New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Shark nose for new BMW 6 Series

2010-09-20 07:36

Adrian von Hooydonk is attempting to displace Chris Bangle’s styling legacy at BMW. His shark nose profile is a feature in this exercise, heavily influencing Munich’s latest designs – such as the new 6 Series.

BMW has released images and information about its third-generation 6 Series coupe two weeks ahead of its Paris auto show debut.

Although referred to as a concept by BMW engineers, the new two-door will essentially roll off the production lines in relatively unaltered form as the new 6 Series.

The Paris-bound car cues many styling details from BMW’s Grand Coupe concept shown back in April, 2010 at the Beijing show.

Particularly notable are its upright grille framed by full-LED illumination headlights and a defined air intake cut into the lower part of the bumper.

The contoured rump (featuring an integrated spoiler curved from the metal surfacing) is dominated by a set of oversized taillights.

Moving from Bangled design to Hooydonkism

Reflecting on the design as a whole, the new 6 Series is a less controversial car than its E64 series predecessor. Its stylised front third, described as a shark-nose treatment by Munich's designers, is less distinctive than the previous Chris Bangle design yet probably more acceptable to a broader spectrum of potential customers.

If you are an unapologetic BMW design enthusiast you’ll probably be able to trace some values from the Z9 Gran Turismo concept car of 1999 in the new 6 Series design – both vehicles, of course, being penned by current BMW styling boss Adrian von Hooydonk.

Expect most of the Paris concept’s detailing to survive homologation, with less ornate alloy wheels, more traditional exhaust ends and new side mirrors being the only notable alterations when the new 6 Series goes into production.

Cabin refinements see BMW finally moving away from its Darth Vader interior architecture, with a new steering-wheel design and prominent increase in contrasting textures (aluminium, leather and wood accents) embellishing the new 6 Series driver and occupant environment, resulting is an airier feel.

The centre-console shows a slight ergonomic bias towards the driver and houses a new 26cm iDrive display interface.

BMW's head-up display feature has been reconfigured to deliver greater clarity and information and a 16-speaker sound system from acoustic specialist Bang&Olufsen will feature as an optional extra once the new 6 Series is launched.

Essentially a two-door 5 Series

The new car will ride on the current F10 5 Series platform, an all-wheel independent chassis set to guarantee an outstanding blend of agility and adjustable damper addled ride comfort.

Engines? Expect the contemporary array of turbocharged in-line sixes and V8s, sporting the full-suite of efficient dynamics engineering trickery and driving via ZF’s excellent eight-speed automatic transmission.

An emissions sensitive 225kW version of the venerable three-litre, in-line six turbo will power a base 635i, with 303kW worth of twin-turbo 4.4 V8 driving the 650i.

BMW is set to continue with the M6 nameplate, too, gaining a 415kW version of the 4.4 V8 engine currently found in the X5/6 M SUVs. The M-division 6 Series is only expected to debut at 2011’s Frankfurt auto show and go on sale in 2012.

The third-generation 6 Series is expected to arrive at South African dealers during 2011.

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