Driving the X6 ActiveHybrid in a crowded city is like getting inside a lion's cage with roast beef on your back. It's incredibly difficult to squeeze through the other cars and even if the exterior dimensions don't seem too exaggerate, you'll feel different while driving.
First, practicality. X6 ActiveHybrid is far from being a practical car, despite the hybrid designation that might recommend it as a cheap way to deal with everyday traffic. Just try to park one and you'll see what we mean. OK, BMW offers several parking assistance solutions, such as rear view camera and front parking sensors, but the biggest problem nowadays is actually finding an empty parking space and then squeeze into it without bumping into the other cars. The X6 ActiveHybrid comes with one rear view camera plus with two side cameras, each mounted in the exterior mirrors. After collecting image data from all three, the parking assistance system creates a bird's eye view real time video displayed on the center console screen.
It sounds useful, but it's not. While in reverse mode, the rear camera provides close to zero helpful images, mostly because the recording angle is too wide and surrounding objects are only shown on the display only when getting very, very close to the obstacle. The parking sensors might not be properly synchronized with the camera, as they scream like hell every time the car has less than 2 meters away from the other parked cars.
OK, so we all agreed that parking is not X6 ActiveHybrid's ace up its sleeve. On a much more positive note, we were impressed with the handling the hybrid has to offer. The electronic power steering is almost perfectly responsive and you won't even notice that you're driving such a large vehicle.
Things are totally opposite when talking about the turning radius. The first time we were ready to trade the X6 ActiveHybrid for a Russian tank was the moment when we've tried to make a tight turn with the car and it took more than 20, maybe 30 seconds because multiple forwards-backward movements were absolutely necessary. The official turning radius indicated by BMW is 12.8 meters (503 inches), when equipped with 20-inch wheels.
Fuel consumption is far, very far from what you'd expect from a hybrid. BMW says the car shouldn't burn more than 10.8 liters of gasoline per 100 km (21.7 mpg) in the city, but we couldn't go lower than 15 l/100km (15.6 mpg) after hours of feathering the pedal. A sportier driver would go up to 20 l/100 km (11.7 mpg), especially if he's the type that loves to let the other drivers at the traffic light enjoy the burned tire smell. A start-stop system that automatically turns off the engine when not in motion, leaving the battery take care of the working functions, is also available but, as you can see, it doesn't have a too significant impact on the final fuel consumption figures.
Visibility is once again an issue, even if you swear to check the interior mirror only when trying to park. The lack of a rear wiper makes things ever worse, so you'll have to rely only on the exterior mirrors and on your very own parking skills.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
Wooohoooo! Give me a B, give me an M, give me a W. Give me a BMW baby! What a pleasant surprise! Finally I have the chance to testrive the BEAST. Yeah, release the beast! I dreamed about this moment every since September 10, 2007 when BMW presented the X6 ActiveHybrid at the Frankfurt Auto Show. When I first saw it, I told myself: Lou Cheeka, this is it! You must own this!
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