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BMW 645 Ci Coupe

Broadcast date : 16th May 2004

What kind of man or woman would drive a BMW 645Ci? The answer is someone who has enough disposable income to indulge a desire for a super-fast, super luxury coupe that is about style and excellence of engineering.

Yes, it is technically a four-seater, but those rear pews are there for occasional trips rather than everyday usage. Style was first on the agenda with this new Beemer.

And while prices range from seven hundred and thirty six thousand rand to seven hundred and fifty thousand, the car is seen in some circle as a relative bargain - if you can believe that.

The point about the 645 is that it undercuts the Mercedes SL 500, yet it targets a similar market.

True, it does not have quite the sporty two-seater appeal of the SL, but this is a car that is designed to do much the same thing.

The 645 has also recently been launched in convertible form. Although once again it has to be said the BMW does not have the Mercedes SL's versatility of being able to convert from a steel-roofed coupe to a convertible.

This is definitely the best-looking BMW on the block right now. It retains crucial BMW styling signatures and yet is far less controversial than the 7-Series, or even the newly-introduced 5-Series models.

Fitted with the famed 4,4 litre aluminium V8, it produces exhilarating power, with a gorgeous V8 exhaust woofle.

From inside the car the engine note is more of a scream and it is not all noise and no go.

The two hundred and forty five kilowatt engine scorches the 645 Ci to one hundred kilometres per hour in just five comma six seconds at sea level.

And top speed is electronically limited to two hundred and forty, although it would probably run closer to two seventy kilometres per hour without the limiter.

The 645Ci comes in six speed manual, six-speed automatic and six-speed SMG form. The last gearbox option features the steering wheel mounted paddle shifts. Our choice would probably be the automatic as the autobox suits the grace of this rather large motorcar.

But the perfect mass distribution, achieved by extensive use of aluminium panels in the car's construction, makes it a nifty handler in the twisty stuff.

The car is also fitted with BMW's Active Steering, which provides quick ratio steering at low speeds, and slower steering reaction at high speeds.

This makes for easy handling and less arm movement in twisty situations. At high speed, the slower steering makes for a more relaxed driving attitude.

It is one beautifully built car, with exceptional quality throughout.

The instrumentation is neat and stylish, although many people still find the I-Drive info-tainment control on the console a bit difficult to master.

All in all, the BMW 645Ci is a sign that BMW is well and truly back on the performance block for its entire car range.

If you can afford one, you won't be disappointed.

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