BMW 's 6-Series Coupe and Convertible models were recently redesigned with fresh styling, technology and safety features throughout the lineup. New for the latest model year on these full-size luxury machines is a turbocharged inline-six base engine and availability of all-wheel-drive.
Let's talk power
The 6-Series is offered as the six-cylinder 640i or the eight-cylinder 650i. Both engines come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the 650i also offers the choice of a row-your-own six-speed.
The 640i features BMW's smooth single-turbo "N55″ 3.0-liter inline-six, which makes 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Though slightly slower than the 650i, the 640i's smaller engines equates to a lighter overall weight and slightly more nimble handling as well as impressive fuel economy: the EPA rates the car at 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
The 650i packs BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 under the hood, which was upgraded for the latest model year with BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing and lift system. This change helps the mill to crank out 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque (upgrades of 45 ponies and 30 lb-ft). Zero-to-60 mph can be achieved in under five seconds, though fuel economy drops to just 15/22 mpg with the manual and 15/23 for the automatic.
Transmission technical details
It's no secret Americans love their automatic transmissions, sadly, even in convertibles sporting 400 horsepower, so BMW says it created a new eight-speed Sport Automatic transmission that aimed to blend speed, flexibility, sportiness and of course, efficiency. BMW points to its minimal torque converter slip and rapid gear changes as the transmissions' stronger features, but don't forget the now commonplace paddles located behind the steering wheel as well.
A convertible for all seasons
Available exclusively on the 650i is BMW's "xDrive" all-wheel-drive system, which adds a couple hundred pounds of agility-sapping weight but allows the big convertible to motor its way through all but the worst inclement weather.
Standard features included on the new BMW 6-Series Convertible include two-zone automatic climate control with convertible mode, a hi-fi audio system with CD player and AUX-In socket, a multifunction steering wheel, electrically operated front seats with memory function and a rain sensor with integrated automatic driving lights control.
Among the highlights of the optional equipment list are Adaptive Headlights, a heated steering wheel, active seat ventilation, active seats and the navigation system professional with a hard disk for storing maps and personal music collections.
The new BMW 6-Series Convertible is available with an even greater variety of driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive. It can be ordered with technology such as the Lane Change Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, Speed Limit Info, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, rear-view camera, Surround View and the BMW Parking Assistant.
Take notice to the fact that BMW's latest-generation Head-Up Display - a unique feature in this class - is making its debut in the new BMW 6-Series Convertible. The system projects driving-related information onto the windscreen within the driver's direct field of view. The three-dimensional graphics are now displayed using a full spectrum of colors, allowing real-life traffic symbols to be accurately depicted.
This refined new drop-top is fitted with a range of standard safety equipment that includes front airbags, head-thorax side airbags integrated into the seat frame, three-point automatic belts for all seats, belt force limiters and front belt tensioners, ISOFIX child seat mounts in the rear and a roll-over protection system.
The roll-over system further developed specifically for the new BMW 6-Series Convertible consists of two bars placed behind the rear head restraints. As soon as the central safety electronics register a danger of the car rolling over, the pyrotechnic release mechanism is activated, at which point the high-strength aluminum bars rise up from their rest position in a fraction of a second.
Carefully targeted advances in the use of materials and in the development of the car's load-bearing structure have significantly enhanced the body's construction in terms of the agility and safety it offers. Its static torsional rigidity is now around 50 percent greater than that of its predecessor. In the interests of weight optimization, the doors, bonnet and front axle spring mounts are all aluminum, while the front side panels, roof lid and boot are made from glass fiber composite.
As a large luxury drop-top with a degree of sporting ambition, the 6-Series Convertible can be cross-shopped against the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, the Jaguar XK Convertible and the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible.