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BMW's 6-series nameplate is being re-positioned.

BMW unveiled its new 6 Series Gran Turismo Tuesday evening, showing us the new direction for a nameplate which has long been a two-door staple in the company's luxury lineup. Forget what you know about the 6 Series. It's no longer applicable. BMW already quietly discontinued the two-door variant of the 6 Series, after all, leaving a gaping hole in the lineup which we expect to be filled by the new 8 Series. Where does that leave the rest of the 6 Series then? Well, with today's announcement, we're starting to find out.

From 5 to 6
If you glance down the spec sheet for the new 6 Series Gran Turismo, something sticks out immediately: These numbers are almost exactly the same as the 5 Series GT's. The wheelbase? Identical. Overall length? Just a bit longer. If you put photos of them side-by-side, it's uncanny.

Well, there's a reason for that. The 6 Series GT is to the 5 Series now what the 4 Series GT has become to the 3 Series. In other words, same car; different number. We will say, however, that the styling of the 2018 6 Series GT is a significant improvement over that of the outgoing 5 Series equivalent.

From 3 to 1
There's a catch, however. It should come as no shock that 5 Series GT sales were never really phenomenal. As part of this shift in the lineup, the car is going from three powertain configurations to just one. The 6 Series Gran Turismo will be available exclusively as a 640i xDrive model, meaning a 335-horsepower twin-turbocharged inline six and all-wheel drive are standard, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

From frumpy to frisky
Even as fans of the fastback sedan concept, we were never really sold on the looks of the 5 Series GT. Was it more attractive than its smaller sibling? Eh, maybe. But was it attractive in a vacuum? Nope. In fact, it always came off to us as sort of an under-developed X6--maybe the least-damning "praise" one could give it--or an elongated X4. Did we mention we weren't fans?

This? This is better. From some angles (namely the front 3/4), it's still not fantastic, but the new aggressive taper to the rear of the greenhouse ending in a sharp, vaguely Audi-esque Kammback design is a serious improvement over the lumpy, soft-edged look the 5 Series GT employed. Audi still does it better (Buick does too, if we're being honest), but this is certainly passable.

A practical BMW
To make the 6 Series GT as practical as possible, BMW's single-piece rear lift gate is power-actuated from the base model on up to a fully-loaded example. The rear axle is also outfitted with air suspension, incorporating an auto self-leveling feature which allows it to compensate for variable loads.

But a BMW nevertheless
Like anything else the company sells, the 6 Series GT will be available with a plethora of performance-oriented options, from an M Sport kit featuring aerodynamic and visual upgrades to a full-blown Dynamic Handling Package incorporating adaptive suspension and active steering.

What's next
The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo will be available in the United States starting this fall. Check back here for live photos after it makes its public debut.