2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
BMW drivers will soon have a new toy. "Dynamic Performance Control" turns every driver into a cornering artist. The BMW X6 has the system on board as standard. Impressions from the first test drive in the new SUV coupé.
By Sebastian Viehmann
Whenever you think it's no longer possible, the engineers come from somewhere. In the premium segment, modern cars are now crammed with so many control systems that it is easy to lose track of them. The trick is to coordinate all the high-tech helpers in such a way that a harmonious overall work is created. The X6 is BMW's foray into the terrain of the “Sports Activity Coupés”. Chassis developer Gerhard Fischer puts the difference to the X5 in a nutshell: “We wanted a car that is much more sporty”. Pre-production vehicles could be tested for the first time on a handling course in South Carolina. The coordination of the car for series production is almost complete.
Rear axle also steers
"Dynamic Performance Control" (DPC) plays the key role in BMW's new driving fun package. It distributes the drive force variably to the two wheels on the rear axle, regardless of the drive torque requested by the engine. The rear axle steers, so to speak, in the curve. “It's like sitting on a sled and pushing on only one side,” says developer Christian Billig, describing the principle.
You can imagine how it works like a tank or a snowcat: When tracked vehicles make a curve, the two chains are moved in opposite directions. BMW's system distributes the drive torque for this purpose - a difference of 1800 Newton meters can be set at any time between the right and left rear wheel.
Sporty in tight corners
In practice, DPC is particularly convincing in tight corners and on wet roads. Before the rear of the all-wheel drive X6 becomes light, DPC works against it. But it does exactly the opposite of what the ESP (at BMW it's called DSC) does: DSC takes the car's momentum by braking and reducing the torque on individual wheels. DPC, on the other hand, stabilizes the car without suddenly losing power. Only when things get critical does DSC gain the upper hand to be on the safe side. But BMW's new system pushes this limit extremely far outwards.
At the same time, less steering work is required when cornering. The biggest wow factor is when you turn off the DSC completely: Thanks to DPC, the two-ton X6 drifts swiftly around corners on a wet track and allows lateral acceleration that a normal car, even with all-wheel drive, would probably do pirouettes long ago.
DPC works in conjunction with many other systems, for example the XDrive all-wheel drive, active steering, roll stabilization and of course the DSC. "It is a real challenge to bring all systems under one roof," says developer Billig. All functions are coordinated in a control unit that is roughly the size of two packets of cigarettes and weighs roughly the same as an apple. DPC will be standard on board the X6. But rear-wheel drive vehicles could also benefit from Dynamic Performance Control. BMW has sent several test vehicles into the race. In contrast to the DSC, however, the DPC cannot be switched off, which could upset rear-wheel drive purists a bit.
While the SUV Coupé X6 makes the driver grin all the time when it comes to fun on the slopes, the body has a few weak points. The overview to the rear is modest, the trunk sill is very high. Even adults have enough space on the two rear seats, but getting in and out in the rear is a bit uncomfortable because of the bulky fenders. The dimensions of the X6 are enormous: The track of the rear axle is six centimeters wider than that of the X5, the pre-production vehicles run on 20-inch rims with 315 tires. BMW is still silent about the engine range, but both the six-cylinder diesel and the gasoline engine, each with double turbocharging, will almost certainly be one of them. In contrast to the X5, the X6 with automatic transmission even has shift paddles on the steering wheel.
Pioneer in the segment
The market for SUV coupe intersections is only developing slowly. In addition to the X6, you can also count the VW Tiguan and Nissan Qashqai, the X6 being the only SUV coupé in the premium segment to date. BMW attaches great importance to the car on the American market. The manufacturer will build the car in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where the X5 and Z4 currently roll off the assembly line - 650 cars a day, around 80 percent of them X5. BMW is relocating production of the Z4 back to Germany, freeing up capacities for the X6. The car should hit the market in mid-2008. BMW also wants to build the next generation of the X3 in Spartanburg.
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