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Next BMW 'M6' to rival Audi R8

by Mark Tisshaw

BMW’s flagship M6 performance car is unlikely to be replaced when the next 6-series arrives, autocar.co.uk has learned.

Instead, its position at the top of the range is likely to be filled by a V8 sports car drawing cues from BMW’s Vision Efficient Dynamics concept.

The 6-series has gradually evolved into a grand tourer since its 2004 introduction rather than an out and out sports car; this has led to the M6, a car aimed primarily at US buyers, sitting awkwardly within the range. So a replacement isn’t likely to appear in next year’s new 6-series line-up.

The M3 coupe-size Vision ED offers M3 performance with Toyota Prius levels of economy and CO2 emissions. A prototype ED will be running by the summer; it’s intended to be a hi-tech sports car that showcases all of BMW’s eco-tech in the packaging of a performance car.

The Vision ED concept uses an advanced diesel-electric hybrid system producing a total of 356bhp and 590lb ft. Its turbocharged three-cylinder engine could make it into the next 1 and 3-series models. But the production version of the Vision ED may get the next-gen M5’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8.

Using this engine will ensure the firm still offers a car with M6 levels of power and performance, but the inclusion of much of Vision ED’s eco-tech, as well as that car’s more daring styling, would allow the car to be marketed as a standalone model.

BMW R&D chief Klaus Draeger has said a future BMW supercar has to “be intelligent and dramatic-looking, something like the ED concept”.

The car would give the firm the direct rival to the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 ranges, and would also allow BMW to compete with AMG’s forthcoming baby SLS model.

SOURCE : autocar.co.uk

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