New Car Review: 2005 BMW 6 Series
SIX degrees of Acceleration
It has been a long time coming, but the new 6 Series is at your dealer and ready to add some civilized excitement to your life. It follows in the tire treads of some distinguished predecessors; the BMW 327, launched in 1937; the 503 of the late
BMW has enjoyed great success and practical ‘ownership’ of the small coupe and cab market with the sublime 3 series and M3, so why not take on the big coupe market where prices and profits are higher and the all important brand ‘halo’ effect more valuable? For a ‘small’ manufacturer BMW is on both a design and product roll. Already, in the past few months, we’ve seen the all-new 5 series, an X5 update and the new X3. Still to come is the 550bhp
technology that we are all to believe is the future. Well, as a small boy, at the London Motor Show, I successfully disassembled and reassembled the Talbot Rancho Mirage rear seats in under 60 seconds – to the total amazement of the attending press corps and PR staff. I also have a total surround system that I wired in my house and consider myself an early adapter of new technology, whether it be Bluetooth for mobile phones or wireless networking. That said, it took my co-driver and me 15 minutes to master the radio ON knob and discover that it has a mute button. Oh well. Whilst on the technology front, it frustrated me that there wasn’t any Bluetooth phone connectivity, nor audio input for an MP3 player, nor keyless go and intelligent cruise control. With all the confusion and criticism surrounding I-Drive the boffins have taken their eye off the ball a bit, although an optional heads-up display is coming in the summer.
Back to the business of driving the ultimate driving machine, if not the ultimate intuitive technology machine
The 6 comes in six different configurations, not counting wheel and package options, which include a six speed manual, six speed Steptronic auto and 6-speed SMG version of the manual with the cool F1 paddle shifters. All these are available in both coupe and convertible. Driving out to Pacific Coast Highway on Sunset is long and twisty and mostly clogged with traffic and, at rush hour speeds, the car certainly turned eyes in this auto fashion
I even had a couple of 7 series owners all around the car as we sped quickly to the ocean. Weighing in at 3781 for the coupe and 4178 for the convertible it does feel light on its feet. The adaptive steering works well, tightening up securely and allowing you to know what’s going on up front, whilst making parking offensively easy. The exhaust sounds are great, too, thanks to some clever engineering and active exhaust resonator. These days there’s nothing worse than a sexy, sculpted car with bags of presence and nothing to shout about on the oral stimulation front. Listen to an SL 55AMG next to a stock SL and you’ll see what I mean.
Cruising along PCH and heading for the canyons, the 6 felt tight and very responsive. Featuring the 4.4-liter V8 pumping out the standard 325bhp / 330Ib-ft.torque, it’s enough to propel the coupe to 60mph at just over 5 seconds, the conv auto at 6 seconds. Acceleration is very smooth right up to redline at 6100, with max torque available at a paltry 3100RPM. Equipped with the optional $2800 sports package - that features active steering, 19in sport wheels and run flat tires (245/40R-19 front and whopping 275/35R-19 rear) - the car is extremely sure footed and, even with the traction control off, sticks to the asphalt in even exuberant maneuvering. Twelve-way electrically adjustable seats keep you comfortable and the steering wheel is also electrically adjustable for both rake and reach, providing a comfort envelope that can suit even the most physically demanding user.
After lunch it was time to head back from Ojai and get mildly bronzed in the 2+2 cabriolet. This
I dropped off my passenger and headed off to get some street reaction. This car had not been seen in on the boulevards of Beverly Hill before so I decided to pick up a friend who writes style columns for both British and American newspapers and certainly knows ‘the scene’. First stop was “The Ivy” on Robertson, home to celebrities who do lunch
all concerned, (except BMW, of course), I dutifully returned
the car after an
hour spent cruising on Sunset Blvd,
MSRP, $69,995 Coupe; $76,995 Convertible; including destination, base models, not including government fees and taxes.