At the Great Designs in Steel seminar in Livonia, MI, the Research and Development team behind the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe was selected as the winner of the annual Automotive Excellence Award.
The criteria used for this award was “cost-effective use of ultra high-strength steels that meet new market demands for safety, fuel efficiency and emission standards”.
The idea behind Steel Automotive Excellence Award is to recognize individuals or teams who significant contributions to the advancement of steel in the automotive marketplace. Candidates were rated in several categories, including: implementation in production; overall contribution to the advancement of steel; challenges and benefits associated with cost, mass reduction and performance; replacement of competitive materials; and structural performance and efficiency.
So why was the controversial BMW X6 chosen for this award? Ron Krupitzer, vice president of automotive applications for AISI’s SMDI, says that “The BMW X6 utilizes steel solutions that add to its unique, sporty design and meet new crash-test requirements, without sacrificing safety or increasing its weight. BMW’s innovative use of ultra high-strength steel technologies has resulted in a vehicle that is safe, lightweight, environmentally friendly and offers the best fuel economy in its class.”
BMW uses unique processing technologies and several complex, ultra high-strength steel grades in its design. The vehicle features a steel structure and steel side frames, panels, rear and B-Pillar reinforcements and longitudinal rear member, which improve cost, performance, reduce weight and meet Insurance Institute for Highway Safety side-impact crash test requirements.
While the idea behind the X6 SAC has always been somewhat criticized by the mass, no one has really disputed so far the performance, handling and technology that the X6 brings to the table. Many of the voices opposing the X6 models were focused on mostly the design and also the need of such vehicle in the current BMW line-up. Despite all of this, BMW has been satisfied with the last year X6 sales and confirmed many times that the Sports Activity Coupe is not a volume seller, but rather a niche model with its own clientele.
Bottom line: congratulations to the BMW R&D team behind the X6 and we look forward to the hybrid version.
[Source: American Iron and Steel Institute ]