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2012 BMW 650i preview (photos)

BMW's 6-series update follows on the heels of the concept shown in Paris last year, maintaining the look of that prototype as the car BMW fans have been waiting for. The new 6 loses the ugly trunk-lid wart of the previous generation, taking on a design more in keeping with the original 6, and its spiritual forbear, the 3.0CSi.

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Wayne Cunningham
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BMW released photos and specs for the 2012 update to its 6-series coupe. This update follows the look and equipment of the Concept 6 series shown off last year at the Paris Motor Show. The new 6 series keeps its traditional kidney-style grille.
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The new 6 series, offered in the U.S. as a 650i coupe or convertible, is larger than the previous version in length and width. The 2012 650i gains 2.9 inches of overall length, along with a 2.95-inch longer wheelbase than the previous generation. Likewise, it is 1.5 inches wider, with a wider track for better stability.
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BMW is offering LED headlights as an option, the first BMW model to feature this technology. These LED headlights are adaptive, illuminating curves in the road as the wheels turn. BMW also says the color temperature is closer to daylight than existing HID headlights.
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BMW positions the 6 series as a coupe alternative to the 7 series, which is only available as a sedan. The cars offer similar option sets, although the new 650i can be had with a six-speed manual transmission.
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The rear roofline shows a more graceful curve than the outgoing model, and retains BMW's signature Hofmeister Kink in the rear window.
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What fans of the original 6 series will note is the reduced trunk lip, an ugly protrusion on the previous generation. The 2012 650i will come with standard adjustable damping control for the suspension, although active roll stabilization is extra.
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Like the 750i, the 650i comes with a 4.4-liter direct-injection engine featuring dual turbos. The output from this engine is 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, getting the 650i to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.
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As with the 7 series, the new 650i features a cabin with soft-touch surfaces and fine leather. But as it's a driver-oriented car, BMW keeps the cabin simple.
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There are rear seats in the car, and the extra length should allow for a little more leg room in back.
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BMW's large option list for cabin tech includes such features as night vision with pedestrian detection and a surround-view camera.
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The 650i can be had with either an eight-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. The console-mounted switch to the left of the shifter changes the damper and engine settings through Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport+.
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The LCD is freestanding rather than set deep into the dashboard, a new design feature for BMW. Above the LCD can be seen the acoustic lens for the available Bang & Olufsen audio system. This premium stereo includes 16 speakers set throughout the cabin.

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