Is BMW replacing the 6-series cabriolet with a coupé-cabriolet? These are the first pictures of the next BMW 6-series, spied on test in Munich. Although at first glance the car looks like it has a fabric roof closer inspection shows that the cloth is probably a fake.
The rear glass on the next 6-series is the wrong shape for a cabrio and the fabric around the rear side window appears to be loose and ill-fitting, which you wouldn’t expect to see on a car with a real fabric roof. BMW would not confirm or deny the 6-series as a folding hardtop, but the firm has moved most of its convertible models to folding hardtops – the 3-series cabrio and the next Z4 are both coupe cabrios. The new 6-series is also significantly less radical looking than the current model. Like the new 7-series, it does away with most of the controversial surfacing and detailing that has typified the last seven years of BMW design in favour of a smoother look. The 6-series’s most distinctive feature – the bustle boot – has gone, replaced by a much more conventional design partially dictated by the large, flat rear deck that lifts to accommodate the roof. The car now has the rising waistline of a coupe-cabrio. At the front the wide double kidney grille gets even wider, although this car has a fake one-piece mesh grille. The production vehicle will use a grille similar to the Concept CS’s. Underneath the car is again based on the 5-series, in this case the next-generation car that will be launched next year.By using the big selling 5-series as a basis for the 6-series, BMW can charge a premium for a car that has already had most of the costly development work done. As with the current 6-series, we expect the new car to be launched about a year behind its saloon cousin, meaning that it should be here in 2010.And despite the opinion-polarising looks, the 6-series has proved popular, outselling the Mercedes SL. European sales to August reached 5152, up on 4520 in the same period in 2007. The SL managed 4155 and 3321.