BMW’s pitch on how great the X6 ActiveHybrid is goes like this: it’s the world’s most powerful hybrid vehicle, fuel consumption is reduced about 20 percent compared to a similar vehicle without a hybrid drivetrain, and no matter what speed you’re going, the incredibly complicated powertrain is performing at the most efficient level possible. All of this power means that the X6 hybrid is no sluggish Toyota Prius, offering frugal but unexciting performance. On the other hand, the size and weight of BMW’s luxury hybrid crossover means that, well, the X6 hybrid is no Prius in the mileage department, either.
Let’s start by congratulating BMW for bringing its first batch of hybrids to market (the 7 Series ActiveHybrid is launching alongside the X6). In everyday traffic, the hybrid system helps keep fuel consumption down – to a still-lame 18 mpg combined (estimated) – and, since the engine can shut down at stops, the ultra-quiet interior made sitting in Miami traffic during our preview drive almost a pleasure. Nevertheless, there’s still a lot of vehicle here that hampers any attempt at real fuel efficiency gains. The X6 ActiveHybrid weighs 5,688 pounds for crying out loud – 400 pounds more than the non-hybrid. This vehicle simply doesn’t makes a lot of sense for anyone actually interested in fuel efficiency.