This review has been updated to reflect new information about pricing and the U.S. availability of the BMW640i Coupe.
BMW aficionados know the Bavarian brand has a long tradition of building coupes – dating back to 1928, shortly after the onetime aircraft maker entered the automotive business.
It all began with the Model3, which was based on a design borrowed from Austin’s Dixi 3. It took nearly another decade before BMW was ready to go it alone, introducing the 327, its first coupe in the modern sense, in 1937. In total only 179 units were built before production was ended, in 1941, as war swept through Europe. But it established BMW’s reputation for building some of the world’s most desirable 2-doors, an image that it intends to bolster with the upcoming launch of the all-new 2012 BMW 6-Series Coupe.
The launch of the coupe follows the debut of the well-received 6-Series Cabriolet, which BMW wisely chose to roll out first, hoping to catch buyers desperate to enjoy the summer sun. Two Coupe versions will be available, initially, the big, V-8-powered 650i, and the smaller, but still peppy 640i.
Other variants will follow, including an all-wheel-drive offering, though there appear to be no plans – at least not yet – to bring the 640d, with its 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder diesel, to the States. All-Wheel-Drive, or as BMW prefers, xDrive, will be added to both Coupe and Convertible in September 2011.