Front Runners: Six Appeal

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Most automakers wait a year or longer before releasing the convertible follow-up to a new coupe, but BMW (www.bmwusa.com) is not so patient. Barely three months after introducing the 645Ci, the company’s revived sport-tuned coupe, the Munich manufacturer unveiled its $75,000 drop-top version of the 2004 6 Series, which is available this spring.

The convertible features the same superb 325 hp, 4.4-liter V-8 that powers the coupe, and it can be fitted with one of three 6-speed transmissions: manual, automatic, or the SMG version equipped with Formula One–style paddle shifters. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, while the car sprints from zero to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds. The electronically operated top tucks into the trunk, leaving enough room for two golf bags, and it can be opened and closed at speeds as fast as 20 mph. 

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