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.

Trimmed BMW 6 Series in SA

2008-01-18 08:54

Hailey Philander

BMW's 6 Series has been called in for a mid-life nip-and-tuck, and while the physical changes are barely discernible, this GT remains a very decent way to spend some time behind the wheel.

From the outside, you'd need to look really close to spot the changes on the Six. Its front spoiler and side skirts appear "sharper", the headlamp clusters are new (to go along with the standard adaptive lights) and indicators now benefit from bright LED technology.

The integrated fog lamps are new, too, recessed within the wider front air intakes. Revised Six also has a new boot lid.

Inside the cabin, new finishes have been added for the fascia and trim across the interior. These include, on the convertible, sun reflective technology for the upholstery that inhibit fade and keep the leather's surface temperatures down. This technology was first seen on the 3 Series convertible.

Also carried across from the drop-top Three is BMW's automatic sport gearbox with paddle shifts.

Power up

The most notable changes to the 6 Series are perhaps beneath the surface, and this gem of an auto is a welcome addition. Your rewards for flooring it in full automatic mode are rapid acceleration matched with rapid up-changes. Popping the Sport button just ahead of the gearshift allows for more energetic responses to throttle input, particularly in sequential mode.

Slotting it into manual mode and getting the hang of the paddle shifts - both paddles allow for up and down shifts - could have been a bit challenging at the start, but leaving the gearbox in auto to do its own thing is equally gratifying.

The standard manual transmission is as impressive with signature BMW slick shifts and a punchy clutch action allowing you to neatly put the power to the blacktop.

Of course, it helps having an engine that is powerful to start with. Although the car is mechanically unchanged, power is again provided by a 4.8-litre V8 petrol engine with Valvetronic valve control and double Vanos variable valve timing technologies.

BMW claims maximum output of 270 kW at 6 300 r/min and peak torque of 490 Nm at 3 400 r/min. The 650i accelerates to 100 km/h in about 5.1 seconds with an average fuel consumption of 11.7 l/100 km (versus the 10.5 l/100 km quoted for models fitted with the automatic sports transmission).

Slight changes

Perhaps one of the most unnerving additions is the revised optional active steering that allows the car to sort of flutter across the surface in the dead-ahead position, which calls high-speed stability into question, although it does tend to tighten up nicely in the bends.

Other new, and standard on the 6 Series, features are a lane departure warning system and active headrests.

Cruise control with braking function in standard on all Sixes, while an active system that allows for stop-go driving in traffic in optional.

The facelift has also been carried across to the M6 coupe and convertible models.

650i coupe - R850 000
650i convertible - R933 500
Automatic sports transmission - R16 800


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.