|6 Series Coupe - E63 (2004 - 2007)|
|Drivetrain and Chassis|
The new BMW 6 Series Coupé
The new BMW 645Ci is a welcome return to the large performance coupé arena for BMW.
Since the company's first purpose-built coupé - 1937's BMW 327 - BMW has traditionally excelled at two-door development and the new 6 Series attains those same historic standards.
It is an uncompromising mix of performance, power, practicality and price clothed in a stunningly individual design.
The whole package stands out in the market and it's really up to the car's owner to decide whether the 645Ci performs as a heart-stopping sports car or a thoroughbred GT - it excels at both.
The car's heady abilities derive from a potent combination of modern lightweight technologies and BMW's excellence in the production of naturally aspirated V8 power.
Plastics, aluminium and steel combine in a revolutionary process of manufacture and assembly to reduce and balance weight, and allow the designers' styling aims to bear fruit. Meanwhile, under the long bonnet lies BMW's 4.4-litre Valvetronic powerplant, 2002's International Engine of the Year.
The car's impressive aura continues within the cockpit, which displays a highly specified and stylish interior, supplemented by a host of state-of-the-art technologies that contribute to making the car the safest, most dynamic and comfortable luxury coupé on the market.
The BMW 645Ci goes on sale in March 2004 (on-the-road) along with its convertible sibling.
Virtually all of the 1,700 Coupés available in '04 were pre-ordered in 2003, proving that BMW's new 6 is well placed to become just as historic a model as the famous 6 Series of the 1980s and its legendary forebears.
And the timing is perfect - the UK market for Specialist Sports Cars has increased almost three-fold since 1993, whilst the worldwide demand for luxury performance coupés has increased by fifty per cent over the same period.
Design and construction:
The 6 Coupé is unique, both in BMW's line-up of cars and amongst its rivals, in having a story to tell from every angle, whether front, side or rear, top or bottom.
From the front the long, sleek bonnet dominates the view, typical of BMW roadsters and coupés.
Moving around the car, other traditional features include the twin headlights, the double kidney grille and the Hofmeister kink on the C-pillar.
However, these traditional BMW design features are clearly placed on a 21st Century palate as Chris Bangle and his design team continue BMW's forward-thinking design strategy.
This philosophy, introduced on the 7 Series and continued through the debuts of the Z4 and 5 Series, ensures that BMW's burgeoning model line-up is instantly recognisable, not retrogressively familiar.
Hence the 6 is clearly a BMW coupé and not a two-door 5 Series. Form also follows function as the 6 rests on a bespoke platform, sharing components with the 5 Series, but not hampered by any platform-sharing compromise.
The stunning design is aided by lightweight technology that offers a new level in modern production and engineering abilities.
The intelligent use of materials like thermoplastic and Sheet Moulding Compound (boot, front wings), aluminium (bonnet, doors, chassis components) and steel allows the designers' most creative forms to make it into production.
Vitally, these design and production methods also reduce weight on a car that is usefully larger - that is, more practical - than its competitors.
This 'diet' ensures that handling and performance are therefore not compromised for the benefits of transporting family, luggage, golf bags or ski equipment.
The interior is just as stylish as the exterior.
A luxurious level of trim and standard equipment is bound together visually by lines and surfaces that enclose the driver and front passenger, allowing them to focus on the job at hand - driving.
Leather is standard throughout, including the two rear seats that comfortably accommodate smaller members of the family on trans-continental crossings, or adults on short sprints.
Along with the new, chunky, leather-clad multi-function sports steering wheel, hide also covers the gearstick transmitting driver inputs through either the six speed manual (standard), six speed auto with Steptronic function and Adaptive Transmission Management or six speed SMG.
Just as the V8 engine and lightweight body are technological tours de force, BMW's six speed automatic was the world's first such unit when introduced on the new 7 Series.