Detroit 2011: BMW 6-Series Convertible Is Ready For Warm Weather Fun

By Seyth Miersma

January 10, 2011

BMW showed off its all-new 6-Series convertible at the Detroit auto show this afternoon, revealing a car that has cleaner styling and more capable performance than the outgoing model.

The drop-top 6er draws power from a 400-horsepower, 450-pound-feet of torque, 4.4-liter V-8, which can be matched up to either a six-speed manual gearbox, or an eight-speed automatic. Auto transmission-equipped cars are good for a 0-60 sprint of just 4.9 seconds.

Drivers will choose from different suspensions setups via BMW’s Dynamic Drive Control, and all will benefit from 50-percent more torsional rigidity versus the outgoing model, too. The 6 will offer electric power steering as standard, with the company’s Integral active steering as optional equipment.

Being a convertible, BMW has spent some time refining its soft-top as well. The new roof offers a greater degree of sound-proofing, thermal insulation, and structural rigidity. The top goes down in 19 seconds, and up in 24.

Please feel free to check out the stock images of the new 650i convertible, here, or take a look at our live images in the gallery to the side.

Scroll down to read BMW’s full press release below.

Words such as “breathtaking”, “irresistible” and “flawless” pepper the history of BMW convertibles. And now the brand has added a new chapter to a tradition of open-top cars that stretches back decades. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible, the world premiere of which will be a highlight at the 2011 NAIAS in Detroit, fulfils the wishes of discerning automotive aesthetes with its finely honed sense for sporty driving pleasure, groundbreaking luxury and sparkling looks. In the exclusive environs of the premium convertible market, the 2+2-seater makes a convincing case for itself with the most efficient engines, most advanced chassis technology and most innovative comfort, infotainment and safety features in its segment.

A sweeping bonnet, set-back passenger compartment, long wheelbase and flat waistline embody the hallmark proportions of a BMW convertible. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible combines these features with a classic soft-top roof in the customary “fin” design. Powerfully contoured surfaces and the surging dynamism of its lines promise assured driving properties. The luxurious ambience of the interior is highlighted by the driver-orientated cockpit set-up and wraps the front passenger and rear passengers in a feeling of exclusive security. Nowhere is the high-class functionality of the interior underlined more prominently than in the redesigned freestanding Control Display of the standard-fitted iDrive control system.

At market launch of the open 2+2-seater, the BMW 650i Convertible will be available. Its eight-cylinder power unit delivers a maximum output of 400 hp (300 kW/407 bhp). In the US, the BMW 650i Convertible can be optionally mated as standard to a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Chassis technology unmatched in its segment works in tandem with the cutting-edge engines to ensure even greater dynamic capability and a similarly discernible improvement in ride comfort compared to its predecessor. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible comes as standard with Drive Dynamic Control, which allows the driver a choice of suspension settings. And the Adaptive Drive system, complete with electronically controlled dampers (a standard feature in the USA) and roll stabilisation, can be specified as an option. The standard Electric Power Steering and optional Integral Active Steering are both unique features in this segment.

The new BMW 6 Series Convertible also underlines its progressive character with numerous BMW ConnectedDrive features that none of its rivals can match. The selection of optional driver assistance systems includes a rear-view camera (a standard feature in the USA), Surround View, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition and BMW Parking Assistant. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible is the only car in its segment to be available with a Head-Up Display. Making its debut in the new soft top, the latest generation of the system uses a broader palette of colours and three- dimensional graphics to create an even sharper image.

Design: athletic elegance, natural sportiness and sparkling looks.

The luxurious yet dynamic driving experience of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible is reflected in the athletic elegance and sense- tingling sportiness of its exterior design. A long, sweeping bonnet, set-back passenger compartment, long wheelbase and flat waistline combine to create the proportions typical of a BMW convertible. The precise interplay of eye- catching lines and meticulously sculpted surfaces help to give the new BMW 6 Series Convertible its arresting looks.

Like the lines projecting out from the nose of the car and continuing along its full length, the harmoniously curved surfaces of the body take their cue from the movement of waves sent out by the bow of a motor boat piercing the water. In keeping with this, the surface of the waistline at the transition between the body and the interior has been designed to evoke the character of a boat deck.

The front end: surging forward and focusing on the road.

The new BMW 6 Series Convertible also displays its dynamic character in the design of the front end. The large BMW kidney grille with its slight forward tilt (“shark nose”) evokes a strong forward thrust, while the broad air intake, strikingly contoured bonnet and muscular wheel arches point to the car’s powerful drive technology and secure road holding. High-quality chrome elements positioned on the outer edges of the front apron further accentuate the width of the car. The fog lamps, which come as standard in the USA and comprise three adjacent LED light units, are positioned above these chrome elements.

The Xenon headlights, a standard feature of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible, come in the brand’s familiar twin round style. Also standard is the accent strip – or, in conjunction with the Adaptive Headlights (a standard feature in the USA), the LED accent light – that cuts across the top of the headlight. LED light rings serve as daytime running lights, strikingly conveying the distinctive front end look with their bright white light. A horizontal light strip below these rings acts as a direction indicator.

Side view: elongated lines, athletic curves.

Uninterrupted, flowing lines lend the silhouette of the BMW 6 Series Convertible a sweeping elegance. Powerful curves mimicking the natural movement of waves give the car’s side view a natural athleticism. The hallmark BMW swage line at door handle level is spawned in the front wheel arch gill – which houses the side indicator – and extends all the way back into the rear lights.

Another character line is released from the bulge of the front wing, stretching powerfully over the front wheel like a wave before dropping down and continuing horizontally towards the rear. In conjunction with the swage line, this creates a dynamic wedge shape that accentuates the car’s forward-surging impression.

Striking V-shape and accentuated width of the rear end create a powerful appearance. Broad, flat surfaces define the rear of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible. The dominance of horizontal lines adds extra emphasis to the wider track of the new car compared to its predecessor. In addition, downward-converging lines underline the car’s focus on the road, echoing the approach at the front end. This distinctive V-shape is created, among other elements, by the side seams of the boot lid, the licence plate surround and the contours of the reflectors, which are positioned in the bumper. The slightly concave lower section of the boot lid produces light and shade effects, which lend an extra lightness to the rear of the car. The two-part rear light clusters give the brand’s familiar L-shape a particularly sporty, dynamic edge. Inside the units, two LED-powered light strips create the familiar BMW night-time look. The direction indicators and brake lights are also LED-powered.

The interior: seats for four – and each one made to measure.

The new BMW 6 Series Convertible is designed as a 2+2-seater. Its interior provides individually tailored seats for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. High-grade materials, carefully devised colour schemes and meticulously sculpted surfaces on the inside as well combine to create an ambience defined by luxury, sweeping dynamism and stylish functionality. A hallmark BMW element of the interior look is the familiar driver-orientated cockpit layout. The central section of the instrument panel, containing the iDrive system’s Control Display, the central air vents and the controls for the audio system and air conditioning, are all angled slightly towards the driver. In addition, the gearshift lever and the buttons for the parking brake, roof operation and Drive Dynamic Control are located on a surface that opens out towards the driver and is set lower than the front passenger side of the centre console.

The front passenger area is bordered by a surface curving elegantly from the armrest over the side edge of the centre console, upwards and outwards into the instrument panel and then horizontally into the door trim. This provides a harmonious surround for the front passenger area, creating a feeling of exclusive security. The individual layout of the two rear seats is emphasised by the contour of the waistline surface, which projects slightly into the cabin between the head restraints.

Premiere: freestanding Control Display with flat screen design.

The new BMW 6 Series Convertible features an instrument cluster in black- panel technology that combines the traditional circular dials of a sports car with modern display technology. The navigation, telephone and entertainment functions are controlled via the standard iDrive operating system, whose Control Display boasts an innovative design in the new BMW 6 Series Convertible. For the first time, the on-board monitor is freestanding. In conjunction with the navigation system Professional (offered as standard in the USA) it extends to 10.2 inches and features a galvanised high-quality chrome surround. The minimal depth of the display gives it the character of a flat screen unit. The new arrangement of the Control Display – which now reaches further into the passenger compartment – also influences the architecture of the instrument panel, which rises up steeply in front of the driver and front passenger in the style of a powerboat cockpit
This impression is further underlined by the structure of the door trim panels: Their surfaces have a powerfully taut look and, like the black waistline surface, pull in and rise up to create a smooth transition into the instrument panel, giving the interior the effect of wrapping around the driver and front passenger.

Exclusive and distinctive: the fin roof.

Exclusive to this model, the new BMW 6 Series Convertible features a power- operated fabric fin-structure soft top. The multi-layer roof – which has been optimised once again in terms of its acoustic properties and structural rigidity – offers outstanding thermal insulation and thus enables the new convertible to be used comfortably all year round. The fins project out along the flanks of the6 Series into its rear section, accentuating the car’s gracefully sweeping silhouette even more keenly than on its predecessor and giving it an unmistakable appearance. They also create a Coupe-style soft transition between the roofline and the rear of the vehicle. The heated, vertical glass rear window, which is situated just behind the rear seats, is retracted independently from the soft top itself.
The automatic opening and closing operation for the roof is activated as standard using a button on the centre console. The Comfort Access option allows the process to be initiated using the remote control button on the car key. Lowering is completed in 19 seconds and raising in 24 seconds. Both operations can be performed even while driving, at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).

The fin roof of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible is available in three colour variants, including new Anthracite Silver effect, which adds a stylish lustre. For the bodywork there is a choice of two non-metallic and seven metallic colours. As an alternative to the standard Dakota leather trim, customers can also specify the Exclusive Nappa leather variant (offered as standard in the USA), which can be ordered in four colour options. As an option, Exclusive Nappa leather can be extended from the instrument panel to line the centre console and the upper areas of the door and side trim in the rear as well. A further option offers contrast stitching for the interior elements lined in Exclusive Nappa leather. This double stitching in a colour that contrasts with the leather surface adds a particularly premium, contour-enhancing accent.

Optimised seat comfort. Boot capacity can be expanded as required.

At 4,894 millimetres (192.6 in.) in length, the new BMW 6 Series Convertible is 74 millimetres (2.9 in.) longer than its predecessor. Its similarly extended wheelbase now stretches to 2,855 millimetres (112.4 in.). The car has also grown by 39 millimetres (1.5 in.) in width, and now measures 1,894 millimetres (74.5 in.) across, while 9 millimetres (0.35 in.) have been shaved off its height (now 1,365 mm / 53.7 in.). These dimensions not only create a significantly more powerful and, at the same time, elegantly sweeping overall impression, they also take interior spaciousness to new levels. Despite its lower height, the new BMW 6 Series Convertible offers greater headroom in both the front and the rear. Added to which, the height adjustment of the driver and front passenger seats cover a greater range. All the seats benefit from the increase in interior width, while seat comfort in the rear is enhanced by additional legroom. The rear seat backrest angle has been further optimised compared with the outgoing model and is now approximately the same as on the BMW saloons.

A ski bag with an opening in the rear seat backrest is available as an option and offers space for two sets of skis. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible boasts 300 litres (10.6 cu. ft.) of boot space with the roof open, allowing two 46-inch golf bags and a business case to be accommodated. With the roof closed, the variable soft-top stowage compartment can be folded up in a single movement to increase boot capacity to 350 litres (12.3 cu. ft.).

Newly developed lightweight seats, comprehensive safety equipment.
The new BMW 6 Series Convertible features newly developed lightweight seats with integrated belt system, which are available in three versions. As an alternative to the standard version, sports seats with integrated head restraints, or comfort seats with extended adjustment functions, are also offered. All seat versions feature crash-activated head restraints. In the USA, the BMW 650i Convertible comes exclusively with comfort seats, which are offered as standard.

The range of standard safety equipment also includes front airbags, head-thorax side airbags integrated into the seat frame, three-point automatic belts for all seats, belt force limiters and front belt tensioners, ISOFIX child seat mounts in the rear and a roll-over protection system. The roll-over system further developed specifically for the new BMW 6 Series Convertible consists of two bars placed behind the rear head restraints. As soon as the central safety electronics register a danger of the car rolling over, the pyrotechnic release mechanism is activated, at which point the high-strength aluminium bars rise up from their rest position in a fraction of a second.

Carefully targeted advances in the use of materials and in the development of the car’s load-bearing structure have significantly enhanced the body’s construction in terms of the agility and safety it offers. Its static torsional rigidity is now around 50 per cent greater than that of its predecessor. In the interests of weight optimisation, the doors, bonnet and front axle spring mounts are all aluminium, while the front side panels, roof lid and boot are made from glass fibre composite.

Majestic power: eight-cylinder power unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo and direct injection. Also the drive technology featured by the new BMW Convertible aims at combining sporting performance with optimum efficiency. At market launch, the BMW 650i Convertible will be offered in the USA, with its V8 powerplant featuring BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and direct injection. The power unit not only excels through instantaneous power development, majestic torque, but also convinces through outstanding smoothness and exceptional efficiency, which is exemplary in its segment.
The 4.4-litre eight-cylinder engine in the new BMW 650i Convertible develops a maximum output of 400 hp (300 kW/407 bhp) between 5,500 and 6,400 rpm, and puts its peak torque of 450 lb.ft (610 Newton metres) on tap between 1,750 and 4 ,500 rpm. This unique engine, the turbochargers of which are positioned in the V-shaped area between the cylinder banks, produces an instantaneous and sustained wave of power. The new BMW 650i Convertible with automatic gearbox completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and the engine electronics eventually set in to halt acceleration at 250 km/h (in the USA at 130 mph and 155 mph, respectively, in conjunction with 20-inch light alloys). This range-topping engine also boasts extraordinary efficiency for a model in its output class, as average fuel consumption of 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 249 grams per kilometre clearly show.

Eight-speed automatic transmission and BMW EfficientDynamics as standard. In the US American market customers have, as a no-cost option, the choice between a six-speed manual transmission and an eight-speed Sports automatic gearbox for the new BMW 650i Convertible. The gearbox, which has been precisely adapted to the performance characteristics of the V8 engine, guarantees an ideal transfer of drive torque as well as superior shift comfort. Maximum acceleration is guaranteed by short shift times.
The eight-speed Sports automatic gearbox boasts a combination of sportiness, shift comfort and efficiency unmatched in its segment. Its minimal converter slip and rapid and precise gear changes set it apart from the crowd. An innovative gear set configuration allows this transmission to offer eight gears and a correspondingly wide gear range – which optimises the car’s sprinting power yet also allows the driver to save fuel by driving at low revs – despite its compact construction and low weight. The driver can also change gear manually using shift paddles on the steering wheel.

In addition to the efficiency of the engines and eight-speed Sports automatic, an extensive range of BMW EfficientDynamics measures also contribute to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Technology such as Brake Energy Regeneration, Electric Power Steering (EPS), the need-based operation of ancillary components, intelligent lightweight construction and low rolling- resistance tyres ensure maximum efficiency.

Advanced chassis technology including Electric Power Steering; Integral Active Steering available as an option. The cutting-edge chassis technology in the new BMW 6 Series Convertible provides all the ingredients for sporty handling and exceptional levels of comfort. Both the double wishbone front axle and the integral rear axle are made chiefly from aluminium. The chassis set-up is geared to the requirements of drivers with sporting ambitions, although the dampers still respond sensitively to uneven patches in the road under high lateral acceleration. The optionally available Adaptive Drive system, which includes Dynamic Damper Control (offered as standard in the USA) and the Dynamic Drive active roll stabilisation system, boasts even more precise responses. The electronically controlled dampers adjust to both the nature of the road surface and the driver’s style at the wheel in order to prevent unwanted vehicle movements. The roll stabilisation system reduces factors such as body sway in fast-driven corners and sudden direction changes.

Electric Power Steering with Servotronic serves up the familiar BMW recipe of precision, comfort and efficiency, and is unique in the BMW 6 Series Convertible’s segment. Added to which, the new BMW 6 Series Convertible is the first car in its class that can be ordered – as an option – with Integral Active Steering. This system combines the Active Steering system for the front wheels (already available for the predecessor model) with a steering rear axle. Steering angle and power assistance are controlled at both the front and the rear with the help of electric motors. Precisely harmonised wheel turns pave the way for extraordinary agility in dynamic driving situations. Integral Active Steering also ensures the car is impressively nimble on twisty mountain passes and in city traffic.

Drive Dynamic Control allows a choice of suspension settings.

With Drive Dynamic Control the virtues of sportiness and comfort can take precedence as the situation demands. Using a button on the centre console the driver can choose his desired suspension settings through the NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT+ modes. In conjunction with Dynamic Damper Control, which comes as standard in the USA, as well as the Adaptive Drive option, the driver can also make use of the COMFORT setting. As well as adjusting the accelerator pedal progression, engine responses, power steering characteristics, DSC intervention thresholds and the shift dynamics of the automatic gearbox, in this setting Drive Dynamic Control also tweaks the damper responses and roll stabilisation settings. In cars also equipped with Integral Active Steering, the basic set-up of the steering – as well as the degree of power assistance – is adjusted according to the mode selected. As a result, in SPORT and SPORT+ modes the car’s sporting responses are sharpened even further.

The lightweight floating-calliper brakes with inner-vented discs are easy to use with precision. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) helps to maximise the effectiveness of the brakes. This driving stability system brings together technology such as the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), the Start-off Assistant, the automatic Brake Drying function and brake fade compensation. Standard equipment on the new BMW 650i Convertible also includes 18-inch light-alloy wheels (19-inch and all season tyres in the USA), as well as runflat tyres and a runflat indicator.

Cutting-edge comfort-enhancing features and exclusive options from BMW ConnectedDrive. Among the comfort-enhancing features included as standard in the new BMW 6 Series Convertible are 2-zone automatic climate control with convertible mode, a hi-fi audio system with CD player and AUX-IN socket, a multifunction steering wheel, electrically operated front seats with memory function and a rain sensor with integrated automatic driving lights control. Among the highlights of the optional equipment list are Adaptive Headlights (offered as standard in the USA), a heated steering wheel, active seat ventilation, active seats and the Navigation system Professional (a standard feature in the USA), with a hard disk for storing maps and personal music collections.

The new BMW 6 Series Convertible is available with an even greater variety of driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive. It can be ordered with technology such as the Lane Change Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, rear-view camera (standard in the USA), Surround View and the BMW Parking Assistant. Innovative technologies optimise the integration of the Apple iPhone and other smartphones, as well as music players. And, in addition to Internet access (not available in the USA), BMW ConnectedDrive also allows email messages received on a smartphone to be shown on the Control Display as well as the use of Internet-based services for navigation and entertainment.

What’s more, the latest-generation Head-Up Display – a unique feature in this class – is making its debut in the new BMW 6 Series Convertible. The Head-Up Display projects driving-related information onto the windscreen within the driver’s direct field of view. Since the market launch of the system in 2003, more than 400,000 vehicles equipped with a Head-Up Display have been sold. In the new BMW 6 Series Convertible, a projection technology is used that has been advanced even further. The three-dimensional graphics are now displayed using a full spectrum of colours, allowing real-life traffic symbols to be accurately depicted. The BMW 6 Series Convertible: exclusive driving pleasure and a unique heritage. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible sees the world’s most successful manufacturer of premium cars building on an unparalleled tradition. The allure of exclusive driving pleasure in open-top BMW sports cars continues to hold a magnetic attraction, even after more than 70 years. The extraordinary history of BMW convertibles stretches from the legendary BMW 328 – which provided the basis for the winning car in the 1940 Mille Miglia – via the highly coveted BMW 507 of the 1950s, to the dynamic and groundbreaking predecessor to the new BMW 6 Series Convertible.

The new BMW 6 Series Convertible is built at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany. Also rolling off the assembly line at the BMW Group’s largest production plant are the BMW 7 Series and BMW 5 Series models. The flexible and efficient processes at the plant combine state-of-the-art production technology with a standard of quality defined by meticulous craftsmanship in the manufacture of premium cars configured to customer requirements.