Stories to fuel your mind

Car shark

The re-imagined 6 series BMW surfaces with slick, clean lines and lots of bite

Share the story

Story by James Au

Redesigns are tricky. Loyalists wait in anticipation forthe unveiling, which is teased car show after car show. New fans are won while traditionalists may feel betrayed. Everyone will have an opinion – this worked better on the older model; that looks so much better now.

But with the arrival of BMW’s 2012 6 Series Cab (and the Coupe due this fall), the ping pong-paced debate will give way to quiet – that sharp inhale and measured exhale that accompanies unspeakable, joyful awe. This one will please everyone

Sponsored Ads

Skim the surface

The BMW 6 Series was previously the last model to be be re-designed in the BMW line up. This third generation, designed by Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s Group Design Chief, is most notably leaner and more aggressive than its 2003 predecessor, as evidenced immediately by the return of its angular trademark shark-like nose and dynamic sloping lines. Van Hooydonk has said that the priority in designing this very special statement car was to increase sportiness and elegance in equal measure. This is easily accomplished with its stretched

wheelbase, increased proportions and sculpted horizontal details. Its wider, forward-thrusting nose is emphasized with twin round LED headlights and BMW’s iconic kidney-shaped grilles that lay flat and elongated. Fluid, oceanic lines sweep along its side panels, over strong, sculpted wheel arches and shoulders to a low, broad rear. Its width is further accentuated with a traditional trunk, smooth and long 5 Series-inspired taillights and rectangular tailpipes, ensuring it’s just as striking speeding away as it is making its stealth approach.

This grand, two-door touring car will be available in both coupe – bathed in natural light with a panoramic glass roof and large windows – and convertible, with its traditional soft, canvas top that lets it all in (while still offering excellent soundproofing). When the soft top is up, the shark emerges, revealing sporty black fins that increase both its speed and style. With 24 seconds to close and 19 to open, the top can be operated at speeds of up to 25 mph.

Though its overall height has been subtly diminished and its body packed into a tighter and more elegant design, the 6 Series still outstretches the competition – including the Mercedes-Benz E Class Cabriolet, the Jaguar XK and even the Bentley Continental GTC – at 192.6 in. long (2.6 in. longer than before, and wider too) and 4,500 lbs. Naturally, its size is matched by classic BMW intensity: jump from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds thanks to its twin turbocharged 4.4 litre, 32-valve V8 engine, with 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Offered with eight speed automatic or six-speed manual, the cartops out at an electronically limited speed of 155 mph.

Sponsored Ads

“Van Hooydonk has said that the priority in designing this very special statement car was to increase sportiness and elegance in equal mea”

Dive deeper

That’s enough time spent as an outside observer – the place you really wantto be is in the driver’s seat. Despite the 6 Series’ lower height profile, no sacrifices were made in carving outthe interior space – headroom has increased for both the front and the double rear seats, which enjoy a slight recline thanks to the wider wheelbase.

Once comfortably ensconced, the 6 is exquisite, washed in light, calming neutral tones, dashboard and leather seats trimmed with contrasting double stitching, a revamped steering wheel to match the pared-down design, and controls wrapped in chic black and stainless steel finishes. Angled six degrees toward the driver by way of flowing, sculptural lines, the center console creates a sleek, technological cocoon for the lucky one behind the wheel.

Dare yourself to look away from the eye-grabbing 10.2-in. screen the largest BMW has ever used – freestanding and raised above the dash, much like the flat screens you may have at home or on your desktop. The iDrive Control display shows off crisp, 3-D graphics in vibrant colour and offers plenty of driver-selectable information, like engine and vehicle speed, navigation directions, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot detection, Rear- and Top-view cameras, Parking Assistant and Heads-up display. All controls are easily within reach and user-friendly, and, to the delight of audiophiles, the sound system was designed exclusively forthe 6 series by Danish auto systems specialists Bang & Olufsen.

As with other BMWs, the Driving Dynamics Control system, tucked into the center console, allows drivers to customize their ride based on their mood – choose Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+ to adjust the throttle map, suspension firmness, steering effort and transmission shift schedule, among other options. And as always, BMW’s 6 is atthe forefront of safety technology, secured with a range of airbags, a rollover protection system and its full offering of breaking and traction control. All this to make driving an effortless pleasure. Subtlety, sportiness, elegance, power and safety: the wait is nearly over for the 2012 BMW 6 Series.

Related Articles