Europe's seasons have meant a reverse launch for BMW's 6 Series, with the cabrio arriving in winter and the coupe in time for spring.
Much of the coupe is identical to its cabrio sibling, so chassis and suspension are based on the 550i, with a longer, lower, wider body than before, and an extensive suite of high-tech gizmos as standard. That lyrical 4.4-litre 300kW/600Nm twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet is mated to an eight-speed ZF transmission.
What's new are the LED headlamps. The 40 LEDs on low beam are joined by another 60-odd on high, the primary advantage being a lower power draw.
Also nice is the optional Bang & Olufsen sound system ($9900) with its 1200W array of 16 speakers, including a tweeter that rises from the dash.
The company line
BMW advertised its drive-away price last Saturday. Managing director Mark Gilbert says the Commerce Commission is taking an interest in the "on-road cost" often added to recommended retail pricing, and at what it includes.
"We want to avoid being the crash test dummies for the Commerce Commission, so there will be no hidden surprises," he says, and a rejigged BMW price list will ensure WoF, registration, a full fuel tank and a minimum of 10,000km of road user charges on diesels are included.
Meanwhile, he's anticipating new vehicles, starting with the updated 1 Series which launches next week.
"We're lucky that through the global financial crisis BMW didn't throttle back - we've been pretty bullish and if anything brought new product forward." And he's happy that demand for BMW's products currently outstrip supply, which future-proofs profits.
"I see the world economy as a bit like Christchurch - there are a lot of tremors and maybe another big one to come."
What we say
BMW's 6 Series feels every millimetre the luxury conveyance, from the contrast stitching sweeping across the dash and curving down that centre console, to the surfeit of power and the muffled burble of its glorious V8. Forget the $5500 night vision option and instead go for the M Sports kit that costs the same, and includes 20-inch wheels, an aerodynamic pack, a tuned exhaust. On the roadThese launch cars were fitted with the rear steer option ($4850), which imparts a nimbleness the standard car lacks and helps you make the most of all that torque.
Why you'll buy one
Because the 6 Series coupe is a super-comfy luxury GT you can live with every day; because you love its sculpted looks, that muted bad-boy growl, and the cutting edge tech which has been lavished on it.
Why you won't
Because $236,700 for a two-door car that may have rear seats but won't carry four for extended journeys seems a bit extreme; because it's a touch too ostentatious - though anyone ticking the option boxes (our test car added $27,220-worth) probably won't care.