Like many recent BMWs, the 6-series emerged from its redesign considerably more handsome than before. The overall look didn't change greatly, but the details make all the difference -- the surface treatment of the body panels, the shape of the light clusters, the angle of the grille. The 6-series comes as a coupe and a convertible with a soft top that carries over a unique element from the previous car. The rear edges of the top extend rearward, framing a vertical rear window that is power operated and can be raised or lowered independently of the roof -- raised when the top is down to act as a wind blocker or lowered when the top is up for ventilation. The 6-series is based on the same platform as the 5- and 7-series sedans, and it offers the same plethora of luxury equipment found on those cars. Like them, the 6-series can be had with all-wheel drive, which is unusual for a coupe/convertible. The 6 also offers a manual transmission (in the 650i), a choice that's increasingly rare in this class. Do not, however, conclude that the availability of a stick shift means the 6-series is a highly involving sports car. It is not. Granted, its performance is impressive -- even the 640i can race from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and the all-wheel-drive V-8 version can do it in as little as 4.7 seconds. But the 6-series is suffused with electronics -- adaptive suspension and available Active Steering, to name but two -- that make for an artificially enhanced driving experience. Rather than a full-on performance coupe, the 6-series is more of a luxury machine, albeit a very fast one.
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