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Paris show: BMW hits another Six

Six of the best: BMW’s all-new coupe is set for the spotlight in Paris.

Next year’s new 6 Series Coupe revealed in concept form ahead of Paris show debut

BMW logo20 Sep 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

THIS is BMW’s next-generation 6 Series Coupe, which is due on sale globally by mid-2011 before being joined by a soft-topped convertible version before the end of next year.

The Bavarian brand’s next flagship coupe emerged today, a little more than a week ahead of its global debut in concept guise at the Paris motor show on September 30.

And it could be joined in 2012 by a production version of the four-door Gran Coupe concept that appeared at the Beijing motor show in April.

While the Gran Coupe will be BMW’s first direct rival for the likes of the Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, which will be officially launched at Paris, it is not yet clear whether it will wear 6 Series or 8 Series badges.

14 center imageWhat is clear, however, is that the Concept 6 Series Coupe for Paris has exchanged the bulky, aggressive look of the outgoing 6 Series for the more traditional, elegant BMW look introduced by the latest 5 Series sedan on which it is based, and also previewed by the Gran Coupe.

BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk, who designed the 1999 Z9 Gran Turismo concept that morphed into the existing 6 Series, has been reported as saying the Paris show car is almost identical to the production car that will be released next year.

The premium 2+2 coupe aims to demonstrate BMW’s “prowess in building sporty, elegant coupes” and, naturally, features a classic long-bonnet, long-wheelbase design with short front overhangs and a cosseting rear-set cabin residing within a low-slung profile.

A mix of concave and convex surface contours gives the 6 Series concept a more sporting flavour than the outgoing car, and BMW says this “interplay of linear and sculpted forms is inspired by the wave motion on the surface of a sea exposed to the winds and the tidal ebb and flow”.

Of course, a host of high-tech gadgetry befitting the 6 Series’ position at the top of BMW’s sportscar tree is fitted to the show car, including adaptive all-LED headlights, which appear for the first time on a BMW.

Accompanied by LED rings that incorporate the now-obligatory daytime running lights, the full-LED headlights are said to produce “a strikingly bright white light that makes for particularly intensive and precise illumination of the road”.

At the rear, BMW-trademark L-shaped tail-lights comprise two LED-powered light strips and, together with LED indicators and brake lights, are said to produce an unmistakable BMW look at night.

BMW says functionality, elegance and exclusivity are the hallmarks of the all-new 6 Series interior, which features a cockpit-style driving position and an all-new centre console dominated by a free-standing 10.2-inch iDrive control display.

The 6 Series show car, which will debut at Paris alongside the redesigned X3 that goes on sale in Australia early next year, also comes with a head-up display system and a high-end Bang & Olufsen sound system designed specifically for the concept.

It is believed to be about the same length as the current model – which measures 4820mm-long, 1855mm-wide and 1375mm high – but a slightly longer wheelbase and wider overall width is expected to liberate more stretching room, especially in the rear.

Expect the new Six to come with top-shelf engines from the closely related 5 Series, including a range-topping twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 from the upcoming M5 to power a replacement for the V10-powered M6, which is no longer in production.

Alongside the new X3 and 6 Series concept in Paris, BMW will again show the 1 Series Coupe-based Concept ActiveE, which offers both a 200-litre boot, a lithium-ion battery pack and a 125kW/250Nm version of the electric motor that will power its 2013 ‘Megacity’ EV.

Finally, BMW will also use this year’s Paris show to reveal new ConnectedDrive technologies for its latest 7 Series, including a cordless rear-seat telephone, a WiFi hotspot that allows wireless online access using a laptop or Apple iPad, a new Bluetooth interface for the latest Apple iPhone 4 and a new iPod Out function.

There is also new BlackBerry smartphone integration technology, which enables the display of emails and includes a text-to-speech function, while the range of Google services available in the car has also been extended to include the ability to display stored images of navigation destinations via the Google Panoramio service.

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