BMW will unveil the new xActivity four-wheel drive concept vehicle at January’s North American International Auto Show 2003 in Detroit (5 January onwards). BMW’s latest Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) gives some indication of what to expect from any future extension of the X range with its uncompromising combination of dynamic looks, on-road driving characteristics, versatility and off-road abilities.
The xActivity, designed as a "frame-structure convertible", features proportions and design elements clearly linking it to the X5, but also individual qualities that look ahead to what future BMW SAVs may feature.
BMW xActivity stands out with its characteristic alternating concave and convex surfaces and double-kidney grille married to distinctive rear end. The proportions are typical BMW with a long wheelbase, short overhang and conspicuously flared wheel arches, but the most visually impressive feature is the frame-structure convertible roof that combines the open-top enjoyment of a convertible with the robust appearance and structure of an SAV.
Reinforced, longitudinal rails connect the A-pillars to the rear of the car on both sides, negating the need for B- or C-pillars and providing the opportunity to offer an SAV with a distinct sporty look. The styling is complemented with a combination of matt and gloss surfaces in ‘Bronze Moss’ paintwork that alternates between bronze, green and blue-grey depending on how the light is reflecting on the vehicle’s surfaces.
The materials chosen for the xActivity’s interior are both hard-wearing and high quality with natural cowhide and neoprene offering distinct and stylish contrasts. The most impressive technological feature internally however displays the use of "smart materials" for the vehicle’s seats that eliminate the need for electric or manual seat adjustment. The seat structures themselves are made from newly developed pressure-sensitive materials that allow adjustment solely through applying pressure to the seat components themselves.
A brand new unconventional loading system provides heightened levels of practicality. As soon as the tailgate is opened the contents of the loading area are automatically extracted to a far more convenient position and angle outside the vehicle’s body reducing the potential muscle-stretching pressures of traditional unloading actions.
Performance And Specification
As with X5, xActivity offers superb levels of performance and agility from BMW’s renowned 231 bhp, 3.0-litre, straight six engine. Power is transmitted from very low engine speeds offering impressive performance on steep gradients and transmitted to the four driven wheels through a manual gearbox. Front tyres are 245/45 at the front and 275/40 at the rear, each on typically distinctive 18" rims. A low centre of gravity and well-balanced suspension are combined with a brand new electronic driver control system that offers traction control delivered individually to each of the four wheels. This provides optimum off-road performance as the ideal amount of slip can be channelled to specific wheels in slippery conditionsPublished 18 December 2002