BMW 6-series four-door (2012) scooped

Published: 01 July 2011

Our spies have snared this four-door BMW 6-series saloon, a sort of CLS from Munich if you will. It goes on sale in summer 2012.

It's proof that the Concept Gran Coupe from 2010 is alive and well: this will be the third bodystyle in the 6-series range, to accompany the coupe and convertible.

BMW 6-series four-door: a Concept Grand Coupe for the road

Our new spy photos caught the new 6-series saloon on test in Europe. As reported back in April 2010, BMW is growing the 6-series range to propel sales beyond the current c40,000 a year.

The E-segment is increasingly fractured, as Audi has spun the A7 from the A6 family and Mercedes was first to add the CLS to its E-class range. Stuttgart originally dubbed this concept its 'Jag killer'.

BMW types predict the 6-series saloon, which will cost more than the two-door coupe, will sell around half the volume of the coupe. In the UK, BMW predicts around 1000 6-series coupe sales a year, pointing to some 500 sales of this four-door.

Haven't we seen the four-door 6-series before?

That would have been the Concept Gran Coupe, shown at the 2010 Beijing auto show. But BMW set the ball rolling with the stunning Concept CS, designed by Chris Bangle and shown in 2007. Arguably, the CS had more style and chutzpah than the Gran Coupe or this production iteration.

The Concept CS damn nearly went into production as the 8-series. Engineering tests were completed and Munich was about to press green for go, when the recession came along and sidelined the project.

The technical story: BMW 6-series saloon

Underneath will be regular 6-series mechanicals, so expect a range of 640d (3.0-litre straight six, 306bhp) and 650i (4.4-litre V8, 407bhp) to begin with. The 640i is not planned for the UK.

But in the longer run, we hear that Munich has been studying the possibility of a 625i (2.0-litre twin-turbo four) all the way up to a sporting M6 (that 4.4 V8 again, twin-turbocharged for around 570bhp).

Expect the new 6-series four-door to go on sale in the UK this time next year.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet