Let's get to the heart of BMW's 645 Ci right away: Its 4.4-litre vee-eight (that also invigorates the BMW 545i luxury sports sedan) is one of the most advanced eight-cylinder mills on the road--period, full stop.
Why? For starters, BMW's Valvetronic continuously variable valve lift removes the need for a conventional throttle, and the engine is also
Though the gear throws and clutch stroke are on the long side, as they are in the 545i, choose the standard six-speed stick over the optional Sequential Manual Gearbox, as my test car was equipped, and you'll enjoy waves of power waiting for you in every swap of the gearbox's buttery-smooth cogs. The pedals are well spaced for those who like to heel-and-toe, and the vee-eight has so much torque on hand that only slight pokes at the throttle are required to match revs. Unlike Mercedes' 5.0-litre vee-eight found in their CLK 500 coupe--which has more torque available, but lower in the rev range--taking the big BMW coupe to the redline in every gear becomes addictive, even if it's only a short run to your friendly neighbourhood drycleaners.
Like the sophisticated drivetrain, the 6's suspension also comes from the 5, but with a wider rear track with greater negative camber and lowered ride height. Unlike most BMWs, you can't pop for a sports suspension on the 6. You'll have to wait for the potentially delicious new M version coming in 2006 if you want a more hardcore big Bimmer coupe. As it is now with the current car, BMW sets the front springs and shock absorbers a wee bit stiffer than the standard 545i, but not as tight as the sport
After a morning making the Ottawa-Tremblant-Montreal run--a mix of roads that will test any car's prowess--a few 645 Ci impressions stand out.
First, this really is a big, heavy car. At slower speeds, all the driver's inputs are masked as if covered in molasses. But once the traffic clears, and your speed starts to resemble what the 6 may experience in its own home and native land, the car comes to life. Even at twice the posted limit, grip on public roads is superb with the generous 19-inch 245/40 rubber in front and wider 275/35 tires out back. The larger run flats are part of the car's optional Executive Package ($6,400) that also includes Active Steering, Sport Seats, Park Distance Control, Six-Disc CD Changer, Logic7 Hi-Fi Sound System, and High-Gloss Shadow Line.
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