- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2003

THE HAGUE — BMW’s new sport coupe will be introduced to the market as the 645i with a 4.4-liter V-8 engine developing 333 horsepower and 332 foot-pounds of torque. This version has a limited top speed of 156 mph and accelerates from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.

BMW offers three six-speed transmissions: a hand-shifted gearbox, an automatic transmission and one it calls a SMG transmission with a gear lever and paddles on the steering wheel.

The rear-wheel-drive 6-Series is equipped with dynamic driving control and stability control, as well as traction control.

The suspension can be combined with the intelligent Dynamic Drive system that compensates for body roll during cornering.

Also available is active steering where the input of the driver is less at lower speed and higher at high speed.

The body of the new coupe is composed of a mix of steel, aluminum and composite material. The front end, doors and hood are made of aluminum, the deck lid and the fenders are made of thermoplastic. The use of these lightweight materials results in a weight of 3,527 pounds with an ideal 50:50 weight distribution fore and aft.

Other versions will be announced in Frankfurt. Among them will be the M6, the top version for which BMW has developed a V-10 engine with 500 horsepower.

In the first half of 2004 BMW will also introduce the 2+2 convertible with advanced wind-control design that especially benefits the rear-seat passengers.

The interior originates mainly from the new 5-series and it includes the latest generation of the iDrive system that debuted in the 7-Series and was simplified for use in the 5-Series.

The new 6-Series coupe will be equipped with run-flat tires, while options will include adaptive cornering lights, adaptive cruise control and a new panoramic glass roof with power shade.

BMW will offer a heads-up display later in the year.

The new car will be introduced on the German market by the end of this year.

It is not known yet when the car will arrive in North America.

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