German tuning specialist AC Schnitzer has heralded the introduction of their version the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe (SAV), itself neither a coupe nor a proper sporting vehicle.
In the annals of automotive history, a coupe has always been a two-door, with a stylish roofline, and two seats in the back that were often an upholstered package tray. So when did BMW and other carmakers start calling cars like the X6 a coupé, when they have four doors and a longer, higher roofline to better accommodate four adults?
Automakers like BMW come up with other designations, SAV being one of them, to deflect any criticism they might get if the cargo area is enlarged, and more seats are added. With the X6, its odd shape is not particularly attractive nor noteworthy. In the 13 years since its inception, BMW has sold 78,713 units in the U.S. through 2020, yet Schnitzer felt compelled to do something for the quirky X6.
Not to be confused with schnitzel, a thin slice of meat breaded and then fried, AC Schnitzer is a tuning company based in Aachen, Germany, that’s been around for 30 years. A team of 55 huddles up in their headquarters and development center, coming up with new products and vehicle packages, just like this one. Their goal is to sidestep the boundaries of production vehicles and increase your driving pleasure. Let’s see what they have in mind for the X6.
Handling was first on their agenda, with a suspension lowering kit for SAVs without air suspension. 20-25mm, or 25/32 – 63/64-inch is the drop, with 10mm wheel spacers used on the rear axle, supposedly to add stability.
That’s less than half an inch, something easily compensated for in the backspacing of their wheels, something Schnitzer apparently didn’t take into account. AC’s reliance on 22-inch wheels, which they say is sporty and more stable, goes against BMW USA forewarning to X6 buyers on their website, which says that 20-inch wheels or larger use lower-profile tires, which reduce comfort and can lead to rim, tire, and suspension damage when driving over potholes. Forging ahead blindly with the bling, Schnitzer offers their 22-inch AC1 light-alloy wheels in either bi-color or anthracite. Schnitzer pairs their rims with either 275/35R22 tires all around, or a staggered 275/35R22 in front with 3125/30R22s at the rear.
Next up is a tremendous effort to restyle the X6. Schnitzer adds a new front spoiler, rear roof wing, side skirts, skirt protection film, AC Schnitzer emblems, and wheel arch extensions. The intent is to provide more sporty visuals, an assessment best left to the eye of the beholder. From my perspective, it does little to alter the base X6 to the extent to which this entire package would cost.
Finally, there are of course AC Schnitzer interior geegaws, in the form of aluminum gearshift paddles, pedals, footrest, key holder, and a cover for the iDrive controller. All of this was conceived to provide what Schnitzer calls more driving pleasure with character. Sadly, what it indicates is that even for a storied tuner, they are increasingly limited in what they can do for vehicles on the road. This may be the future for vehicle tuning, especially with the advent of electric vehicles.
[Images: AC Schnitzer]