Accomplished handling comes courtesy of trademark 50:50 weight distribution and all-aluminium chassis and suspension. In addition, key BMW driver aids Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) provide a standard ‘safety net’ to keep the car going in the intended direction.
Dynamic Drive and Active Steering can be specified as 6 Series options, further enhancing the driving experience. Virtually eliminating body roll in bends, Dynamic Drive features step motors which build up counter forces on the car’s anti-roll bars, improving ride comfort while cornering.
Active Steering uses a step motor to vary steering ratio according to speed. At low speeds agility is enhanced, with less steering wheel input required for a sharper turning angle. This makes the vehicle easier to manoeuvre in situations where drivers most need assistance, such as town driving or parking in tight spaces. As speed increases the steering becomes progressively more indirect and firm, enhancing stability and comfort, and ensuring smooth and precise handling.
Punctures used to leave drivers stranded by the roadside, waiting for help or facing the prospect of a wheel change. However, with run-flat tyres as standard, 6 Series drivers can continue to drive for up to 90 miles at 50 mph, reaching a safe destination or garage with minimum inconvenience.
Consider the options
The new 6 Series boasts a range of state-of-the-art innovations as options which boost the appeal of an already impressive car.
Active Cruise Control (ACC) is more ‘intelligent’ than normal cruise control, keeping the car at a pre-selected speed but monitoring traffic ahead to ensure a programmed distance is maintained. If a car pulls out in front, or lane speed suddenly slows, ACC automatically adjusts speed, braking if necessary. The system then accelerates again when a safe distance has been reached.
Adaptive Headlights improve visibility, allowing drivers to ‘see’ round corners. Swivelling by up to 15 degrees, headlamps turn towards the direction the vehicle is steering rather than where it is pointing. This illuminates more of the road ahead, allowing earlier recognition of any obstacles or pedestrians.
Bringing aircraft technology to the 6 Series, BMW debuts Head-up Display (HUD) in March 2004. HUD projects a host of salient information directly onto the windscreen, including navigation directions, speed and Active Cruise Control display.
The transparent display promises to reduce fatigue over long journeys, as drivers need take their eyes off the road less often. It also enhances safety, warning of any hazard or failure, like an open door or lamp failure, as soon as it happens via Check Control messages.
Space and sound
As well as ample room for occupants, the new 6 Series features the largest luggage compartment in its class, with enough space for two golf bags and a suitcase. Automatic air conditioning and a hi-fi audio system, matching top-of-the-range home entertainment system quality, come as standard.
Available in the UK from December 2003, the BMW 645Ci will be supplemented by a convertible model in 2004. On-the-road prices and standard specification will be confirmed later.Published 15 July 2003