BMW has chosen the LA Auto Show to unveil the production version of its next-generation 6 Series convertible.
This dramatic drop-top follows on from the thinly disguised BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé that appeared at the Paris motor show last month; the decision to reveal the production convertible first is clearly a nod to the Californian climate…
Evolution of design
As you can see, the new BMW 6 Series convertible is more evolution than revolution.
Visually it simply emphasises the features that defined its predecessor – the shark nose, long bonnet, flat waistline and finned fabric roof. Based on the same platform as the latest BMW 5 Series, the new 6 Series is longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces, with increased interior space and engine efficiency.
Engine choice at the American launch is limited to a pair of powerful turbo petrols – badged 640i and 650i. But rest assured the European market will also have access to a range of BMW’s high-tech diesels.
BMW has chosen to continue with a fabric roof rather than a folding hardtop since it feels this allows the design to remain more elegant top up or down.
The roof takes 15 seconds to open and 24 seconds to close – an operation that can be performed at speeds of up to 25mph. A Comfort Access option allows you to activate the roof via the keyfob when the car is parked.
As before the fins are the side sections at the rear that extend into the boot area, while the vertical rear screen can be raised and lowered independently of the roof itself. According to BMW, the fabric roof also enables them to provide more passenger room and boot space. It claims there’s 350 litres with the roof up and 300 litres with it down – large enough for a pair of golf bags.
Turbo petrol power
Engine efficiency is boosted thanks to the inclusion of EfficientDynamics technology, including brake energy regeneration, electric power steering and intelligent power management.
As a result the 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo 640i produces 320hp and sprints 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, yet claims 35.8mpg and 185g/km CO2 emissions. The 4.4-litre turbo V8 650i produces 407hp, with a 5.0-second 0-62mph time, 26.4mpg and 249g/km CO2.
Both engines are electronically limited to 155mph, and come fitted with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. BMW’s Drive Dynamic Control comes as standard, giving the driver control over steering, throttle and gearbox response, while Adaptive Drive with electronically controlled dampers and roll control is available as an option.
The 6 Series is one of BMW’s flagship models, so you would expect it to be loaded with technology – and it doesn’t disappoint.
Available systems include a surround view camera system, night vision with pedestrian recognition, park assist, and lane departure warning – all part of BMW ConnectedDrive.
ConnectedDrive now also features Blackberry smartphone connectivity that will allow you to keep up with your email on the move – either via the BMW’s central display or audibly thanks to a text-to-speech function.
Then there’s the latest version of the 6 Series head-up display that offers three-dimensional graphics and greater range of colours.
Standard kit is likely to include 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery with SunReflective Technology (to help keep it cool on hot days), xenon headlights, electric sports seats, satellite navigation and parking sensors.
On sale 2011
The new BMW 6 Series convertible is set to go on sale in the UK on 26 March 2011.
Prices will be announced nearer the time – expect a reasonable hike from the current model, not least because of the change to 20% VAT.
The introduction of the 6 Series coupé is yet to be confirmed, but is likely to take place at around the same time.
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