Driving Impressions and Tech Talk

New BMW 6 Series Convertible
to make world debut in Detroit
 December 8, 2003

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Top Down

Ever since the original 6 Series graced our roads, enthusiasts were tantalized by the notion of a convertible version of that automotive icon. For enthusiasts everywhere the wait is over. The all-new 6 Series Convertible makes its world debut on January 5th at the 2004 NAIAS in Detroit, Michigan. Drop-dead gorgeous looks, state-of-the-art technology, outstanding performance and unlimited driving pleasure with only the blue sky above - these are the ingredients that await four passengers.

Top-up or top-down, the 6 Series Convertible is stunning. With the top up it captures the same purposeful, athletic nature of the 6 Series Coupe. With the top down another dimension of its personality is revealed.

Performance Befitting an Icon

Top Up

The 645Ci Convertible is first and foremost a BMW, so dynamic performance comes standard. It shares its 4.4-liter V8 with the 645Ci Coupe - horsepower is 325, maximum torque is 330 lb-ft. Infinite adjustment of virtually all relevant parameters such as valve timing (double-VANOS), valve lift (VALVETRONIC) and intake manifold runner length enables the engine to adjust instantly to any demand and requirement.

Combined with one of three 6-speed transmissions available on the new model - manual, STEPTRONIC automatic or BMW's Formula 1-inspired Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG). The new Convertible will reached 60 MPH in about six seconds on its way to an electronically limited top-speed of 155 MPH.

The styling grows on you

Of course, you expect the new 6 Series Convertible to offer handling to match its straight-line performance. Active Roll Stabilization (ARS) is standard to keep things on-the-level even when one's driving gets enthusiastic by reducing body lean in corners. For those who care for an even finer edge, a Sport Package is available. In addition to sport seats and a sport steering wheel the package includes firmer shocks and springs and mixed-width 19-inch wheels with performance tires.

The Sport Package also includes BMW's innovative Active Steering. Active Steering enhances the driving experience at lower speeds increasing the amount the front wheels turn in relation to the amount the driver turns the steering wheel. At higher speeds stability is also improved by reducing the amount the front wheels turn in relation to input from the driver. Active Steering also features yaw rate control and is networked directly with the DSC system. It is thus able to intervene at an early point in time via the steering angle on the front wheels, stabilizing the car and allowing small corrections, which in turn reduces DSC intervention in the lower response range.

Four can ride in comfort and style... and bring their stuff.

An eye-catcher

The 645Ci Convertible offers all passengers comfort, luxurious features, and an ambience full of style and elegance. Power driver's and front passenger's seats are standard, including a triple memory function on the driver's seat, which adds the final touch of convenience to the ergonomic Dakota leather seats.

The rear-seat passengers also enjoy the very best in style and luxury. Although the roof is contoured and aerodynamic, like on the Coupe, even adults will enjoy ample headroom in back. Both rear seats are convenient to reach thanks to Easy Access on the driver's and front passenger's seat. Making it easier still, the seat belts are integrated into the front seats themselves, meaning that the passengers need not step around a seat belt when getting in to the rear seats or when getting out again.

Not only is there room for four passengers but also plenty of room for their luggage. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 10.6 cu. ft. with the roof open and 12.4 cu. ft. with the roof closed thanks to the variable roof compartment that folds up conveniently with just one turn of your hand. This is sufficient space for one large and one small hard-shell suitcase or, respectively, two 46-inch golf bags plus a medium-sized hard-shell suitcase. And thanks to the ski-bag, which is part of the Cold Weather Package, the driver and passengers are able to take along two pairs of skis or a snowboard without limiting space available inside the passenger compartment.

Technology blends with the elegant interior.

The cockpit

Within the luxurious interior the driving experience is enhanced by the standard DVD-based On-board Navigation System. This system is controlled, along with the sound system and other features, by BMW's innovative iDrive. The choice of sound systems includes the standard 8-speaker system or the optional Logic 7 system, which includes a 6-disc CD changer.

BMW's highly innovative optional Head-Up Display is available as an option. It projects important driving information directly into the driver's line of vision. This includes the current road speed, navigation instructions, speed limits and feedback from the Check/Control. The virtual image provided by the Head-Up Display is presented in front of the driver seemingly on the road ahead, and allows the driver to view the information without taking their eyes off the road.

Unique convertible top provides coupe-like noise and heat insulation

What the truck drivers see

Every convertible experience begins with the top. The newly developed roof on the 6 Series Convertible captures the look of the Coupe. It dampens exterior noise just as effectively as it braves the wind and weather, with a noise- and heat-insulating layer made of PUR plastic between the rubberized outer layer and the inner lining. The result is a very low noise level within the Convertible, allowing relaxed conversation even at high speeds.

The vertical rear window is made of glass and is electrically heated. The rear window can be electrically retracted completely into the luggage compartment bulkhead with the roof both open and closed. This creates a draft-free ventilation effect similar to that offered by a sliding roof in a Sedan. All side windows can also be fully retracted into the body of the car. With the top down, the rear window can be raised allowing it to act as a wind deflector for all four passengers.

Opening with full power operation, the soft top disappears completely within a matter of seconds beneath the firm cover on the roof compartment. The driver is able to open or close the fully-automated top from the cockpit simply by pressing a button or turning the key in the door lock. You can even do this when setting off or in stop-and-go traffic up to a speed of 20 mph. All windows close in the process and the soft top locks and unlocks.  

Comments can be sent to the author at feedback@autoracing1.com.




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