Deep Dive: A Slimmer, Sexier BMW 6 Series for 2017

BMW still knows how to get lean and mean.

The current BMW 6 Series is hardly the ultimate driving machine. Pretty? Sure. But it's also overweight, poorly packaged, and soft-edged. Even the high-performance M6 is, in essence, a powerful grand touring car that feels more at home on the highway than on winding roads. All this will change with the debut of the new BMW 6 Series for 2017.

The big enabler for the change in character is an ambitious weight-loss program. Carbon-fiber elements, additional high-strength steel sections, a broader use of aluminum, and some magnesium and titanium parts should help the next 6 Series coupe drop to about 3,500 pounds, down from 4,000 pounds today. The next BMW 6 Series will also have a lower center of gravity and a more balanced weight distribution. Shorter overhangs and a wider track should make the car feel more agile.

It also helps that the BMW 6 Series' platform, shared with the 3, 5, and 7 Series, is more flexible than before. It means the various body styles—coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe—can evolve separately to serve different audiences. To that end, the coupe and convertible will shrink to support the ambitious weight-saving efforts, but the four-door Gran Coupe will actually grow a bit longer to provide more interior room, addressing a shortcoming of most four-door coupes on the market today.

For all BMW's recent focus on green cars, don't expect a hybrid 6 Series, even though such technology is being developed for the next 7 Series. Instead, there will be a turbocharged inline-six engine delivering 350 hp and a V-8 rated at 475 hp. The BMW M6 will get the 600-hp, twin-turbo V-8 from the 30th Anniversary Edition 2015 BMW M5.

The BMW M6 will also feature active aerodynamic elements. (They'll probably be offered on the rest of the range as well.) Rear-wheel drive will again be standard, with all-wheel drive as an option on all models, including the M6.

The net result is a car that aims less at the Mercedes-Benz CLS and more at the Porsche—which is exactly what outgoing CEO Norbert Reithofer is promising.

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