2010 Paris Auto Show
What is it?
BMW 6 Series Coupe Concept
What's special about it?
It may be called the BMW 6 Series Coupe Concept, but there's little doubt that the car shown at the 2010 Paris Auto Show is a barely cloaked preview of the exterior styling and luxurious interior of the upcoming third-generation 6 Series.
In place of the more muscular look of the current BMW 6 Series, the new concept introduces a more sinewy appearance in keeping with BMW's latest design lineage. We've seen it already on the new 5 Series and 7 Series, and now the BMW 6 Series is looking to deliver a knockout blow to the Jaguar XJ, Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe — cars the German carmaker's design boss, Adrian von Hooydonk, identifies among the new 6 Series' more keener coupe rivals.
Central to the new car's styling is its more tautly drawn sheet metal — something von Hooydonk says helps lighten its appearance while stretching its profile. Next to the old model, the new 6 Series, code-named F12, does appear longer, wider and lower.
BMW's design team has also reinterpreted many classic design elements. The kidney grille, for example, now tilts subtly forward. The signature swage line down the flanks is higher than before and provides a more defined shoulder line. The so-called Hofmeister kick at the base of the C-pillar is also reworked as part of a move to adorn the new 6 Series with added chrome around its frameless side windows — a feature lacking on today's model.
"We have drawn a good deal of inspiration from classic BMW models like the 3.0 CSi," said von Hooydonk of the new design during an exclusive preview attended by Inside Line in Munich, Germany, adding, "Our goal was to create a distinctive yet elegant-looking car."
The 6 Series' new look is, however, not without controversy, having largely been unveiled on the German carmaker's earlier Gran Coupe concept, which insiders at BMW's Munich headquarters in Germany continue to bill as a rival to the new Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS.
The two concepts share the same basic appearance and elements of their detailing, although von Hooydonk says the design was first developed for the two-door 6 Series coupe before being adapted to suit the four-door Gran Coupe. Only subtle differences separate the front and rear end appearance of the two cars, fueling rumors that the Gran Coupe may be called the 6 Series GT if or when it reaches showrooms.
Inside, the new 6 Series coupe retains the same 2+2 seating layout as its predecessor. Up front, an asymmetrical dashboard and high-set center console provide the driver with an all-encompassing seating position. The various controls and switchgear are largely 5 Series sourced, although the trims are unique. At the rear are two separate seats that fold forward to reveal a generously dimensioned trunk.
BMW has not released any detailed information about the mechanical layout of the third-generation 6 Series, preferring instead to focus on its sharp new styling for now. It's no great secret, though, that the new model, like its predecessors, sits on the same rear-wheel-drive platform as the 5 Series.
Among the engines planned to power the new coupe is a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder in a base 635i model and a 400-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 in a successor to the 650i. These are also expected to power its cloth-roof-flaunting convertible sibling, set to be revealed at the Geneva auto show in March 2011.
Both engines will come as standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a series of EfficientDynamics features, including brake energy recuperation and automatic stop/start.
Also planned, but not likely to see North American showrooms until 2012 following a reveal at next year's Frankfurt auto show is a new M6 running BMW's M division's 555-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 mated to a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox.
Expect to see the production version of the 2012 BMW 6 Series in U.S. dealers by the middle of next year.
Edmunds.com says: Reminds us of the long-forgotten 8 Series coupe. Not necessarily a bad thing, but we would have preferred something a little more original. — Andreas Stahl, Contributor