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2005 Luxury  Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

2005 BMW 6 Series
2005 BMW 6 Series

Combine lithe styling, surly attitude, an abundance of advanced technology and superior road manners and you get BMW's latest luxury jewel, the resurgence of the long absent 6 Series. Unlike its sedan stable mates, the midsize 5 and larger 7 series, the in-between 6 is the return of two-door and topless in a seriously fun premium luxury automobile.

BMW brought back the 6 Series a year ago to an anxiously waiting coupe crowd not willing to settle for anything but the Bavarian auto maker's noted driver's car credentials. They had languished for some 16 years anticipating the return of a larger performance two-door that could coddle at the same time it commanded the road. BMW answered with the 645Ci coupe and 645Ci convertible upper level sports models.

BMW brings in '05 with what it calls "detail evolution," that translated means the tweaks and refinements any newcomer goes through to adjust to initial reaction and requests. For the 6 Series, that includes standardizing some previous options and a $500 price boost. The Sports Package's active steering also becomes a stand-alone option, as does head-up display (a late model year arrival) and active cruise control. The Park Distance Control feature is standard, and Stratus Gray Metallic, previously reserved for limited-edition Nieman-Marcus coupes, goes on regular models.

The 6 Series begins where sedans and roadsters end. A wide stance, long hood, minimal overhangs on a shorter wheelbase and lower profile makes it an ideal performance car. Its larger size holds luxury amenities with more comfort room.

Things such as Double VANOS and Valvetronic variable valve technology help deliver the expected BMW response from the 325-HP V8. Manual and STEPTRONIC auto with manual function join BMW's "third way" transmission that can shift with steering wheel-mounted paddles and no clutch pedal. All are six-speed. Cruise control can be programmed with six preset speeds.

The 6 Series coupe and convertible don't stint on amenities. That's as expected from vehicles launched for '05 at $70,595 and $77,595 respectively before options. On the inside, aluminum pedals spice up the sporty look. iDrive pulls together the navigation system, communications, comfort controls, entertainment and BMW's emergency service. A Logic 7 premium sound system soothes the soul of the beast in leather-seated comfort when white knuckle driving is done.


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