BMW’s next-generation 6-series has been caught undergoing winter testing in the Arctic.
The new model is expected to be launched at the Geneva motor show next year as a replacement for the 5-series-based coupe/convertible, which has been on sale since 2003.
The styling may appear similar to that of the current-generation 6-series, but all of its panels will be new. BMW has gone against the trend of retractable hard-top roofs by keeping the fabric top seen on the current model. This improves its centre of gravity and also helps keep weight to a minimum.
The next BMW 6-series will share its platform with the BMW 5-series and 5-series GT, which is itself a shortened version of the chassis used on the current 7-series.
The sophisticated double-wishbone, coil-sprung front suspension system from the new 5 and 7-series should make it onto the 6-series, while the rear suspension will be an independent multi-link system.
The new BMW 6-series’ engines will be drawn from the 5-series range; they will be mildly revised versions of today’s six-cylinder petrols and diesels, and V8 petrols. The big-selling powerplants will be the 3.0-litre petrol (630i) and twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel (635d).
The next 6-series will also feature ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission. It will be capable of running with stop-start systems, the first time the car has had this ability. As part of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics, this should improve fuel economy and cut emissions.
BMW is shortening the launch gaps for M models, and the new M6 will be no exception. M6 sales are tipped to start by early 2011.
Expect a major change under the M6’s bonnet, where a new twin-turbocharged V8 engine will replace today’s V10.