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6 Series Cabrio - E64 (2004 - 2007) - Design

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The traditional outcome of designing a soft-top convertible is a compromise in its styling as practical limitations necessitate a steep rear roof section.
A folding hard-top is one solution, but results in packaging and weight compromises.
The designers' brief for the BMW 645Ci Convertible focused on producing a soft-top version of the 6 Series Coupé without losing that car's visual impact or lightweight advantages.

In developing the 6 Series Convertible, BMW cleverly retained the Coupé's silhouette.
What's more, BMW maintained its philosophy that soft folding roofs offer the owner greater practicality than fold-away hard-tops as they take up far less room when stored.

The starting point for the 6 Series Convertible was to develop the car alongside the Coupé, rather than the more traditional, and compromising, route of taking an existing coupé, chopping off its roof and adding the requisite strengthening materials.
This gave the designers every opportunity to replicate the Coupé's sleek stance, taut but flowing lines and powerful, modern presence.

Looking in more detail at the new model shows that the company has retained many of the traditional BMW design cues, but pushed the limits of convertible design with an ingenious roof structure and innovative use of modern, lightweight materials.

At the front, the new broad, low-level kidney grille and striking headlamp units achieve an immediate impact.
To the rear, the aerodynamically-contoured LED rear lights and oval, chrome-sleeved tailpipes are eye-catching features that feature practical innovations.

In common with the Coupé, the 6 Series Convertible features a sporting rear-set cabin with a sleekly raked and strengthened A-pillar.
It also retains BMW's customary and distinctive 'Hofmeister' kink, which has been cleverly retained and subtly melded into the Convertible's unique fin structure roof.

Fin structure roof
The fin structure roof is BMW's innovative solution to maintaining a coupé-like profile with a soft folding roof.
The roof structure's steeply sloping rear buttresses almost perfectly replicate the angle of the Coupé's C-pillars, resembling fins when viewed from the rear.
The fins, which dramatically double back at their apex towards the rear of the cabin, also obviate the need for a large rear window, a key restriction of most soft-tops.

Structurally, a traditional soft roof requires a steep rear slope in order to house a large rear window (a small rear window at a shallow angle would follow a coupé's lines, but would offer very poor rear visibility).
However, a large rear window is then impossible to package efficiently with the roof in the folded position.

On the BMW 645Ci Convertible, the fins double back, allowing the car to feature a comparatively small, independent, electrically-powered vertical rear window.
This window offers impressive levels of visibility and can retract into a small slot just behind the rear passenger seats.
This glass can be raised or lowered with the roof open or closed, either for extra ventilation or as an effective wind deflector.
A further benefit of this innovation is an improved boot capacity over more conventional convertible mechanisms - a best-in-class 350 litres with the roof up.

The fully electric roof comes in either Basalt Grey or Black.
It folds or unfolds in 20 seconds even when driving, at speeds of up to 20mph.
With a unique multi-layered structure, it boasts class-leading interior acoustics and stows away compactly in its own retractable storage compartment in the boot when folded.
It also has the added benefit of being lighter than contemporary folding hard-tops.

The elegance of the 6 Series Convertible's exterior is complemented by the interior.
High-quality materials including wood or Ruthenium (a lightweight metal that resembles platinum in appearance), combined with superb craftsmanship, create a luxurious ambience with exemplary ergonomics.
The driving-related instruments and controls are positioned in the optimal field of vision and are all within easy reach, while the comfort functions - communications, climate, entertainment and navigation - are easily controlled via second-generation iDrive, the pioneering control command concept.

The upholstery is trimmed in soft but durable Dakota leather, with Exclusive Pearl leather (a soft nappa-type hide) an option.
The front seats provide Comfort Entry to the rear and have powered adjustment (with memory for the driver's seat) as standard.
A sports leather-trimmed steering wheel (with multi-function buttons, two of which are personally programmable via iDrive) is also standard, while Sports front seats and seat heating are optional.

Providing maximum comfort with generous space and irreproachable safety, its luxurious appointments and genuine practicality allow the new BMW 6 Series Convertible to deliver occupants the very finest in open or closed motoring pleasure.

Last Updated on Monday, 12 April 2010 14:40  
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