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New BMW 6-series takes dictation, shows virtual gauges

BMW announced new features for its 2014 6-series model today, including an advanced voice-recognition system that can take dictation from the driver and send out an e-mail or text.

2014 BMW 6-series

The tech arms race between BMW and Audi is yielding some amazing cars, such as the Audi S7 we recently reviewed. BMW fights back with its newly announced 2014 6-series, featuring revised cabin electronics that will not only take dictation and send out e-mails for the driver, but also debuts a new digital instrument cluster.

BMW Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster
In Comfort mode, the new digital instrument cluster assumes a traditional look. BMW

BMW Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster
The instrument cluster turns red in Sport mode. BMW

BMW touted the new voice-recognition system for the 6-series in a press release today, noting its simplified voice commands and control over most cabin tech features. The new system will let drivers activate a dictation mode, having the car transcribe e-mails and text messages. The car reads out the resulting text and includes voice controls for making simple edits. The driver can send the text to anyone in her paired phone's contact list through e-mail or text message.

The new 6-series also lets owners pair two phones at a time, a feature useful for couples. The system makes one shared contact list from the two phone accessible through voice command or with BMW's iDrive system.

A special edition of the 6-series, the Frozen Brilliant White Convertible, comes out in early May, and will be the first BMW in the U.S. to feature the Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster. This new instrument cluster from BMW is completely virtual, showing virtual gauges on an LCD. The type of gauges and the aesthetic design changes based on the car's driving mode.

The 2014 6-series will be offered in coupe and convertible forms, and as the four door Gran Coupe. M6 versions will come out with a no-cost option for a six-speed manual transmission. BMW designed the manual transmission to automatically match engine speed for seamless shifts, although it turns off rev-matching in Sport Plus mode.