Now we don't know for sure if the lack of spotted owls in these photos is the direct result of engineers blasting the A/C in their 2010 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, but we're going to go out on a limb and say that it is. Expect a rapid decline in spotted owl population levels in LA, New York and other major cities where people like to pay lip service to being green as a fashion statement when the big-ass SUV hybrid rolls out.
In addition to barely reduced fuel consumption, expect the production ActiveHybrid to share the concept's bizarre hood bulge, as evidenced in these photos. While we don't know exactly when it will be released, this will be BMW's first hybrid and we're putting our money on a 2010 on-sale date.
While it's tempting to mock BMW for selling such a blatantly hypocritical vehicle, the rest of the BMW EfficientDynamics range actually does accomplish reasonable fuel efficiency, so we think they're just playing it smart by selling efficient diesels to people who actually care about reducing fuel consumption while charging a premium to those who merely want to be seen to be doing so.
Unlike spotted owls, KGP's photographers actually managed to get close to the X6 ActiveHybrid without suffocating on its fumes. Here's what they had to say:
We spotted BMW's X6 ActiveHybrid undergoing hot-weather trials in Death Valley. We saw three X6 Hybrid cars, but one of the test vehicles showed one important difference, as its final hood design was visible for the first time on a real-world prototype. Two of the prototypes showcased enormous hood bulges, but the third prototype's hood—while still bulging more than a standard X6—looks clean with a tastefully integrated bump sculpted in near the cowl. We can now confirm that the production X6 Hybrid will take its visual inspiration from BMW's X6 ActiveHybrid concept. Whether the revised hood bulge is there to make room for some hybrid-specific hardware, or if its sole purpose is to signal one's green-leaning tendencies, is currently unknown.