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Auto blogSat, 02 Aug 2014 18:05:00 EST
Truth be told, I've never really found the modern BMW 6 Series to be a particularly attractive car, in Coupe, Convertible, or sedan Gran Coupe forms. This current generation certainly looks a whole lot better than the Bangle-fied Six that came before it to my eyes, but on the whole, I find much of the car's design to be fussy and awkward. There's a new 6 Series on the way, scheduled to arrive sometime in 2017 or 2018, but to hold us over until then, BMW is freshening its current range, as evidenced by this convertible prototype our trusty spies recently caught testing.
Will the changes to the current 6 Series be an improvement? Perhaps. Up front, there are restyled headlamps and a new front bumper, and at the rear, BMW has redesigned the LED taillamps to bring them more in line with the rest of the company's offerings. Aside from those modest tweaks, we don't expect much more to change on the Big Six - the interior will likely carry over with some minor tweaks (or new colors), and it's possible the powertrains could be massaged gently for gains in either power, efficiency, or both.
Whether you think this new look is pretty or not, this freshened 6 Series will likely debut sometime next year, while BMW's engineers and designers craft the all-new version. See it from several angles in our gallery, above.
BMW isn't supposed to debut the 2 Series until tomorrow, according to Carscoops, but that hasn't stopped these photos of the 1 Series Coupe replacement from leaking onto the web. First picked up by a BMW 2 Series enthusiast site, the photos eventually found their way around the web, and complement the spy images we showed you of the uncovered 2 Series from almost six months ago.
This particular car is the M235i, and will serve as the range-topping 2 Series. As the number "35" is affixed to this car's tail, there's no question that the engine powering this example is BMW's turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder. As we reported earlier this month, power for the M235i should sit around 320 horsepower, blessing the 3,240-pound coupe with a 4.8-second sprint to 60 miles per hour when equipped with an eight-speed automatic (a six-speed manual is also available, but drops the time down to an even five seconds).
While this isn't a full-bore M car like the 1 Series M Coupe, it has been touched by the company's in-house tuning division, which means it sports a racier body kit, blacked out grilles and M-labeled interior items, like the steering wheel.
BMW may be set to expand its US operations with a new engine plant, Bloomberg reports. The Bavarian automaker already has its Spartanburg, SC factory which builds the company's X3, X5 and X6 crossovers. According to the story, Mexico is also under consideration for the BMW engine factory, with the report claiming a final decision will be made in 2014.
"Establishing local motor manufacturing abroad is more complex than assembling cars, but it's a logical step for them to eventually start making engines in markets where they're expanding vehicle production," Juergen Pieper, an analyst for Bankhaus Metzler tells Bloomberg. Building engines in the US or Mexico would save BMW from having to ship engines for some of its most popular models across the Atlantic.
BMW, for its part, hasn't said anything concrete. Spokesman Mathias Schmidt is quoted in the story saying, "As part of our long-term growth strategy, we're frequently looking at different countries for possible locations of future production facilities. No decisions have been made yet, though, for an additional plant."