It is pretty much normal by now for the BMW X6 Hybrid to be spotted in Spartanburg, SC. With the X6 Hybrid version in the final testing stages and with a projected launch date of September, 2009, BMW has no reason to hide the car behind those funky camouflages.
The body style is almost identical to the petrol versions, except the slightly larger M3-style bonnet. The obvious changes appear under the hood, where a two mode hybrid system developed by a consortium formed of BMW, GM, Daimler and Chrysler, will power the X6 ActiveHybrid.
BMW is using a nickel metal hydride battery for the initial applications and unlike the other car manufacturers, the BMW hybrid engine will not be using cylinder deactivation.
I recall a discussion I had in the past with a BMW engineer who confirmed that they haven’t seen a significant improvement in efficiency with cylinder deactivation compared to the direct injection and variable valve timing found in their 4.4L turbocharged V8.
What we couldn’t confirm so far was the possibility of using the start/stop technology found in the BMW 7 Series Hybrid. We do know that the technology is widely used by BMW in Europe, but mostly found in the smaller vehicles.
Once again that great photos were brought to us by Palbay who also shared a funny story with us. Apparently the X6’s driver could have been a BMW executive from outside the U.S since he made several wrong turns getting to the test track and he was wearing a business suit, not a common thing for the BMW regular test engineers.