Mercedes-Benz is known to have had better days, but there’s one model in their range that is currently unprecedented and unmatched by any competitor. The very inventor of the four-door-coupe, the CLS-Class is an amazing mix of elegance, comfort, dynamics and practicality. While already a big hit, it has sure drawn the competition’s attention. Porsche are preparing their Panamera, Audi are working on the A7 and recently BMW have announced that the future 6 Series coupe will also offer a four-door model. A mixture of the Bavarian famous sedans and coupes the new “coudan” (if it will be to invent a name for this new breed) is expected for launch in 2011.
Recently, at the International Motor Show in Geneva, the BMW Chairman of the Board, Dr. Helmut Panke officially announced that BMW has currently in development two completely new model series.
"We are using the strength of the BMW Group and pushing emphatically ahead with the extension of the vehicle range. We will be further expanding with two completely new, independent model series, and thus continuing the profitable growth of the BMW Group.", has stated Panke.
No specific mention was made regarding the nature of the two forthcoming model series, but the first vehicle line is expected to be the highly anticipated BMW crossover, competitor for the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, an automobile to combine comfort and room with BMW dynamics.
About the second model series, the best guess would be that it is a competitor for the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The Mercedes “coudan” (coupe + sedan), as we like to call it, has been as smashing success all over, and has no competitor what so ever at the moment. BMW could not stand and look how they were beaten at their favorite game: building high-class sports-sedans. Their reactions will be based on the next generation 6 Series that will offer besides the usual coupe and cabriolet a four-door variant.
BMW design sketch
BMW has considered three possible manners of responding to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. The first of them was that of developing a coupe using the large 7 Series platform. That car would be unquestionably the descendant of the 1990s 8 Series high-end coupe. Another option was that of producing a shooting-brake based on the present 6 Series. Apparently, the chosen path was the third one and that of producing the next-generation 6 Series with both two- and four-doors.
The third generation 6-Series coupe and second convertible are rumored to be launched in early 2011. The four-door “coudan” is expected to follow in the fall of the same year. It appears that the two- and four-door models while have similar design and a minimum of differences.
With the two computer generated images we are presenting, you can get an impression of how the car is going to look like. It seems that BMW has finished the design experiments, and the models to come won’t make a major departure from the genuine BMW line. Some even say that a source of inspiration for the next BMW will be the famous 8 Series coupe of the 90s. That’s one thing no one will mind seeing as that is one of the most beautiful luxury coupes ever.
The first 6 Series coupe was launched as a successor to the E9 coupes, called the 2800CS, 3.0CS and 3.0CSi. The new vehicle, wearing the E24 internal designation code, had an improved chassis that was a lot safer than that of the E9, meeting the federal crash and rollover standards at the time. The official launch of the 6 Series was in August 1976, with the 633CSi and 630 CS (not in US). That car had a 3210 cc engine with 197 PS (145 kW). Starting with 1980 the 635CSi was also available, with a 3453 cc SOHC, 218 PS (160 kW) engine and a top speed of 138 mph. The 635CSi could reach 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which was great for that period. The luxury version, known as the L6 arrived in 1987 with leather headliner and trim and other accoutrements.
The 630 CS model was equipped with a 2986 cc I6 M30 engine featuring a Solex 4A1 carburetor, and producing 184 PS at 5800 rpm. The 633 CSi used the same 3.2 L engine, but equipped with a Bosch Motronic fuel injection system, offering an increased output of 200 hp. The 630 CS was replaced in 1979 by the more affordable 628CSi, with a smaller displacement (2788 cc) but retaining the same power. It was fitted same Motronic fuel injection as the 633.
In 1983, BMW started using the M88/3, a modified version of the M88/1 engine from the BMW M1 supercar and placed it in the E24 chassis, creating the famous M635CSi, or the first M6. It had a DOHC 24-valve 3453 cc, 286 PS (210 kW) engine, allowing for a top speed of 158 mph. The M6 was able to sprint to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. The M6 also had improved suspension, brakes, and a close-ratio manual transmission.
All of the original BMW 6 Series were built in Dingolfing, .
The current 6 Series goes well beyond that worthy ancestor, incorporating a muscular V-8 engine, some of BMW’s most advanced chassis technology, luxury and safety features that were unheard-of in the Eighties, and the availability of a Convertible as well as a Coupe. For 2006, the 6 Series features a new, more powerful engine; new standard equipment and options; and significant technical and esthetic refinements.
2006 BMW 6 Series and predecessors
For the new model year, the models are the newly powered and named 650i Coupe, at 72495$ including destination charge; and the 650i Convertible at 79495$. (Gas Guzzler taxes apply to some versions.) Each is powered by a new 4.8-liter, 360-hp Valvetronic V8 that is also winning hearts and minds in the ‘06 750i/Li and 550i models.
Under the new 650i models’ aluminum hood is a further evolution of the technologically advanced and unique N62 V-8 engine that powered the former 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.
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.
Click here to read more on the BMW 6 Series of the moment.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is the model to have invented the “coudans” It is the trend-setter now and it will kick off model year 2007 with three newly developed engines, even better safety and a more extensive range of standard equipment. The four-door Coupe is powered by the world’s first petrol engine featuring piezoelectric direct injection and spray-guided combustion. The 215 kW/ 292 hp six-cylinder engine of the CLS 350 CGI consumes about ten percent less fuel than a comparable V6 petrol engine with port injection. The CLS 500 will be equipped with the new V8 engine from the S-Class, whose output of 285 kW/388 hp is about 26 percent higher than that of the previous eight-cylinder engine. Another new development is the CLS 63 AMG, whose V8 naturally aspirated engine generates 378 kW/ 514 hp. Mercedes-Benz is enhancing the vehicle’s standard range of safety features by adding the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system and flashing brake lights. The new CLS-Class models will celebrate their market launches in June 2006.
In October 2004, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the four-door CLS-Class as a new kind of vehicle concept that for the first time combined the dynamism and features of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a saloon. In mid-2006, Mercedes-Benz will be further enhancing this series’ exclusive range of equipment and cutting-edge technology. In doing so, it will particularly set new standards with regard to safety and engine technology.
The range of engines for the CLS-Class now includes two eight-cylinder engines with high output and torque. The CLS 500 will be equipped with the 285 kW/388 hp V8 engine from the S-Class, whose output surpasses that of the previous eight-cylinder unit by about 26 percent. At 530 Nm the engine’s maximum torque also exceeds that of its predecessor by around 15 percent. The new CLS 500 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5,4 seconds, 0.7 seconds faster than the previous model.
Mercedes-AMG has developed the new CLS 63 AMG, which is powered by a 378 kW/ 514 hp V8 naturally aspirated engine. The new vehicle’s output has been increased by 28 kW/38 hp compared to the predecessor model, the CLS 55 AMG.
Mercedes-Benz is fitting the CLS-Class with flashing brake lights as standard to prevent rear-end collisions. These lights are more effective than conventional brake lights at warning drivers approaching from behind. In addition, due to faster braking reaction times, the braking distance can be reduced by about 5.5 meters at 100 km/h.
Click here to read our complete Mercedes-Benz CLS review.
Following the successful recipe used on the CLS, the Audi A7 will be placed, as the name indicates, between the large and the luxury sedans, both in size and pricing. Spy images show a test mule disguised in an Audi A4 body, but the extended wheels and wheel arches can clearly give an impression on the new vehicle sizing. The A7 is most likely to share the same platform with the A6, meaning that they will use the same engine range. Expected are the 3.2 L V6, 4.2 L V8 and larger gasoline engines, but 3.0 L and 4.2 L TDI are very likely. An eventual high-end model is considered to use the 5L V10 from Lamborghini Gallardo.
Design is presumed to be somewhere between the A6 and the new TT, mixing one’s size and elegance with the other’s nerve and aggression. Artist digital assumptions follow this idea including also elements considered fashionable nowadays, like the LED lamps.
A7 should make it’s debut on this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show as a concept and it is being expected as a final product for as soon as 2009.
Click here to see additional Audi A7 TopSpeed information