- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004

The BMW 6 Series designation was last applied in 1989. BMW’s 6-Series (645Ci) has returned for 2004 with a vengeance. And, you can now opt for it two ways — 2+2 Coupe or Convertible. Both happen to be absolutely gorgeous automobiles, but my personal pick is the convertible version with its particularly unique top design.

Both 645Ci models are powered by the same powerful 4.4 liter, DOHC, 32-valve, Valvetronic V-8 found in the 745i, 745Li and 545i Beemers. The robust power plant generates 325 horsepower and 330 foot-pounds of torque with a very broad range.

Transmissions offered include: a six-speed manual; a Sequential Manual Gearbox; and a six-speed automatic with Steptronic featuring adaptive control and selectable Sport and Manual modes.

The wheelbase of the 6 Series is 4.3 inches shorter than the current 5 Series, yet similar in total overall length. It is 8.3 inches shorter than the 745i. The 6 Series shares no sheet metal with either the 5 or 7 Series cars. The 645Ci sports a wide track and a low profile. It is the epitome of sleek and sexy with a splash of racy thrown in for good measure. Crisp, sweeping character lines skillfully pull together the car’s highly contemporary design that is both beautiful and functional.

The interior of the 645Ci combines both digital and analog gauges, with the center stack controls surrounded by a panel finished in Pearl-gloss ruthenium, looking for all the world like titanium. There is a modified and easier-to-use i-Drive system, and to brighten the cabin, there is a power-tilting panorama glass moon roof.

In addition to the 645Ci Coupe’s stunning good looks, there is a most impressive inventory of standard features and technological marvels that enhance the BMW driving experience (or simply riding experience).

Highlighting some of the standard fare: adaptive xenon headlights, ambient light package voice activation and satellite radio, navigation system, on-board computer and rain-sensing wipers.

The test 645Ci Coupe had a base price of $69,300, but after adding the Cold Weather Package, the Premium Sound Package, Sport Package, Park Distance Control and destination charge, the final sticker moved up to $75,995.

The BMW 645Ci Coupe with the six-speed manual gearbox and Sport Package includes: active steering, shadowline exterior trim, exceptionally supportive sport seats and 19-inch alloy wheels shod with performance run-flat tires. It is, indeed, the ultimate driving offering.

The car accelerates off the line rapidly and smoothly, with the manual gearbox delivering smooth positive shifts. The ride quality is firm, but not harsh, and the handling is superb with the minimized effort provided by active steering.

If there was a shortcoming for this outstanding 6 Series Coupe, it was that the moon roof only tilted rather than opened, but that’s where the Convertible comes in isn’t it? Essentially, if you’re a nature connoisseur and liked the Coupe, you’ll simply love the 6 Series Convertible and it’s base price is only $7,000 more. Either way, you’ll appreciate having a sixth sense.

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