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BMW to bring back 6-Series sports coupe

July 23, 2003|John O'Dell | Times Staff Writer

Hoping to scratch BMW fans' sporty itch, the boys at Bayerische Moteren Werke are bringing back a big Bimmer coupe.

The last 6-Series, as the powerful sports coupes are called, was discontinued in the United States in 1989. An even bigger coupe, the 8-Series, was sold from 1990 to 1997.

The new coupe, the BMW 645Ci, is built off the current 5-Series sedan architecture but is powered by the 4.4-liter, 325-horsepower V-8 from the 7- Series. The 6-Series production model will bow in September at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in Germany, with U.S. sales to begin next spring.

Like the 5s and 7s, the 6 will sport BMW's new soft and curvy styling, with a low roofline and a long hood.

It also will make extensive use of aluminum and composite parts to save weight. BMW says that its top speed will be limited to 149 mph and that it will sprint from standstill to 60 mph in less than six seconds.

The coupe will come with a choice of three six-speed transmissions: a traditional manual, a Steptronic automatic with clutch-less manual mode, and a clutch-less sequential manual with both a floor-mounted shifter and shift paddles on the steering wheel, as in Formula One race cars.

BMW has not yet begun hinting at how it will price the 6-Series.

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