2 July 2004

The first in a new generation of BMW in-line sixes makes its debut in the 635 Ci coupé and cabriolet in October. The £44,000 6-series is the first of a range of models powered by the revolutionary new six that features BMW’s Valvetronic technology and a new magnesium/aluminium block, making it seven per cent lighter than today’s 3.0-litre six. BMW’s latest engine will gradually spread to the 5- and 7-series, X3, X5 and Z4, and next year’s new 3-series. Forget the 635i badge – the engine remains at 3.0 litres, though at 255bhp, it has 12 per cent more power than its predecessor, while torque remains unchanged at 221lb ft and is available between 2500-4000rpm.

October also marks the launch of BMW’s new twin-turbo six in the auto-only 535d and, inevitably, it too is destined for every BMW bar the 1-series and sports cars. At 268bhp, the common-rail turbodiesel is claimed to be the most powerful in the class and, embarrassingly, outpoints BMW’s 255bhp 3.9-litre V8 diesel, sold only in Europe.

By employing a small turbo at low revs and a larger turbo for medium and high revs, BMW says the new 535d offers much improved responses. Torque peaks at 413lb ft at 2000rpm, though the torque curve is so flat that 291lb ft is on tap from just 1500rpm. At the same time, BMW announced that the new 500bhp V10-powered M5 will be priced around £62,500 when it goes on sale next April. Its engine is shown for the first time in our gallery.

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