BMW 6 Series Coupé and Convertible '08 Update
29th June, 2007
The ongoing update of the BMW line-up continues with the 6 Series joining the ranks of the revitalised.
With the half-yearly statistics for the Australian new vehicle market being announced next week, BMW are, no doubt, wanting an opportunity to gain some traction (so to speak) in an endeavour to hold their share of the market. For example, using the May YTD stats, BMW have a growth rate of just 4.1%. Yet the market, as a whole has a growth rate of 8.4% (over double the BMW growth rate). Compare that with the amazing growth rate of the Audi brand, which has a sales growth of 41%, some ten times the growth of BMW!. Amongst the other examples are Saab (growing at 16.5%, more than 4 times the BMW growth rate), Bentley with a 14% growth rate and even mainstream manufacturers are gaining market share (at a growth rate above that of the market's overall growth) such as Volkswagen (46.8%), Suzuki (40.5%), Nissan (26.2%) and Mitsubishi (17%).
Following the updates for some of the other products in their line-up, BMW has unveiled the new 6 Series Coupé and the 6 Series Convertible, ahead of their arrival in Australia late this year.
The new 6 Series models feature modifications to their design, an interior refined in many details and boasting new colour highlights as well as innovations in drive technology and on the driver assistance and safety systems.
Indeed, through their looks and style, combined with technology, both models are representations of the classic Gran Turismo, featuring modern highlights together with classic qualities.
Behind the wheel, you get the feeling of the eight-cylinder power unit featured in the BMW 650i Coupé and the BMW 650i Convertible. Developing maximum output of 270 kW from an engine capacity of 4.8 litres, this power unit allows performance combined with smoothness.
The new six-speed automatic transmission is tailored to the character of the BMW 6 Series, combining comfortable cruising with the option at any time to use the full power of the engine.
Style and sport are indeed the strongholds of the BMW 6 Series: Either as a Sports Coupé in the tradition of a Gran Turismo or as a Convertible enabling the driver and passengers to enjoy the wind rushing by in the traditional manner. Both models combine their strengths with the qualities of a large and spacious 2+2-seater.
The BMW 6 Series Coupé and Convertible stand for a heritage of no less than 70 years dedicated to the thrill of mobility and success in motorsport. Cars such as the BMW 327/328 Coupé, the BMW 3200 CS, the BMW 3.0 CSi or the first generation of the BMW 6 Series to this day still represent the combination of elegance and sportiness so characteristic of BMW.
The history of exclusive and driving pleasure with nothing but the sky above was originally introduced in the BMW 327 Convertible, the BMW 335 Convertible and the BMW 503 Convertible, all of them milestones in design, with a strong and lasting impact on the ongoing development of the brand and its products.
More than 75,500 6-Series cars have been built in just over three years.
Both the Coupé and Convertible now have a more powerful and striking stance on the road, the strong lines extending all the way from the A-pillars along the entire bonnet to the BMW kidney grille and forming a dynamic arrow further emphasised by the 'chiselled' bars in the lower air intake.
The air intake itself is even wider than on the former model and borders at the bottom on a new contour edge significantly highlighting the wide track of the car. The newly designed direction indicators, featuring LED light units with a crystalline effect, provide an even more distinctive signal than before.
Through their striking contours, the headlights give the front end of the BMW 6 Series a clear, focused look, new light technology adding further brilliance. Featured as standard, the bi-xenon dual round headlights are covered by a layer of clear glass at the surface, their corona rings now offering BMW’s daytime lights function.
With its long wheelbase, the long bonnet, the greenhouse moved far to the back and the low roofline tapering out to the rear of the car, the BMW 6 Series has the proportions of a classic coupé. And thanks to its unique Finn roof, the BMW 6 Series Convertible also offers the same, dynamic silhouette.
The light edge on the side-sills is more pronounced and distinctive than before on the new BMW 6 Series, offering extra contours to highlight the 'character' of the car. The new metallic paint colours Deep Sea Blue and Space Grey, as well as two new light-alloy rims, offer further options in rounding off the elegance of the new BMW 6 Series according to the customer’s individual preferences.
In the process of modifying the rear end of the car, BMW’s designers have continued the concept of ongoing lines extending around the entire vehicle. The section of the boot lid beneath the spoiler lip is more concave in design than before, rising up less steeply to provide not only a dynamic look, but also more distinctive light/shade contrasts, making the entire rear end of the car look even lower and more dynamic.
On both the Coupé and Convertible, the additional brake light is now integrated in the spoiler lip. The inner structure of the rear lights has also been modified to reflect the new lines of the car, with all light sources now being LED units.
The harmony of lines on the boot lid, the rear lights and reflectors is more intense and striking than before, the line formed by the lower edge of the rear spoiler sweeping gently downwards, where it is taken up by the outer contour of the rear lights. Then, following the design of the lights, the spoiler line, while still moving down, sweeps to the inside, where it is taken up by the contour of the low, stretched-out reflectors.
The dynamism of the car’s exterior design continues within the interior of the BMW 6 Series. Bearing a clear analogy to the exterior design of the car, the concept of dynamic harmony forms clear, flowing lines and tense surfaces. As an example, the cover above the dashboard starting beneath the windscreen extends back on both sides in an ongoing, dynamic line leading into the door panels and surrounding the armrests. Both the driver and front passenger are therefore cocooned by tense design elements continuing all the way to the centre console between the rear seats.
The exclusivity of the new BMW 6 Series is enhanced by the quality of materials on specific controls and instruments finished in new Chrome Pearl Grey Design as well as new colours for the interior trim and upholstery.
As an alternative to the “standard” version, optional interior trim strips made of grained maplewood, dark birchwood or aluminium with a longitudinal grain pattern give the interior either a stylish and elegant, or a more technical and progressive touch.
The standard finish in Pearl exclusive leather, with leather on the armrests, the door grab handles and the centre console, is now also available in Chateau Red and in a new upholstery colour, Saddle Brown.
Featuring a combination of leather and Pearl Grey chrome, the iDrive Controller matches the look of the new rotary buttons, thus enhancing the overall harmony of the car’s design.
Precise control of the system is further facilitated by a ring around the Controller made of extra-hard rubber, and to ensure even more intuitive use, the iDrive control system in the new BMW 6 Series comes complete with eight programmable favourite buttons allowing direct access to selected functions.
Once again, an eight-cylinder power unit is standard for the BMW 6 Series.
The 4.8-litre featured in the BMW 650i Coupé and the BMW 650i Convertible develops maximum output of 270 kW at an engine speed of 6,300 rpm, with peak torque of 490 Newton-metres at 3,400 rpm.
This aluminium power unit features throttle-free VALVE-TRONIC valve control, variable double-VANOS camshaft management on the intake and exhaust side, as well as an intake manifold switching to two different settings.
The new BMW 650i Coupé accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds and the BMW 650i Convertible completes the same exercise in 5.5 seconds. Engine management, in turn, limits the top speed of both models to 250 km/h.
Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 11.9 litres/100 kilometres on the Coupé and 12.9 litres on the Convertible.
Engine power on the new BMW 650i is transmitted to the rear wheels in standard trim by a six-speed manual gearbox leading to the driveshaft.
An option is BMW's newly developed six-speed automatic sports transmission combining comfort with fast reaction and gearshift times.
The driver controls the automatic transmission by means of an electronic gear selector lever, moving the lever briefly to the left from position D in order to activate the manual gearshift mode. This allows the driver to shift gears either via the gear selector lever or manually in a sequential mode by means of 'paddles' on the steering wheel. Yet a further option is to shift gears manually directly from the paddles, while pressing the Sports button positioned behind the gear selector lever, the driver is able to enjoy an even faster and dynamic gearshift. A further benefit is that the Sports button also modifies the progressive action of the accelerator pedal and, in conjunction with the car’s standard steering, the Servotronic control map, providing optimum conditions for acceleration.
The swing-calliper brakes with inner-vented brake discs are controlled hydraulically on the BMW 6 Series, now acting faster and more precisely than before in guaranteeing maximum stability and full brake power at all times.
A further important feature of the premium brake system on the BMW 6 Series is its low weight, the high-performance brakes on the BMW 650i being specially adapted to the supreme power of this outstanding eight-cylinder. And last but not least, all models in the BMW 6 Series come with a continuous brake pad wear indicator.
Offering a wide range of functions, DSC Dynamic Stability Control supports the driver in the process of handling the BMW safely. The first and foremost DSC function is to apply the brakes individually on the car’s various wheels as required, or to intervene in engine management in order to counteract any over- or understeer in bends.
DSC also comprises the ABS anti-lock brake control system as well as ASC Automatic Stability Control preventing the drive wheels from spinning on loose or slippery ground, a Brake Assistant, and CBC Cornering Brake Control to avoid under- or oversteer in bends.
Further functions are Fading Compensation whenever the brakes become particularly hot, regular Dry Braking to optimise the car’s stopping power in wet weather and a Start-Off Assistant enabling the driver to set off smoothly and without the car rolling back on an uphill gradient, without having to use the handbrake.
The Brake Assistant in the new BMW 6 Series forming part of the DSC control system is networked with the car’s other driver assistance systems, interacting with Active Cruise Control with its Stop & Go function available as an option in order to detect the need for extra stopping power in good time. This is done by radar sensors incorporated in the system, with the brakes being pre-loaded by reducing the normal activation thresholds on the hydraulic Brake Assistant.
Yet a further innovation is the pre-loading brake function moving the brake pads closer to the discs for immediate build-up of brake pressure, thus avoiding the slightest delay in the process of applying the brakes. In the event of an emergency braking manoeuvre, this precaution enables the brakes to build up their maximum stopping power faster than usual, making stopping distances shorter and offering valuable safety reserves.
Activated at the touch of a button, DTC Dynamic Traction Control serves to move up the DSC response thresholds for more dynamic performance. Specially optimised in the new BMW 6 Series, this DTC mode enhances traction on slippery surfaces and ensures an even higher standard of sporting performance under dynamic driving conditions.
The BMW 650i features 18-inch light-alloy wheels as standard equipment. All models are fitted as standard with runflat tyres allowing the driver to continue to the workshop even after a complete loss of tyre pressure. A further point is that the Tyre Defect Indicator permanently monitors air pressure, warning the driver by means of an optical signal in the instrument cluster as soon as tyre pressure drops below the ideal level by more than 30 per cent.
Feature as standard on the BMW 6 Series, Servotronic power steering provides assistance on the hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering as a function of road speed. Further enhancement of steering comfort is provided by Active Steering, varying the steering transmission ratio appropriately to provide a larger steering angle at low speeds with the same movement of the steering wheel than at higher speeds. In practice, this allows the driver to manoeuvre the car with less effort.
At higher speeds, on the other hand, Active Steering makes it easier for the driver to remain steadily on course, harmonising the feeling of the steering.
By way of yaw rate control, Active Steering stabilises the car in brake manoeuvres on varying surfaces (when applying the brakes with a modal split), counter-steering as required for superior safety and balance.
Yet another innovation ideally reflecting the character of the BMW 6 Series is the standard fitment of Dynamic Drive. This suspension control system features active anti-roll bars with hydraulic swivel motors on the front and rear axle, enabling the car to almost completely set off roll movements in bends and in a sudden change of direction. A further benefit is appropriate control of the car’s steering behaviour in a lane change or in hard manoeuvres serving to avoid an obstacle on the road.
Active Cruise Control with its Stop & Go function offers the driver support and assistance at the wheel.
This innovative system now available as an option in the new BMW 6 Series – on cars with automatic transmission – features automatic distance control allowing the driver to cruise along the motorway or on a country road, while constantly maintaining an appropriate distance to the vehicle ahead and, also, in stop-and-go traffic at very low speeds.
As soon as the distance pre-set by the driver is no longer maintained, the system adjusts the speed of the car by intervening in drive management and building up brake pressure, thus taking current traffic conditions into account. Then, as soon as the road ahead is free again, Active Cruise Control increases the speed of the car to the limit set by the driver in advance. The system even reduces the speed of the car to a standstill whenever necessary on account of current traffic conditions, bringing the car to a halt and holding it in that position.
The maximum deceleration generated by Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go is 4 metres/sec². And should the driver be required to intervene because the driver ahead is applying the brakes extremely hard, he will be informed to do so by appropriate visual and acoustic signals.
To support driver awareness, both the new 6 Series Coupé and the new 6 Series Convertible come with a newly developed optional assistance system helping to prevent the driver from inadvertently departing from the correct lane on the road. Referred to as Lane Departure Warning, this sophisticated system identifies departure of the car from the right track and gives the driver a discreet but noticeable signal at the most important point in steering the car – on the steering wheel itself.
The Lane Departure Warning System is made up of a camera fitted near the interior mirror on the windscreen, a control unit for comparing data and a signal transmitter generating a vibration signal on the steering wheel.
Innovative driver assistance systems provide the opportunity to mastermind the bi-xenon headlights of the 6 Series in a particularly intelligent fashion. The standard Adaptive Headlights, for example, guarantee appropriate illumination of the road ahead, following the road in bends and on winding passes.
A further improvement is variable light distribution introduced for the first time on the new BMW 6 Series to optimise the headlight beam and illumination also on a straight stretch of road: Operating as a function of road speed, this innovative control system automatically enlarges the driver’s field of visibility by broadening the light beam, the “footprint” of light, as it were. In a typical city light situation at speeds below 50 km/h, this ensures broader distribution of light making it easier to recognise objects on the opposite, oncoming side of the road. In the motorway mode, on the other hand, the driver’s field of vision is extended by giving the light beam a longer range and again offering greater illumination on the left-hand side with oncoming traffic.
Activation of the fog lamps at speeds of up to 70 km/h, in turn, generates broader light distribution and brightens up the area close to the car. And at higher speeds, finally, the headlight range is also extended over and above the broader distribution of light.
Automatic headlight control featured as standard activates the low-beam headlights without requiring any intervention by the driver whenever this is necessary – for example when driving through a tunnel or with conditions becoming darker at dusk. The rain sensor also featured as standard is an ideal supplement to the headlight control function, conducting optical measurements to automatically determine the onset and degree of precipitation, and thus activating the windscreen wipers accordingly.
The BMW 6 Series is the only car in its segment available with a High Beam Assistant. This unit switches off the high beam automatically as soon as the car encounters oncoming traffic or another vehicle ahead comes into sight or if the road ahead – for example in town or a built-up area – is adequately illuminated.
BMW Night Vision available as an option offers an even higher standard of safety when driving at night. The 'heart' of this unique system is a thermal imaging camera able to detect people, animals and objects emitting heat at a distance of up to 300 metres, then transmitting a high-contrast image to the central Control Display also used by the navigation system.
Both the BMW 6 Series Coupé and the BMW 6 Series Convertible are fitted standard with a Head-Up Display projecting information relevant to the driver such as the road speed of the car or navigation data to the windscreen directly in front of the driver.
High-strength load-bearing structures, generous and clearly defined deformation zones front and rear, side impact protection integrated in the doors and rear side panels and a stiff passenger cell allowing the entire structure around the driver to maintain its function as a survival area also in a severe collision – all these features provide the prerequisites for the standard of passive safety offered by the BMW 6 Series.
Other standard features are three-point belt inertia-reel seat belts on all seats as well as frontal and side airbags. The BMW 6 Series Coupé also comes with head airbags, while the BMW 6 Series Convertible features rollbars moving up automatically in the event of a possible rollover within fractions of a second from a module behind the rear headrestraints.
Both the BMW 6 Series Coupé and the BMW 6 Series Convertible come as standard with electrically adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger as well as a triple memory function on the driver’s seat. The front seats on the BMW 6 Series Convertible feature an integrated belt system, while on the BMW 6 Series Coupé the belt anchor points allow comfortable and convenient use of the car’s restraint systems.
Newly developed active headrestraints on the front seats once again enhance the standard of passive safety in both models, the headrestraints developing their protective effect in the event of a rear-end collision by automatically moving closer to the occupant’s head, thus preventing any rapid spinning or turning motion of the head, in the process significantly reducing the risk of upper spinal injury for the driver and front passenger.
To ensure this effect, the headrestraints are moved forward by 60 millimetres and upward by 40 millimetres as soon as the airbag control unit registers an impact at the rear of the BMW 6 Series and sends out a signal for pyrotechnical activation of the system. This, in turn, releases two springs moving the upholstered sections of the headrestraints into position to cushion the heads of the occupants, preventing any spinning or jerking movement resulting from impact energy.
As a highlight in the interest of motoring comfort, both the BMW 6 Series Coupé and the BMW 6 Series Convertible are fitted with the BMW Professional navigation system now optimised to a higher level. Among other features, the BMW Professional navigation system features refined graphic presentation on an 8.8-inch Control Display as well as new, particularly reliable voice entry exclusive to BMW cars.
High-quality audio systems and telematics functions serve to enhance touring comfort and driving pleasure in the new BMW 6 Series to a higher standard. Particularly the optional BMW Individual High-End Audio System guarantees exceptional quality of sound ensured above all by the 'heart' of the system, Dirac Live signal processing. The digital nine-channel amplifier with DSP Digital Signal Processing develops maximum output of 825 watt and, together with the particularly sophisticated loudspeakers, sets a new benchmark in the quality and reproduction of sound.
Over and above the AUX-IN bush featured as standard, a USB interface is also available as an option for linking up external audio sources. This allows the user to integrate MP3 players such as an Apple iPod into the audio system and to control the various functions by means of the iDrive Controller or, respectively, the multifunction buttons on the steering wheel.
One of the particular highlights offered by the BMW 6 Series Convertible is the use of a newly developed type of leather for the seat upholstery and interior panels. In this case so-called 'cool pigments' are integrated into the material in a process referred to as SunReflective Technology, reflecting infra-red radiation in the sunlight. This effectively reduces any undue overheating of the seat surfaces when the car is open, providing a difference in temperatures compared with conventional leather of up to 20°C in the case of dark colours.
Together with the design of both models and their standard of driving dynamics, the range of multi-faceted features help to give the BMW 6 Series its identity.
The history of the BMW 6 Series indicates how the car reaches the objectives set by BMW. By the end of February 2007 some 75,352 units of the BMW 6 Series had come off the assembly line. To be precise 41,446 Coupés and 33,906 Convertibles have been built. So within just three years, the BMW 6 Series already accounts for more than 85 per cent of its predecessor’s sales volume throughout its entire lifecycle. And now, with both models boasting a more distinctive profile, everything is in place for continuing the 'career' of the BMW 6 Series.
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