An instrument-cluster display tells the driver which of the six speeds is currently engaged. Only the deepest potholes and tallest speed bumps could shudder this ultrastiff chassis. Whenever the vehicle enters a corner, curve or avoidance maneuver, lateral acceleration is generated. In the 5-Series, Servotronic comes with Active Steering, as part of the Sport Package. The standard transmission is the heavier-duty version of two new 6-speeds introduced in the past year.
For the record, the 4. For a certain class of buyer, that's exactly right. The only plastic panels serve to frame the image, masking the surrounding hardware so it doesn't distract. Aerodynamics: not just on the surface, but also underneath The 6-Series' exterior shape certainly implies excellent aerodynamics. Indeed, engine breathing is controlled entirely by the valves; the conventional throttle simply goes away.
We opted for the Cambiocorsa six-speed transaxle instead of the full manual. And it's not about fashion, either. The front seats are comfortable for long drives, and, unlike the old 8, the rear seats are useable, at least for shorter jaunts. Inside, the cabin design and materials lend a sophisticated, sporty, and luxurious air. Sadly, two huge mufflers overdampen the V-8 sound show from the twin polished tailpipes. The sound is happy and inviting in the polite rev range, turning fierce as it climbs toward the 7500-rpm redline. This is a big statement enforced by assertive bulk.
The 645Ci arrives as a large two-plus-two coupe hosting four adults in a luxurious and spacious cabin wired with technology up the yin-yang. Connecting elements at the ends of each shaft section are of steel; new welding techniques were developed to weld the aluminum to the steel. A special polyurethane coating is used on the top's inner surface in an attempt to bring top-up interior noise levels close to those of the coupe. The exhaust system is specially engineered to lend the V8 engine an extra-sporty note. The hood's aluminum outer and inner skins - the latter essential for strength - are bonded together with a new adhesive that gives it both longitudinal strength a factor in crash-energy absorption and vibration resistance. That's our take on this stylish midpack finisher. Though roof removal will always result in a loss of structural rigidity, we were hard-pressed to detect much more than slight cowl shake during our test.
This is only a tenth of a second behind the last automatic-equipped Cabriolet we tested August 2002. The sound barks and the seatback shoves your back. Compared to conventional all-cast-iron rotors, actual weight reductions are a very significant 2. The fun of driving comes from expertly playing the slip. Although the convertible weighs about 400 pounds more than the coupe, due to its structural reinforcements and folding-top mechanisms, our six-speed manual-equipped tester still managed a dash to 60 in an impressive 5.
It's a glorious car, one that excels for high-speed straightaway work and winding through canyons. Toe into it, and you get authoritative acceleration right now, no waiting for the revs to build, no fiddling while the turbos spool up. Car guys have been enjoying that tune since Nuvolari was in knee pants longer, actually. It has an automated clutch, no pedal. The mood is serious, sober, confident, professional, and unsmiling. The M6 is powered by the 5.
Surely this is the work of optimists. The exhilaration of slamming the shifter through six gears, cornering with such g's your body leans sideways more than the car does, accelerating that pins your head back against the seat. At some point, slip turns to slide and then to uncontrolled trajectory. With Dinan upgrades, she now sounds as good as she looks and performs. This causes the steering ratio to become quicker that is, more steering effect for a given steering-wheel motion as the wheel is turned outward from its center position. We have no reason to doubt that.
To see in one glance the difference between a Maserati and the two other heroic cars gathered here, lift the hoods. Standard Active Roll Stabilization This high-tech suspension innovation dramatically reduces body roll in cornering. When the surfaces are rough, you hear about it in full fidelity. The silhouette is soft and smooth. Included in the Sport Package are 19-in. At 3740 pounds, it's lightest of the three, although the spread to heaviest is only 120 pounds. The margin is that great, with both the Benz and the Maserati finishing the quarter with 7 mph more in hand.
The interior is black, trimmed precisely in thin lines of bright chrome and frosty sweeps of white metal. A patch of stainless steel covers the tunnel's carpet down next to your right foot, so you can play the throttle exactly, no friction to spoil your commands. The variable-ratio feature not to be confused with variable assist, nor with Active Steering's more dramatically variable ratio is achieved by special profiling of the rack-and-pinion mechanism's gear teeth. It cuts smartly when you turn the wheel, right up until-- surprise--it doesn't, just like a simulator. The high performance M6 coupé also has a carbon fibre roof in order to reduce weight and for a lower centre of gravity. This unconventional system electronically varies the steering ratio based on vehicle speed and other driving conditions and reduces steering-wheel movement at low speeds while maintaining a quick ratio at high speeds. But the look is not about taking chances, and the car itself is not about zingy, runabout fun.
Maybe, though, a couple acres of black buttons all shoved up tight against each other--miss one and hit an uh-oh--maybe that's rational but not sensible. Each bar consists of left and right portions, twisted in opposite directions by a hydraulic motor between them. Interior room is abundant for front-seat passengers; however, back-seat room is by no means plentiful. In the Germans you see plastic cladding evoking--no, make that simulating--what some graphic-design intern thinks cold fusion would look like. Call it a narrowly split decision.