Preview - 2004 BMW 645Ci

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The Werke suggests a new use for the tax cut.

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    BY AARON ROBINSON
    January 2004

    Attention, Wall Street: The latest economic forecast comes from Munich, and this one definitely points up. BMW, a company with a finger firmly on the pulse of the cash-endowed classes, is launching a two-door flagship that runs about 70 large. Surely this is the work of optimists.

    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.
    Features both optional and standard include active anti-roll bars, variable-ratio steering, left-and-right-swiveling xenon headlamps, and an iDrive computer console with a porkpie superknob. By the time the 645Ci slinks into U.S. showrooms this March, the Werke will be ready with a cabriolet version. A bull market can't be far behind.

    The latest opus from BMW design chief Chris Bangle and his gang of icon busters sits astride a shortened version of the new 5-series chassis. The 325 horses emanate from the 4.4-liter DOHC 32-valve V-8 and are routed rearward via a ZF Type G six-speed manual, a ZF 6 HP 26 six-speed automatic, or BMW's sequential manual gearbox (SMG), a no-clutch-pedal six-speed with paddle-operated shifting.

    The suspension is straight 5-series: a strut braced by two spindly aluminum links in front and beefy cast-aluminum lower control arms in back assisted by a pair of lateral links on each side, all mounted to a tubular aluminum crossmember. BMW loves its steel coils; air springs, variable-rate shocks, and other suspension electrotrickery are for others. The 645's one optional undercarriage fandangle is front and rear hydraulic variable-rate anti-roll bars that help keep the body flat in corners.

    Inside, the plastic, metal, and leather converge in lush geometric shapes set in organic sweeps of curves and humps. Above it all rises the iDrive's cycloptic TV eye, always ready to snare your attention with dancing cursors, multicolor pictographs, and endless control menus.

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    Coupes die or thrive by their styling, and the 645Ci is yet another complex BMW shape that is more cerebral than emotional. The cab-backward body is the off-the-steroids production version of the gull-wing Z9 GT concept car from the 1999 Frankfurt auto show. Family ties to the big 745i sedan lurk in the oversize grille kidneys, the smoothly groomed flanks, the single thin swage line along the side, and the boxy trunklid. The latter juts out from the deep 13-cubic-foot trunk like the Rock of Gibraltar, which is not far from the southern Spanish town of Málaga, where the 645 was unveiled to automotive writers.

    This one screaming feature is set amid fascinating details all but invisible in print. For example, the border between the hood and front fenders is a complicated sculpture of inward and outward creases that slash down the nose to define the glowering headlights. The side character line starts on the thermoplastic front fender, streaks across the aluminum door skin, and fades away into the steel rear quarter-panel, all the while maintaining perfect shape uniformity despite three completely diverse materials.

    Bangle, who credits BMW's California-based DesignworksUSA president Adrian van Hooydonk with the exterior shape, admits the 645's charm may be lost on people who only see it in magazines. "We've decided we can't figure out how to design a car that looks good in pictures," he says with a shrug. The 645 would look much better without its thick black B-pillars, especially since the Mercedes CLK and CL coupes swoop down the avenue as pillarless hardtops.

    Bangle answers: "Of course, doing a car without a B-pillar is attractive to designers, but I work for a performance-engineering company, and they want that sucker to be stiff."

    And so it is. Flung at reckless speeds up the winding roads of Andalusia, the 645Ci is serenely stable and solid. It pounces on corners, tracks flat through the apexes, and devours the straights with a burly snarl from the V-8. It laps up freeway kilometers at triple-digit speeds, the suspension digesting ripples and dips so thoroughly that the body remains almost inert. All the driver has to do is aim the 645 and it goes there. Fast.

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    This was our first opportunity to stroke BMW's new free-revving, throttleless V-8 with a manual. The stick is fingertip light, and the power gushes in one smooth surge through the flywheel. Sadly, two huge mufflers overdampen the V-8 sound show from the twin polished tailpipes.

    BMW expects the 645 six-speed to reach 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds. We have no reason to doubt that. Opt for the automatic, and the shifts—both up and down—are quick and slick. Skip the jerky SMG unless you're a sadomasochist.

    The Werke plans to announce final pricing closer to the 645Ci's on-sale date, but spokesmen say the base price will fall somewhere just north of the 745i's base of $69,195. That's heavy money—about $16,500 more than a Mercedes CLK500—but BMW's big coupes have always attracted big spenders. The last 840Ci we tested bent an AmEx by $82,312, and that was in October 1996.

    By comparison, the 645Ci is more powerful by 43 horsepower, it is less weighty by as much as 350 pounds, and it should be quicker to 60 mph by at least a second depending on which transmission you choose. The styling or the iDrive may not fill everyone's teacup, but lighter, faster, and cheaper is a trend we can all appreciate.

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    Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe
    Estimated base price: $70,000
    Engine type: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

    Displacement: 268 cu in, 4398cc
    Power (SAE net): 325 bhp @ 6100 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 330 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm


    Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed manual with automated shifting and clutch, 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
    Wheelbase: 108.4 in
    Length/width/height: 190.2/73.0/54.1 in
    Curb weight: 3800 lb

    Manufacturer's performance ratings:
    Zero to 60 mph 5.5-5.7 sec
    Estimated fuel economy:
    EPA city driving 17-18 mpg
    EPA highway driving 24-26 mpg

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  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I think of the new Pontiac GTO as the poor man's 6-Series. :o
     
  3. youngdan

    youngdan BWFC

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    Its nice, at the rear, but the front just seems to dive off, like a big ugly whale..if you get me?
     
  4. dank

    dank fuck yeah

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    looks :cool:
     
  5. Nyce

    Nyce .

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    nice

    but i'd go with the CL Benz on this one :hs:
     
  6. bokhan

    bokhan i love you

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  7. coronet

    coronet Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?

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    The price is wrong, Bob.
     
  8. Jeebus

    Jeebus Well-Known Member

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    KNOCK KNOCK! LOL!
    they should have just saved themselves the R&D and development and just started producing the 8-series again :hs:
     
  9. SlowNegative

    SlowNegative Her name is Rio

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    Too heavy. BMW is really trying to be knocked off their throne.
     
  10. perfektrtw

    perfektrtw Active Member

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    It's only 30,000 overpriced :rofl:
     
  11. Iwannaz

    Iwannaz Guest

    damn that shit is nice. To rice for my blood.
     
  12. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

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    Damn...that first pic makes the car look like a retarded kid.
     
  13. mucky

    mucky .

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    70-what???? :wtc:
     
  14. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I'll go out on a limb here and say for a Bangle design, the 6-Series looks decent.
     
  15. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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    ugly as fuck
     
  16. mucky

    mucky .

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    On second thought, the MB CLK which it competes with is msrp $71k base. :hs:
     
  17. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

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    I'm gonna have to say that's a bit of a stretch...but well within reach when compared to some of his other designs. :wtc:
     
  18. mucky

    mucky .

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    :werd:

    Front end is the only part I don't like, but IMO, the whole design overall looks better than the MB CLK as a whole. :hs:
     
  19. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Still, the 8-Series can never lose, until maintenence and repair time comes around. :o
     
  20. SlowNegative

    SlowNegative Her name is Rio

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    The line (where the hood opens) above the kidney grill and below the BMW symbol is WAY out of place. Also, the line between the blinkers and the headlights that extend to the front quarterpanels is as well. Hurts my eyes to look at that thing.
     
  21. vb7

    vb7 Guest

    :mamoru:
     
  22. ruffryda1122

    ruffryda1122 Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the de

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    i sat in one, they have an amazing interior... i woulda thought it had been nicer if i didnt just get out of the '04 760Li
     
  23. mads.

    mads. OT Supporter

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    :( 70,000 Thats way too overpriced. Around 100 K canadian
     
  24. Kerpal

    Kerpal handlobraes

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    I'll take that drivetrain in an old 6 series body, please. :big grin:
     
  25. Slimmy

    Slimmy Get Richt or Die Trying

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