Saturday 25 November 2006

2008 BMW X6 Crossover Spied!

Judging from this prototype we photographed in Germany, it appears that BMW has started development work on the X6–a new model spun off from the recently-released X5. This new performance-minded crossover appears to have taken the philosophy of the Mercedes CLS four-door- coupe, utilizing a sloped roof-line and and tauter packaging in the name of style. Sober concerns such as functionality and cargo capacity have been left to the X5, which has grown larger and more versatile in its recent second-generation redesign. From the looks of it, this X6 has been styled to match the bravado of cars like the Range Rover Sport, which take the SUV in a decidedly athletic direction.

The heavy camouflage obviously hides the nuances of the design, but the prototype’s smooth profile, steeply raked windshield, high waistline and slim greenhouse are readily apparent. The sloping roof arc is expected to continue straight into a coupe-like hoffmeister kink, bringing a little of the Z4 coupe into the crossover zone. One look at the chiseled ground-effects between the wheels also hints at some pronounced fender swells that should add to the sporting look.

When we first shot this prototype, speculation began on the exact identity of this vehicle, since another X5 spin-off–the V5–is said to be in the works. But the V5 is supposed to be a uniquely space- efficient vehicle in the guise of Mercedes’ R-Class, and this prototype doesn’t seem to fit that description. Given the success of the Range Rover Sport in the marketplace, and the lukewarm launch of the R-Class, BMW appears to be making the right move in putting the X6 ahead of the V5 in the development cycle. The X6 is likely still two years away from showrooms. The fact that it will share elements of the X5, that time-frame could be accelerated a bit.

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