Twelve days remain until the 2010 Paris Motor Show opens to the press, and BMW is hitting the ground running, releasing the preliminary details on its coming attractions. The BMW Concept 6-Series Coupe shown here is a design study for a premium two-plus-two that takes the 6 marque into the next decade.
BMW is playing this one close to its vest, revealing only a handful of details about the car. While still most certainly a BMW coupe, the new 6-Series design study fixes many of the problems with the previous model (the horrendous trunk treatment in particular) without looking derivative or taking the safe route. The front end is likely to stir some controversy, incorporating the new BMW corporate face with a unique flair.
The LED headlights follow the road thanks to BMW's Adapative Headlight tech, while the interior adopts a more driver-centric design appropriate to its sporty coupe shape. The upgraded iDrive Control Display is now a 10.2-inch unit. The concept model is also equipped with a heads-up display and a bespoke 16-speaker hi-fi audio system from Bang & Olufsen.
The four-door sister to the 6-Series Coupe, the Concept Gran Coupe, was revealed at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show. It is already on the road to production. Like the Gran Coupe, this "design study" is likely to roll straight into production. Hit up page two for the rather lengthy official analysis of the new concept's design.
We'll have the details on the Concept 6-Series Coupe live from the Paris show floor. To get a handle on all the models coming to the show, check out our previous Paris Auto Show coverage.
Fascinating vision: BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé.
The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is a fascinating vision that blends traditional values with innovative design language. This concept model, unveiled for the first time at the 2010 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, showcases the experience the brand has acquired in more than 70 years of building sporty and elegant coupés. It also paves the way for a new, aesthetically powerful and dynamic interpretation of this breed of vehicle. With the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé, the German premium carmaker is presenting a new definition of luxury-class 2+2-seater driving enjoyment and exclusiveness.
The powerful proportions and sporty yet elegant lines of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé provide the perfect packaging for its dynamic performance and personality. All the classic hallmarks of a BMW coupé are present, including the stretched bonnet, the short front overhang, a passenger compartment set well to the rear, and a low silhouette incorporating a dynamically flowing roofline. The principal bodywork lines run the full length of the concept model, and there is a strong sense of stylistic unity between all the different parts of the vehicle. The lines and surfaces seem to ripple out in a dynamic, pulsating wave.
Eye-catching features of the concept model include the new LED headlights, which combine the typical BMW twin round headlight format with innovative lighting technology. The all-LED design, featured for the first time on a BMW, produces a strikingly bright white light with very sharp and intensive road illumination. The functionality includes Adaptive Headlights, i.e. the headlight beam follows the road at all times. The LED rings for the daytime driving lights accentuate the characteristic, unmistakable BMW front-end styling.
The interior of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé conveys functionality, elegance and exclusiveness. The fluent lines and smooth transitions in the cockpit area produce an ambience that extends to the whole interior, embracing both the front- and the rear-seat occupants. The driver-centric interior design is typical of BMW and a hallmark of a sports coupé. Keynotes are the exceptionally stylish design in the centre console area and, providing a further innovative touch, the freestanding 10.2-inch iDrive Control Display in the centre of the instrument panel. The concept model is also equipped with the Head-Up Display system that offers world-beating functionality and display quality. For maximum listening quality, the hi-fi system was designed especially for the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé using high-quality components from Danish audio systems specialists Bang & Olufsen.
A proud tradition: the BMW coupé.
As a byword for sporty driving enjoyment, coupé models have a special place in the history of the BMW brand. The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is the latest chapter in a tradition which stretches back 70 years and is richly packed with memorable racing wins and many legendary icons in automotive design. Milestones in this evolution include the BMW 327 and BMW 327/28 models, the racing coupés based on the BMW 328, the BMW 503, the BMW 3200 CS, the BMW 2000 CS, the large coupés based on the BMW 3.0 CSi and, from 1976 onwards, the BMW 6 Series models.
With its flawless elegance and impressive performance the BMW 327 Coupé, unveiled in 1938, quickly established itself as the brand’s most exclusive pre-war model. With barely a pause, the dynamic performance was then taken a stage further by the BMW 327/28, whose 80 hp sports engine was taken from the BMW 328 Roadster model. In 1940, a one-off coupé version of the BMW 328, driven by Fritz Huschke von Hanstein and Walter Bäumer, was the overall winner of the Mille Miglia endurance race. This triumph came courtesy of rigorous lightweight design, optimized aerodynamics and a powerful and reliable 136 hp in-line six-cylinder engine. In other words, the winning vehicle displayed characteristics which still form the backbone for the design of the more sporty BMW models to this day. The traditional coupé values were given a modern interpretation in the BMW Mille Miglia Concept Coupé, unveiled by BMW in 2006 as a salute to the unsung heroes behind the BMW 328’s triumph – the engineers.
In their respective decades, both the BMW 503 from 1955, designed by Albrecht Graf Goertz, and the BMW 2000 CS created by Wilhelm Hofmeister and unveiled in 1965 set new standards in coupé design. The slim pillars and svelte roofline, the narrow BMW twin-kidney grille and the Hofmeister kink at the base of the C-pillar, named after BMW’s chief designer of the time, gave the BMW 2000 CS an unmistakable and elegant styling signature. The design language was developed a stage further in the next-generation model – as was the sports performance, with an even more powerful range of engines. The proportions of the big coupé were refined and improved by a longer bonnet, while twin round headlights gave the front end a characteristic sporty appearance. By 1973 the BMW 3.0 CS, BMW 3.0 CSi and BMW 3.0 CSL models had been launched, powered by in-line six-cylinder engines developing up to 206 hp. In motor sport, too, these models held sway for many years.
The BMW 6 Series has similarly stirred and spurred a passion for sporty driving in a stylish and luxurious two-door format for many years, right through to the BMW M6 Coupé of today with its unmatched dynamism and athleticism and its 373 kW/507 hp high-revving ten-cylinder engine.
Classic coupé proportions in a distinctly sporty format.
A BMW coupé’s design is a stylish and authentic expression of superior sports performance rooted in the company’s unique experience in engine and chassis development. The proportions, the aesthetically powerful design language and the flowing lines epitomize the characteristic blend of dynamism and unassailable elegance – a design principle that underpins the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé as well, though in a modern and innovative interpretation. The concept model is an extremely sporty premium luxury-class 2+2-seater. Taking passion for the Ultimate Driving Machine to new levels in the BMW 6 Series range, it is an expression of driving enjoyment at its most exclusive.
The low silhouette of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé points to the low centre of gravity, which is reflected in agile, surefooted handling. The long bonnet and a passenger cell which is set well back provide advance warning of the Coupé’s eager responsiveness and its dynamic power delivery and sprinting performance. The powerful sculpting of the bodywork surfaces, particularly near the rear wheels, gives the concept model an even more athletic appearance, while the roofline in particular, flowing elegantly towards the trailing edge at the rear, is a reminder of the concept’s carefully honed aerodynamic qualities.
Dynamic wave effect underpins naturally flowing lines and surfaces.
The bodywork surfaces are defined by bold, precise lines, which divide the body into a mix of concave- and convex-contoured surfaces. The counterpoint between lines and surfaces lends the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé a natural, authentic aura of sportiness. This interplay is reminiscent of wave motion on the surface of an ocean, generated by the ebb and flow of wind and tides. All the bodywork lines are continuous and uninterrupted throughout their entire length. They connect the front, side and rear sections of the vehicle to create a sculpted body shape that radiates harmony from every angle.
Road-hugging front end: hallmark BMW styling cues in a new interpretation.
The wide, low-slung, road-hugging front-end stance of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is an accurate reflection of its sporting temperament. The bonnet surfaces are defined by four lines which gradually converge at the front of the vehicle. The two inner lines follow a trajectory towards the BMW emblem, while the two outer lines terminate at the outer edge of the BMW kidney grille, which is wider at the top than at the bottom. The BMW kidney grille marks the front extremity of the body, its slight forward rake imparting the first taste of sportiness to come. The effect is increased by the slight angle in the upper part of the kidney grille bars, which sport hardened glass inserts. This elaborate sculpting gives the hallmark kidney grille an extra-luxurious and avant-garde touch.
The headlights, which are set well back, and below them a bumper contour line that flows downwards and outwards, make the kidney grille appear even more dominant. The lower air intake runs the full width of the front end and is divided by horizontal chrome struts with an undulating surface. A crease defines the lower edge of the air intake and wraps round to the outer sides, where a slight curve draws attention to the wheels and thus to the sense of width. Sharply raked foglamps placed well to the outside of the bonnet, and powered by three adjacent LED light units, further accentuate the width and bold stance of the concept model.
Innovative technology, enhanced styling, typical BMW night-time look: all-LED twin round headlights make their debut.
The characteristic front-end appearance of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is partly down to the typical BMW twin round headlights. The outward-pointing top part of the trapezoidal headlight housing guides the eye to the widely flared wheel arches. With this concept model, BMW is for the first time presenting all-LED headlights with Adaptive Headlight functionality. LEDs are used for all functions, from the dipped and main beam to the sidelights and daytime running lights, and the direction indicators. The LED accent lights which cut across the top of the twin round headlights create the hooded, intent look characteristic of BMW models.
The innovative lighting technology is accentuated by the upscale styling. One of the cylindrical headlights emerges slightly further than the other from the interior of the light unit, thereby preserving the twin round headlight look even when viewed from the side. The headlights, which are leveled off at their lower edge, are bisected by horizontal ribs containing the LEDs. The diodes produce a strikingly bright white light that provides particularly intensive road illumination. They also reduce dazzle and have very low energy consumption. In addition the all-LED headlights are used for both the dipped and the main beam functions, while Adaptive Headlight functionality is incorporated as well. That means the headlights follow the road, swiveling in line with the steering angle and at a speed matched to that of the vehicle.
The sidelights and daytime driving lights take the form of LED rings, the lower edge of which is leveled off – a characteristic theme of this innovative lighting technology. Horizontal strips of six LEDs under the twin headlights are used for the direction indicators. Their lines match those of the similarly horizontally styled LED foglamps, which are located in the lower air intake.
Side view: athletic elegance points to sporting supremacy.
The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is a premium-class concept that combines outstanding sports performance with style and assurance. At the visual level, these characteristics are communicated by a design that combines the athletic aura of a sports car on the one hand with luxurious elegance on the other. This is particularly striking in side view, where classic BMW coupé features, presented here in a new interpretation, deftly highlight the distinctive character of this concept model.
The elegantly elongated silhouette of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé presents the familiar hallmarks of a sporty BMW 2+2, comprising a long hood and wheelbase, a passenger compartment which is set well to the rear and a dynamically flowing roofline. The athletic character of the concept model is generated by sculpted surfaces whose powerful flowing and merging contours create an authentic sports feel. The side view of the vehicle is defined by four striking lines. The shoulder line runs in a fluent sweep from the headlights to the front wheel arch and on through the waistline and C-pillar to the tail. The typical BMW swage line runs parallel to this. It starts in the gill high up in the front side panel and runs steadily upwards via the door handle to the rear lights. It accentuates the elongated look of the body and, in conjunction with the door sill line, creates a dynamic wedge shape. Below the swage line, a character line, which likewise starts in the side gill, follows a downward trajectory initially and then runs parallel to the door sill line and on into the tail. The precise interplay of lines and surfaces is most apparent in the rear wheel arch area. The powerful bulge directly above the rear wheels reduces the prominence of the contour line in this area, giving a sense of natural forces harnessed in a consistent and unified body design.
The alloy wheels specially designed for the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé again tie in closely with the sporty and exclusive character of this concept model. The 20-inch multi-spoke wheels are a one-off design milled from a solid aluminum block. The individual spokes have an elaborate three-dimensional design, with precisely defined contours and weight-reducing milled openings running parallel to the direction of travel.
Rear design: low visual centre of gravity and accent on width.
The rear styling is dominated by horizontal lines which, in conjunction with the wide track and wide wheel arch flares, accentuate the sense of width and the powerful stance of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé. The shoulder areas protrude clearly in rear view, so that even from this angle there is no mistaking the athletic character of the vehicle. The slightly concave rear part of the boot lid, along with the bumper, the diffuser-style rear apron and all other elements of the rear end, are wide and low-slung. The visual centre of gravity is strikingly low and road-hugging – an effect that is generated mainly by a V-shaped line running from the sides of the boot lid down to the low-mounted number plate surround.
The crease at the lower edge of the body wraps round from the sides of the Coupé into the rear and finishes in the tailpipe surrounds, which are set well to the outside and enclose matt-polished trapezoidal exhaust tips. The low-rise, horizontally mounted reflectors, which have been removed to the bumper, likewise underline the sense of width in rear view.
The typical BMW L-shaped rear light clusters of the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé create a further visual link between the sides and the rear of the vehicle. They are split into two parts and extend into the boot lid. Inside the units, two LED light strips create the typical BMW night-time look. This effect is enhanced by the L-shaped lower light unit. The direction indicator, tail light and brake light are likewise LED-powered.
Interior: luxurious, avant-garde and stylish.
The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé has a full glass roof which lets a great deal of light into the interior of the 2+2-seater, highlighting the generous interior ambience and the light-touch interior design. Carefully selected materials, coupled with meticulous craftsmanship and build quality, underscore the luxurious character of the concept model, which combines exceptional sportiness with an extremely exclusive driving experience.
In the interior, too, the tone is set by fluent lines and harmonious surfaces. In the vicinity of the driver and front passenger, the design of the instrument panel, centre console and door trim stresses bold, dynamic surfaces and sculpted transitions, giving a sense of exclusive safety and security. At the rear, two comfortable single seats offer lavish headroom, legroom and shoulder room, providing first-class comfort even on long journeys.
The surfaces are defined by gently flowing lines which run throughout the interior, creating an effect reminiscent of rippling wave motion and evoking the impression of forward-thrusting dynamism.
Driver-centric design, harmonious integration of the centre console and instrument panel.
The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé’s cockpit also takes the familiar BMW driver-centric design to new levels, in keeping with the distinctively sporty character of this concept model. The centre section of the instrument panel, featuring the iDrive Control Display, the central air vents and the audio and climate controls, is inclined slightly but visibly towards the driver. The electronic gear selector and the Drive Dynamic Control buttons are mounted on the driver’s side of the front console. The front passenger side, meanwhile, which is slightly higher than the driver’s side, sweeps up with a slight flourish into the upper part of the instrument panel. High-quality leather trim with double stitching in a contrasting color accentuates the dynamic transition between the centre console and the instrument panel.
The forward-surging wave theme can also be seen in the contouring of the door panel trim, where the precise interplay between concave and convex surfaces produces a natural duality and tension. The window sill line extends in a gentle sweep into the instrument panel, guiding the eye towards the road. Below this, the door paneling is intersected by a trim component which links the front part of the passenger compartment with the rear. It starts at the rear window sill, then continues forwards and initially downwards, narrowing as it approaches the door paneling, then rising slightly and becoming wider again in the front part of the vehicle. This creates an upward sweep running through the window sill and into the instrument panel.
On the driver’s side of the cockpit the eye is drawn to the black-panel instrument cluster. The traditional-style circular dials are generated electronically, using advanced display technology. At rest, all displays are invisible, only springing to life when the engine is started. Black-panel technology is also used for the audio and climate displays on the centre console. A galvanized strip draws a horizontal dividing line across the cockpit below the instrument cluster and also marks the lower edge of the central air vents. This line is then carried over on the front passenger side into a crease on the glove compartment.
Flatscreen-style Control Display and Head-Up Display.
The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is equipped with the latest-generation iDrive control system as featured on current production models. That system’s innovative principle of separating the control unit from the display is taken a stage further in this concept model. As before, the Controller – situated on the centre console – allows intuitive operation of vehicle-related, infotainment, navigation and telecommunications functions. However, the Control Display now for the first time takes the form of a freestanding 10.2-inch display with high-quality galvanized chrome surround. This display shows the various iDrive menus and options, the audio system status messages and the navigation maps. The small depth of this high-resolution display gives it a flatscreen look, while the new positioning of the display – extending further into the passenger compartment – also impacts on the centre console, which appears to rise more steeply, accentuating the cockpit-style character of the instrument panel.
The iDrive operating system allows functions to be intuitively controlled with minimal driver distraction from the road and traffic. For additional convenience and safety, the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is also fitted with a Head-Up Display. Developed by BMW, this system offers unique functionality and allows important driver information to be projected directly onto the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight. For example, in addition to current vehicle speed, the Head-Up Display also shows status messages and warnings from the driver assistance systems, Check Control messages and navigation instructions – all without the driver having to take his or her eyes off the road.
Top-flight audio enjoyment: fully active car hi-fi system from Bang & Olufsen.
From the very first glance, the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé promises an outstandingly sporty and exclusive driving experience. Part of this experience is a hi-fi system that was developed specially for this concept model and sets new standards for in-car listening enjoyment. Designed by Danish car hi-fi specialists Bang & Olufsen and specially matched to the interior acoustics of this 2+2-seater, the hi-fi system produces unsurpassed in-car sound quality. This superior audio experience comes courtesy of extra-high-quality system components – plus innovative sound control technology never before featured in a car hi-fi system.
The Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System produces an exceptionally natural sound from 16 speakers distributed around the cabin. This is a fully active system, which means the two bass speakers, seven mid-range speakers and seven tweeters all have individual amplifiers. The electrical signals are converted into precisely defined sound waves using neodymium magnet drives which combine very high performance with low weight, making them the ideal solution for a car hi-fi system. The mid-range speakers also feature extremely stiff yet extremely lightweight Hexacone diaphragms. The exceptional sound quality is due not only to vehicle-specific placement of high-quality speakers in the interior but also to innovative amplifier technology. Digital signal processing allows the signals to each speaker to be individually controlled. This technology compensates for any sound reflections inside the vehicle by means of appropriate signal modifications. The Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System uses Dirac Dimensions™ technology to recreate the acoustics of a given “reference” listening environment in the passenger compartment. This prevents the inevitable closeness of vehicle passengers to the speakers from affecting the sound experience. Also, all vehicle occupants enjoy identical sound quality wherever they happen to be sitting. The signals are precisely tuned to give the impression that the speakers are actually outside the vehicle.
The outstanding quality of the Bang & Olufsen high-end surround sound system is accompanied by exclusive styling features. These include high-quality all-aluminum speaker grilles and, most notably, the new-design centre speaker in the instrument panel area. As soon as the audio system is activated, the mid-range speaker grille pops up automatically. At the same time the tweeter lens is extended and distributes sound evenly throughout the car.
BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé: the future of sporty and exclusive driving enjoyment.
As the latest interpretation of quintessential BMW brand values and as a logical development of the company’s hallmark design language, the BMW Concept
6 Series Coupé takes a look into the future of sporty and exclusive motoring. In this concept model, the history and future of BMW coupés meet and intersect. Their superior dynamism – whether on the road or on the race track – and their stylish elegance mean that BMW coupés both of yesteryear and of today have a potent ability to arouse desires and inspire fantasies.
The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé is very much in this traditional mould, and from the very first glance promises an exceptional driving experience. Its high-quality design, with its expressive and harmonious proportions and precisely sculpted surfaces, immediately evokes athleticism and assurance. At the same time, the flowing lines are an authentic expression of stylish elegance that extends to every part of the vehicle. The interior, too, promises an exceptional driving experience. The innovative styling, with the emphasis on fluent lines, along with the high-grade materials and the meticulous craftsmanship and build quality, give the occupants of this 2+2 a sense of safety and security, while at the same time imbuing the ambience with a luxurious and avant-garde touch.
In addition, the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé features the technical highlights one would expect of a car of this exclusive status and high-quality engineering for which the world’s most successful premium car manufacturer is noted. All-LED headlights with Adaptive Headlight technology are further proof of the pioneering character of this concept model, along with the Head-Up Display and the unique Bang & Olufsen high-end surround sound system. The BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé sets new standards in dynamism, elegance, design and engineering, seamlessly building on the traditional qualities of BMW coupés of the past, while at the same time offering an innovative interpretation of the enduring fascination of legendary dream cars of yesteryear such as the BMW 3.0 CS.