For 2007, the two 6 Series models are the 650i Coupe, at $74,595 including destination charge; and the 650i Convertible at $81,595. (Gas Guzzler taxes apply to some versions.) Each is powered by the same 4.8-liter, 360-hp Valvetronic V-8 found in the ‘07 750i/Li and 550i models, backed by one of three 6-speed transmissions: conventional manual, STEPTRONIC automatic or Sequential Manual Gearbox.
After some significant powertrain improvements last year—including the new 360-hp 4.8-liter V-8—changes for ’07 are relatively few. The most striking is the addition of a new interior option, Pearl leather. This new treatment includes a softer, more supple quality to the upholstery, complemented by a distinctive stitching. Available in either Black or Cream Beige, the option also adds special black Nasca leather to the sun blinds and center console.
In addition, a new auxiliary input for an iPod or MP3 player is now standard. Stand-alone options now include HD radio and the Logic7 Sound System. This last was part of the Premium Sound Package last year, which also included a 6-disc CD changer. The Premium Sound Package has been deleted, to provide 6 Series owners with the flexibility to install the BMW accessory CD changer or the new accessory Interface for iPod, based on their personal preference and listening habits.
A new feature, Real Time Traffic Information, is now standard on 6 Series models. (Real Time Traffic Information is deleted if the HD Radio option is ordered.) Finally, as with all 2007 BMW models, the BMW Assist Safety Plan includes a 4 year membership instead of the previous 1 year.
The 6 Series’ character
Since “6” falls between “5” and “7,” it will not surprise that this sport Series has some relation to the 5 and 7 Series. Yet it is anything but a mere re-bodying of either of these sedans. For a perspective on how the “6“ fits into the upper end of the BMW line, consider the following:
- Compared to the 5 Series, the 6 rides on a wheelbase 4.3 in. shorter, yet is almost as long thanks to the 6’s long-hood, cabin-back proportions. Compared to the 750i, the 6 Series wheelbase is 8.3 in. shorter, reflecting the contrast between the 7’s large, commodious sedan format and the 6’s more intimate, sporting Coupe/Convertible character.
- A notably wide rear track and low height visually express the 6 Series’ sporty handling attributes.
- No sheet metal is shared with either the 5 or 7 Series.
- BMW’s most extensive use of weight-saving body materials in regular-production models results in impressive weight efficiency.
- Though all three Series use the Valvetronic V-8 engine, the 650i Coupe achieves the best acceleration because it is the lightest of the V-8 models.
- Like the 550i but not the 7 Series, both 650i models are available with all three BMW transmission types: manual, STEPTRONIC automatic and Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG). All are 6-speeds.
- Whereas the 5 and 7 Series Sedans are full 5-seaters, the 650i models are 2+2s, with generous front seating space and intimate, yet inviting “occasional” rear seating.
- Thanks in part to standard run-flat tires, the 650i Coupe provides almost as much trunk space as the 550i Sedan; the Convertible trunk, with its variable softtop storage compartment, is also relatively spacious for a car with a folding top.
BMW’s Coupes and Convertibles: a tradition of greatness
The heritage of today’s 6 Series goes back to October 1937, when BMW introduced an elegant cabriolet called the 327. Low-built even by today’s standards and seating just two persons, the 327 was powered by a 2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, whose 55 horsepower powered it to 78 mph – a brisk speed for the late Thirties. A coupe version followed shortly thereafter, as did a new and more powerful engine.
In 1956, BMW unveiled the 503 coupe and cabriolet, designed by Count Albrecht Goertz – who, in the same period, designed the immortal BMW 507 roadster. Their V-8 engine delivered 140 hp from 3.2 liters and powered the 503s to the handsome top speed of 118 mph; in those days as now, one could drive legally at top speed on Germany’s Autobahnen. BMW developed one further sport coupe on the V-8 chassis; the great Italian designer Bertone styled the 3200 CS, which went into production in ’62.
The next coupe, a smaller one, appeared in 1965; its exterior design, especially that of its “greenhouse” or passenger cabin, related closely to Bertone ’s 3200 CS look. Powered by a 4-cylinder engine in 2-liter form, it came in two forms – 2000 C with 100 hp, 2000 CS with 120 hp.
In 1968, BMW re-entered the 6-cylinder luxury segment with the new 2500/2800 sedans; a coupe version followed soon thereafter. It was called 2800 CS, and over the years of its production (until ’75), it evolved into many forms, including the 3.0 CS, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful BMWs ever made. For its fans, this Series is simply “the CS.”
The first 6 Series succeeded the CS. Longer, wider and lower than its predecessor. After its U.S. debut in ’77, it eventually evolved into the 635CSi and, with the mighty BMW M 6-cylinder engine, the M6.
Though not exactly a lineal ancestor of the new 6 Series, the 8 Series is BMW’s most recent performance-luxury coupe. Over the years of its production (1990-97), it appeared in several forms, from the V-8 840Ci through the 372-hp, V-12 850CSi.
Each of these 6 Series forebears was a unique automobile, distinguished in both engineering and esthetics from its sedan stablemates. The new 6 Series expresses that tradition in fresh, 21st-century form.
Superlative performance for the 6 Series: the 4.8-liter Valvetronic V-8 engine
Under the 650i models’ aluminum hood is a further evolution of the technologically advanced and unique N62 V-8 engine that powered the original 645Ci models. As such, this power unit continues with BMW’s revolutionary Valvetronic system, which controls engine power by varying valve lift instead of relying on a conventional throttle. Compared to conventional valvegear, Valvetronic enhances torque, power and efficiency – and now increased displacement further boosts torque and power.
Indeed, the 650 engine achieves even greater specific power than its predecessor: with 9.1% more displacement (it’s up from 4.4 to 4.8 liters), power is up 35 hp (10.8%) from 325 to 360 hp. Likewise, its torque curve is richer; the new, higher torque peak of 360 lb-ft. (up from 330) occurs at 3400 rpm, down 200 rpm from the predecessor.
Beyond these objective data, though, the more readily experienced advance here is added urge virtually anytime the driver presses down on the accelerator pedal, especially at midrange speeds. Of the same engine in the ’06 750i, Edmunds.com commented that “It’s refined and athletic just like the old 4.4, but its torque band seems to go on forever.”
In one respect, the new engine has been simplified. The previous version had a fully variable induction system, capable of varying the induction passages’ length steplessly from minimum to maximum – certainly an optimum solution, and a very elaborate one, for achieving strong performance in all rpm ranges. With the new engine’s increased displacement boosting torque, BMW’s engine engineers simplified the induction system to 2 stages, one for low to medium engine speeds, the other for high engine speeds.
The 6 Series’ exhaust system is specially engineered to lend the V-8 engine an extra-sporty note. Actuated by engine vacuum in response to engine speed and load as well as the gear currently engaged, a movable element in the right-hand resonator is programmed to achieve the sportiest, most pleasurable engine sound within the overall legal exterior-noise limit.
Three available transmissions, all 6-speeds
6-speed manual. The standard transmission is the heavier-duty version of two new 6-speeds recently introduced. Compared to the 6-speed used in M3 models, it is lighter, and yet robust enough to handle the more abundant torque of the V-8 engine.
6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic. This combination of torque converter and 6-speed gearbox is plenty sporty – as demonstrated by a 0-60-mph time only a tenth of a second less quick than for the manual transmission or SMG. As with all other current BMW automatics, the S (Sport) mode moves shift points upward to higher engine speeds for sportier feel and response. The M (Manual) mode enables the driver to up- or downshift at will, imparting some of the sportiness of a manual transmission. Driver-controlled up- and downshifts are effected by “tipping” the shift lever rearward or forward.
Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG): the “third way” of driving. This is an electrohydraulically shifted and clutched, electronically controlled version of the 6-speed manual transmission; as such it is utterly different from a conventional automatic. There is no clutch pedal; the driver selects the desired mode (N, R, D, S) with a console-mounted selector lever, and can execute manual shifts via that lever or two “paddles” on the steering wheel. SMG’s fundamental advantages are that it fully preserves the performance of a manual transmission while facilitating both automated and very sporty driving.
Features and characteristics of the SMG driver interface include:
- A Drive mode (D) in which shifting is automated
- A Sequential mode (S) in which shifting is mostly driver-controlled
- A Sport program, selected by a Sport button on the console that also affects other performance and handling characteristics.
- An instrument-panel display of the gear currently engaged and the operational range currently selected.
In D, shifts are automatic and adaptive: More aggressive driving results in shift points at higher speeds. D is not to be interpreted as a substitute for the D of a fully automatic transmission, but rather a convenient operational mode for those times when the driver favors ease of driving and over extracting maximum performance.
With S selected, the driver essentially controls all shifting with the shift lever or paddles –
- Tip lever or paddle(s) rearward = upshift
- Tip lever or paddle(s) forward = downshift.
An instrument-cluster display tells the driver which of the six speeds is currently engaged. In D, it also shows a “D.”
Dynamic Driving Control
BMW’s Dynamic Driving Control is standard. When the driver selects its Sport program, an LED in the button illuminates and vehicle behavior is modified as follows:
- Engine response to the accelerator is “quicker”; a given movement of the accelerator produces more response. (Cruise-control operation is similarly quicker.)
- With SMG in Sequential, manual shifts occur more quickly (sharply).
- With SMG in Drive, automated shifts occur more quickly and at higher road speeds.
- With the STEPTRONIC automatic transmission in Drive, automatic shifts occur at higher road/engine speeds.
- With the STEPTRONIC automatic in its normal Sport mode (as engaged with the shift lever), shifts occur at even higher speeds; this is thus a sort of “super-sport” mode.
- Steering power assist (with standard Servotronic steering only) is reduced.
By using aluminum, BMW engineers achieved a significant (6.6-lb.) weight reduction. At the same time, they were able to improve the vehicle’s management of impact energy in a frontal crash: both shaft sections are designed to collapse in a controlled manner under impact load. Connecting elements at the ends of each shaft section are of steel; new welding techniques were developed to weld the aluminum to the steel.
Front suspension: full aluminum, specific 6 Series kinematics
The front suspension system is a further evolution of BMW’s double-pivot front system. Its general concept and design are shared with the 5 and 7 Series, but specific characteristics, dimensions and kinematics – including the 6’s lower ride height and center of gravity – endow the 650i models with their own, definitively sporty handling and riding characteristics. Most of its components are of aluminum, which reduces unsprung weight and thus optimizes the suspension’s response to irregular road surfaces.
Key distinctions between the 6 and 5 Series front suspension (650i Coupe/Convertible vs. 550i Sedan) include:
- Stronger self-centering feel in steering
- Lower ride height
- Firmer springs and shock absorbers compared to standard 550i calibration, not quite as firm as 550i sport calibration; the 6 Series offers just one calibration, and it is sporty.
Rear suspension system: here too, specific calibration of a proven system
Like the 5 and 7 Series, the 6 employs BMW’s most premium rear suspension system, a multi-link layout called Integral Link. This system controls rear-wheel angles very precisely, minimizing unwanted effects under load changes (such as lifting off the gas while cornering, and hard acceleration or braking) – and achieves a remarkably comfortable ride.
Here too, aluminum is extensively employed. Because supple reaction of the suspension to bumps is especially critical for road adhesion at the powered rear wheels, the benefits are even more important here than at the front.
Key distinctions between the 6 and 5 Series rear suspension (650i Coupe/Convertible vs. 550i Sedan) include:
- Wider rear track, 62.7 vs. 62.3 in.
- Greater negative camber, 2 vs. 1.5 degrees
- Lower roll center
- Lower ride height.
Standard Active Roll Stabilization
This suspension innovation dramatically reduces body roll in cornering. In so doing, ARS improves handling by virtue of better suspension geometry (wheel angles relative to vertical); but there is also a psychological component: Drivers and passengers alike marvel at the resulting “flat cornering.” The ARS system consists of:
- Active anti-roll bars, replacing conventional mechanical (“passive”) front and rear bars. Each bar consists of left and right portions, twisted in opposite directions by a hydraulic motor between them.
- A valve/sensor block containing various system valves and sensors.
- A lateral-acceleration sensor to detect how hard the vehicle is cornering.
- An electronic control unit (ECU) regulating the entire system.
- A tandem oil pump which, via its two sections, provides hydraulic pressure for ARS and the power steering.
- An oil cooler, reservoir, filter, oil-level sensor and the various hoses, mounting brackets and other minor components.
Whenever the vehicle enters a corner, curve or avoidance maneuver, lateral acceleration is generated. This is read by the sensor, which transmits a signal to the ECU. The ECU processes this signal and transmits it to the valve/sensor block. In turn, the valve/sensor block determines the hydraulic pressure applied to the active anti-roll bars to control body roll.
The key word here is “active.” Active Roll Stabilization –
- Generates resistance to body roll by twisting the anti-roll bars.
- Acts in a stronger and more “tailored” way than conventional anti-roll bars.
- Offers no resistance to bumps in straight-ahead driving, as do conventional anti-roll bars; this improves riding comfort.
- Increases the vehicle’s maximum cornering capability.
- Improves steering response, particularly in the range of cornering where body roll is most tightly controlled.
This comment from Car and Driver’s January ‘04 issue nicely captures the effectiveness of the 6 Series’ chassis concept: “Flung at reckless speeds up the winding roads of Andalusia, the 645Ci is serenely stable and solid. It pounces on corners, tracks flat through the apexes, and devours the straights with a burly snarl from the V-8. It laps up freeway kilometers at triple-digit speeds, the suspension digesting ripples and dips so thoroughly that the body remains almost inert. All the driver has to do is aim the 645 and it goes there. Fast.”
Rack-and-pinion steering with Servotronic power assist and variable ratio
Like the 5 and 7 Series, the 6 has a variable-ratio rack-and-pinion system with Servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive variable power assist.
The variable-ratio feature (not to be confused with variable assist, nor with Active Steering’s more dramatically variable ratio) results from special profiling of the rack-and-pinion mechanism’s gear teeth. The steering ratio becomes quicker (more steering effect for a given steering-wheel motion) as the wheel is turned outward from its center position. The result is a fine-tuning of steering response according to the situation one is in, be it on a fast straightaway (slower steering) or maneuvering into a parking space (quicker steering).
18- or 19-in. wheels and tires, run-flat standard
Standard 6 Series wheel/tire equipment encompasses 18 x 8.0 front / 18 x 19.0 rear cast-alloy wheels in a new, discreetly sporty Double Spoke design; these carry W-rated 245/45R-18 front and 275/40R-18 rear run-flat performance tires that give standard-equipped 650i models excellent performance and traction.
Included in the Sport Package are 19-in. wheels in an even sportier Ellipsoid design; they are 8.5 in. wide at the front, 9.0 wide at the rear. At the front, 245/40R-19 tires are fitted; the rear wheels carry 275/35R-19 tires. These Sport Package tires are also of run-flat construction and W-rated performance-type, sometimes referred to as “summer” tires.
Although run-flat tires are reputed to have a relatively hard ride, BMW’s handling-and-ride engineers rise above the usual compromises. “Sporty and comfortable,” concluded Germany’s Auto Zeitung in its October 22, ’03 issue; “The firm but not uncomfortable chassis supports a dynamic style of driving.” Giving ARS some of the credit but coming to the same conclusion, the U.S. AutoWeek reported in its November 24, ’03 issue: “ARS allows for the springs and dampers to be set for a comfortable ride, with the system’s hydraulically operated anti-roll bars front and rear stabilizing things when needed.”
A Tire Pressure Monitor alerts the driver to changes in any tire’s air pressure. Because all its models have run-flat tires, the 6 Series was designed without a spare; this contributes to the Series’ generous trunk capacity.
Dynamic Stability Control in its latest form
All BMW models are standard-equipped with Dynamic Stability Control, which provides a wide range of traction and stability functions.
While retaining all these functions, a new-generation DSC system introduced last year adds several new customer-relevant functions that make driving even safer and more pleasant. They are:
- Brake Fade Compensation. Brake fade occurs as the brakes heat up under hard use; a given degree of deceleration requires more pressure on the brake pedal. As brake temperature rises, this function automatically compensates by increasing the hydraulic pressure relative to pedal force.
- Brake Standby. When the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal abruptly, DSC recognizes that sharp braking may be about to occur and applies just enough pressure in the brake system to snug up the pads against the rotors. Thus by the time the driver’s foot reaches the brake pedal, the lag time normally resulting from bringing the pad to the rotor is eliminated, reducing stopping or deceleration distance.
- Brake Drying. Acting on input from the rain sensor (an element of the standard rain-sensing windshield wipers), the pads are periodically brought up to the rotors – just enough to eliminate any film of water between pads and rotors, but not enough to cause a brake application.
- Start-off Assistant. Briefly holds the vehicle when the brakes are released while stopped facing uphill. The driver can then start up without doing a ballet with the clutch, brake and accelerator (manual transmission) or rolling backward on a steep hill (automatic transmission).
- Modulated ABS function. “Analogized” control of the DSC brake valves makes the anti-lockup function (ABS) smoother. Instead of simply being fully on or off, application and release of these valves are now modulated.
The look: esthetics and function
With this performance-luxury Coupe and Convertible pair, the Bavarian automaker shows in yet another way “what it can do” in terms of contemporary design. From the bold BMW “kidney” grilles and the freely shaped lighting clusters flanking them…through a very long hood signifying power…through a sleek and graceful silhouette…to BMW’s characteristic (and “highly” functional) rear deck: this is BMW in the 21st century.
BMW Chief Designer Boyke Boyer illuminates the 6 Series design:
- Diagonal lines originating just above the grilles sweep rearward, framing a “power dome” that is the essence of the long hood; and lead to the A-pillars, whose line then defines the roof silhouette and concludes in the trunklid’s top line.
- A second pair of diagonal lines, beginning just outboard of the grilles, sweeps rearward, forming the hood’s outer edges, continuing through the beltline and sweeping down to the trunklid’s lower edge.
- At the rear, there is the trademark BMW rear deck with its unmistakable look and clearly definable functions: enhancing aerodynamics and increasing cargo space.
The primary aerodynamic goal has been achieved here, as demonstrated by an excellent coefficient of aerodynamic drag (CD) of 0.30 (Coupe) or 0.32 (Convertible) and a highway EPA mileage rating of 25 mpg with automatic transmission for both models.
Another goal, low aerodynamic lift, was met in a fascinating way. The main upper trunklid line begins in the C-pillar and defines its rear edge all the way around. Above this, across the lid’s center, there’s a rise – a spoiler lip, just a few millimeters tall. Wind-tunnel tests indicated the necessity for this; Boyer’s designers shaped it ideally. But it couldn’t be formed in steel or aluminum. The solution: make the trunklid out of Sheet Molding Compound, or SMC.
Other functional elements include BMW’s now across-the-board Adaptive Brake Lights, which emit more illumination under hard braking or anytime the ABS intervenes. In the front flanks, BMW i ncorporates additional turn-signal indicators, so-called “repeat blinkers.” Here these are set elegantly flush into a recess that launches a side character line. The designers wanted this refined solution; like the rear spoiler lip, it couldn’t be stamped into steel or aluminum. The solution: make the front side panels, or “fenders” in older parlance, of thermoplastic.
The hood lines and their connections with the A-pillars and beltline are as on the Coupe. So, essentially, are the body sides. Above all this, the lines become Convertible-specific.
From the doors rearward, the body ledges sweep inward, creating space to accommodate the top mechanism. Behind the rear seats is the panel that functions as a cover when the softtop is folded, then “goes indoor” when it’s raised, underpinning the raised softtop’s “fins.”
These fins, which might also be termed “sail panels,” extend rearward of the vertical rear window. Electrically retractable with the top up or down, this window can enhance ventilation and open-air feeling when the top is up, and form a wind deflector for rear-seat passengers when it’s down. In the manner of other current softtop BMW models, the folded top is accommodated by an adjustable storage compartment that maximizes trunk space when it is down. Raising and lowering is fully automatic; the top is fully lined.
Technology of the body: strong and light structure
Though the front-end structure and hood are of aluminum as on the 5 Series, the front side panels are of thermoplastic, which saves weight similarly to aluminum. The doors are aluminum, vs. steel on the 5 Series; they save yet more poundage. Finally, the SMC rear deck, also a weight-saver, offers extra resistance to bending – important in a large-area component like this. (Structural Engineer Ralf Grünn notes also that in a 50-mph rear-impact crash test, the trunklid did not break.)
The hood’s aluminum outer and inner skins – the latter essential for strength – are bonded together with a new adhesive that gives it both longitudinal strength (a factor in crash-energy absorption) and vibration resistance. Formerly, two different adhesives were necessary for these two functions; using only one saves 6.2 lb.
In its lightest form, with manual transmission, the 650i Coupe weighs 3814 lb., 88 lb. less than the 550i Sedan similarly equipped. In fact, the Coupe body/chassis unit, complete with doors, hood and trunklid, weighs just 728 lb., vs. 762 lb. for the all-steel 330Ci Coupe. Weight distribution for the Coupe is 52.6% front/47.4% rear – excellent and in keeping with BMW’s policy of relatively even front/rear distribution.
Specific Convertible structural details
It’s an unavoidable rule: remove the roof, lose rigidity. Automotive body engineers beef up the lower body to compensate. Measures taken to ensure the Convertible’s structural integrity include:
- Additional diagonal braces, front and rear
- Specific front subframe
- Front thrust plate of 3-mm aluminum, vs. 2.5 mm on Coupe
- Specific reinforcements to side sills
- Strengthened attachment of B-pillar to lower body
- Reinforced attachments for diagonal braces at rear subframe
- Lateral lower-body reinforcement.
- Measures relating to rollover integrity are:
- Ultra-strong windshield frame
- Rollover Protection System.
According to Grünn, BMW’s Forschungs- und Innovations-Zentrum (Research and Innovation Center) invested heavily in the windshield frame. It is formed in an “inside high-pressure forming” process that optimizes its strength without rendering it unduly bulky or heavy. Under high heat, the frame is formed with oil inside it, ensuring even distribution of forming pressure and thus consistent wall thickness.
In terms of torsional rigidity – an important measurement of a vehicle body’s resistance to twisting and thus squeaks – the Convertible attains 15,000 Newton-meters per degree (without windshield glass); impressively, this is slightly more rigid than the Coupe with the opening for its tilting glass roof panel, also without its glass panes. With all glass panes in place, the Coupe will of course have greater rigidity than the Convertible.
Aerodynamics: not just on the surface, but also underneath
The 6 Series’ exterior shape certainly implies excellent aerodynamics. Yet there are also details that help foster smooth progress through the air.
One such detail is the extensive underbody fairing, reaching from just behind the front bumper nearly back to the rear suspension. The material used for most of the underbody fairing is Superlite, which is some 40% lighter than materials previously used for such applications.
Control center: contemporary BMW design in its newest, sportiest form
The overall arrangement is as in the 5 and 7 Series, with a traditionally configured instrument cluster in front of the driver and the iDrive-dominated center dash area. Yet this design is different from either 5 or 7, in that the trim material (Pearl-gloss Ruthenium is standard) does not extend all the way across the dash; instead, it is concentrated in the center area, and repeats on the right side above the glove compartment. Graceful sweeps of certain surfaces – from dash top into door panel, from dash right-of-center into the console – lend elegance and visual interest.
The instrument cluster
The 6 Series instrument cluster is similar to that of the 5 Series, with two main analog dials, two lower fields of digital displays between the two analog dials, and an upper field of indicators, warnings and graphic displays.
Each of the two round dials has a disc-type “pointer” that rotates behind the dial face to indicate –
- On the speedometer, the cruise-control speed setting
- On the tachometer, the variable warning segment, delineated by white “ticks” on the movable disc that reach as far down as 4200 rpm with a cold engine, and gradually increase the rpm limit to normal as the engine warms up.
Other distinctive features include:
- Chronometer design, with fine scale gradations
- An oil-temperature gauge at the bottom of the tachometer.
Premium lighting features
In addition to the familiar left/right front reading lights and BMW Ambiance Lighting that emanates from above the windshield to softly illuminate the console area at night, the 6 has several additional premium lighting features:
- LED ground lighting in the exterior mirror housings
- Illuminated doorsill logos
- Illumination of interior door handles
- LED illumination of door storage bins.
Options & accessories
Given the very extensive standard equipment on both 6 Series models, their option list is relatively short. Yet there are two appealing Packages here, two transmission alternatives at no extra cost, enhanced leather upholstery, two types of wood interior trim (also at no extra cost) and high-tech options that include Active Steering, Active Cruise Control, the Head-up Display, Logic7 premium stereo and new High Definition Radio.
This Package is the same for both models. Here are the contents:
- 19-in. wheels and performance tires. In place of the standard 18 x 8.0 wheels with all-season tires, the Sport Package specifies 19 x 8.5 front/19 x 9.0 rear wheels, with 245/40R-19 front / 275/35R-19 rear W-rated performance tires.
- High-gloss Shadowline exterior trim around the Coupe side windows, replacing the standard chrome-trimmed matte black. On the Convertible, Shadowline appears along the body’s beltline.
- Front sport seats. BMW’s typical sport-seat contours, with more prominent side bolsters on the cushions and lower backrests, enhance lateral support; manually adjustable thigh support is also added.
Cold Weather Package
This Package includes heated front seats and steering wheel, and a ski bag that’s concealed behind centerpiece of rear seats and accessible through trunk. The heated front seats are also available as a stand-alone option.
New this year is the optional Pearl Leather, which gives owners the option of enhancing the feel of the interior. More supple and luxurious than the already impressive Dakota leather, Pearl Leather adds a different texture and distinctive stitching to the 6 Series interior. Complementing the Black or Beige Cream Pearl Leather are special sun blinds and center console in black Nasca leather.
6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission
6-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG)
Both of these choices, described earlier, are available in the 6 Series at no extra cost.
This convenient system eliminates the need to activate a remote to unlock or lock the vehicle, or to insert it into the dash before starting the engine. The system recognizes the authorized driver as he or she approaches, and unlocks the vehicle; upon exit, the user merely presses a door handle to lock the vehicle.
Active Steering offers unique benefits:
- Widely variable steering ratio. Steering-wheel movements for parking maneuvers,
- U-turns and sharp corners are greatly reduced for amazing agility. With increasing vehicle speed, the steering becomes “slower,” favoring stability over agility.
- Vehicle stabilization; in critical situations, can intervene to preserve stability. For example, if the driver applies the brakes while driving on a surface with uneven traction (one side of the road slick, the other grippy), Active Steering can recognize incipient instability and steer against it.
Active Cruise Control, 2nd generation
Compared to the 1st generation, the latest ACC offers significant improvements:
- Four radar sensors at the front of the vehicle, vs. previous two; these widen the unit’s field of vision from +/- 4˚ to +/- 8˚.
- Thanks to this widened sensory field, ACC better senses traffic ahead, “sees” better into curves, and better detects traffic in adjacent lanes.
- Can interact with the standard GPS Navigation to enhance ACC operation.
- The radar sensors’ lenses are heated, so the system works dependably even in miserable weather conditions. An exclusive BMW feature.
In its most basic description, ACC – in addition to the speed-maintaining, acceleration and deceleration functions of the standard cruise control – can adjust the BMW’s speed according to traffic conditions. Via the radar sensor unit at the front of the vehicle, ACC measures the speed of vehicles traveling ahead, and adjusts the BMW driver’s speed to maintain following distance.
ACC can also reduce vehicle speed when a curve is entered at too high a speed. Indeed, the new ACC “looks ahead” into curves and can adjust vehicle speed accordingly. In addition, the new interaction between ACC and GPS Navigation gives the ACC “knowledge” of the particular road the vehicle is traveling. This significantly enhances ACC’s driver assistance in a wide variety of driving situations.
An amazing facet of the new capabilities is that even though the system relies upon the Navigation database to determine its operational characteristics, it is not too rigidly linked to the database. It was essential to develop this “smart” capability because no matter how good the database, it can become outdated and may not be 100% correct even in the best case. Therefore the ACC continuously compares actual road conditions with those predicted by the database; the more discrepancies it detects, the less aggressive its intervention. Whatever automatic intervention occurs under such conditions, the driver can override it by stepping on the accelerator or brake pedal.
HUD displays driving information in color on a 6 x 3-in. field in the windshield, approximately in line with the end of the hood in the driver’s field of sight. Thus the driver can observe the information with essentially no diversion from the road ahead. Via the iDrive’s i-menu, the driver decides which information is to be displayed and the brightness of the display; the display can also be turned on and off.
The Night Vision system uses a thermal imaging camera mounted below the front bumper to help detect objects, using their heat signature, that are difficult for the human eye to identify in low light conditions. The thermal imaging camera covers a range of up to 300 meters or almost 1,000 feet ahead of the car.
The image generated by the system is transmitted to the Control Display monitor, which displays detected objects with increasing brightness as a function of the heat detected by the camera – making human beings and animals particularly conspicuous.
Logic7 audio system
Upgrades the entire audio system with –
- Increased audio power
- Even higher-caliber speakers, plus additional speakers (total 13 in Coupe, 11 in Convertible, vs. standard 8)
- Digital Sound Processing (DSP), adjusted along with other Logic 7 parameters on iDrive monitor
- Surround Sound simulation.
Developed by Harman International’s Lexicon division, this audio system incorporates an exciting digital Surround Sound process, which generates a 360-degree sound field to accurately re-create the acoustic intent of the original studio master. In its April 28, ’04 issue, Germany’s respected auto motor und sport magazine tested Logic7 in a 6 Series Coupe and concluded, “Bravo Harman: When one cranks back 500 and 5000 Hertz on the equalizer, one gets such a balanced tonality that it’s not just the V-8 that makes audiophile hearts beat a little faster.” Previously only available in the Premium Sound Package, the Logic7 system is now offered as a stand-alone option.
High Definition Radio
HD Radio provides higher-quality sound from terrestrial transmitters and requires no subscription. FM reception is of digital quality; AM achieves virtually the quality of current FM. HD Radio represents the greatest step forward in sound quality since the advent of FM broadcasting.
Initially, HD programming is coming largely from established radio stations. As this is written, more than 1,000 U.S. radio stations have added digital transmission capability; digital broadcasts also give more stable and dependable reception.
The HD equipment receives both analog and digital signals.
Sirius Satellite Radio
An appealing path to entertainment, news and information channels. Sirius service requires a subscription fee after the first year of BMW ownership.
Wood interior trim
Because some customers prefer the more traditional luxury of genuine wood interior trim, BMW offers light and dark tones of Birch wood at no extra cost.
Heated front seats
Though included in the Cold Weather Package, heated front seats can also be ordered separately.
Available as a BMW center accessory, the Convertible wind deflector reduces drafts and turbulence around the driver and front passenger when the softtop is lowered. It stores handily in its pouch in the trunk, is relatively light (5.6 lb.), and is easily mounted. For rear passengers, a similar effect is achieved by raising the retractable rear window.