparing the antidote to SUV-haters everywhere. Our car spies have snapped hybrid versions of the X6 testing in the USA with a new bonnet that marks out this ‘green’ car. Due in 2009, the BMW shares technology jointly developed with Mercedes, GM and Chrysler.

Right, so this BMW X6 hybrid will be green?

Green-er. While BMW got a jump on the opposition with its Efficient Dynamics technology for its four-cylinder cars, the Munich manufacturer deems it necessary to have hybrid technology in its bigger SUVs and limos.

That means this X6 will come with a two-mode hybrid system that features two electric motors housed in the hybrid transmission. This transmission means the X6 can run on electric power only. It also allows start-stop running in traffic, boosts the engine under acceleration and recovers energy under braking. 

Click ‘Next’ below to read more about the BMW X6 hybrid

What engine is under that humped bonnet?

The engine itself is expected to be BMW’s 3.0-litre petrol six and the hybrid drivetrain should deliver fuel consumption savings of around 20 percent compared to the regular petrol X6.

By way of comparison Mercedes is claiming its ML450 Hybrid, with a V6 engine and identical green tech, will produce 316bhp and 354lb ft while doing 36.7mpg and producing 185g/km.

Those power and torque figures better BMW’s current twin-turbo X6 35i. Compared to the cleanest and most frugal X6, the 3.0d, the Merc is also comfortably ahead as the BMW does 34.4mpg and produces 217g/km. But wiith BMW’s engine know-how expect the hybrid X6 to better Mercedes’ figures.

What about cosmetic changes so everyone knows I’m driving a hybrid?

There aren’t many obvious exterior changes on the X6s in our spy photos, with the new humped bonnet being the only obvious change. Expect a few badges but nothing as comprehensive as the X6 ActiveHybrid concept’s moveable bodywork or the X5 Vision EfficientDynamic’s solar panel roof and dimpled alloy wheels.

The BMW X6 hybrid is expected to debut at the 2009 Detroit motor show. Although a BMW insider told CAR Online there were no plans for a right-hand drive model – as with the hydrogen-powered 7-series – it would be surprising if the X6 wasn’t built for the UK market, and that the same tech also appeared on the X5.

Another sop to lure buyers into ‘green’ cars or will BMW’s prowess with engines mean it’ll produce a remarkable hybrid SUV? Click ‘Add your comment below’ and have your say.

By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large