The following story has been corrected to indicate that the X6 Active Hybrid will not be sold in the US as a 2012 model, it has not been confirmed to end production for other markets at this time. The original story stated that production had ended.
The X6 Active Hybrid was BMW’s first foray into hybrids- a joint development with Daimler, Chrysler and General Motors. Entering foreign ground and jumping into an increasingly competitive hybrid market, BMW set about making a vehicle that was more powerful and just slightly more efficient. This created an even more limited client base than the base X6 was targeted at. The original price for the X6 Active Hybrid at launch in late December 2009 (2010 model) was just shy of ninety-thousand dollars. One of the most expensive vehicles in the BMW lineup. Sales were limited to say the least. And as of today, the era of BMW’s lone two mode, nickel metal hydride hybrid has come to a quiet and abrupt end in the US.
Dave Buchko, a spokesman for BMWNA recently confirmed to BimmerFile that the X6 Active Hybrid will no longer be offered in the US. Additionally, there are currently no plans to upgrade the system or offer the current X6 in another hybrid form. He also revealed that the 5 Series hybrid, powered by a six cylinder gas engine and featuring lithium ion battery packs, will be the next Hybrid in BMWNA’s lineup alongside the 7 Series Active Hybrid.
The X6 Active Hybrid was BMW’s way of entering the hybrid market with limited research and development costs compared to going at things all on their own. The initial problem was that, at the time of launch, the technology was already dated and the vehicle was too expensive during a time of tightening wallets. Where other brands went for all out efficiency with their hybrids, it would seem that BMW decided to make hybrid technology about performance first and efficiency second. While BMW’s hands were tied given the technology that was part of the deal, the fact is that the six cylinder X6 was dramatically more efficient (not to mention the X5 35d).
The X6 Active Hybrid achieved robust performance gains but only about a 12% improvement in efficiency. For the price, many just opted for the X6 ///M and its significant performance and lived with its relative efficiency.
Maximum system output of the X6 Active Hybrid was 480 hp, with peak torque of 575 lb-ft. Powered by its 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 and two synchronous electric motors the X6 was impressive in a straight line. It made the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 the most powerful hybrid vehicle in the world; with acceleration from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. As a two-mode hybrid it was able to run exclusively on electricity supplied by the nickel metal hydride battery pack for nearly two miles with a top speed of 37 mph.
With the additional hood bulge and 20″ aero spoke wheels there was little mistaking it for anything else but a special model. At the time of launch we had some serious concerns with this vehicle and as time ticked on, the X6 Active Hybrid began to show its age in technology and function. Now is a good time as any to set it out to pasture.