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Spy shot: BMW 6 Series

BMW is rapidly pedalling backwards from its controversial designs of yesteryear. It’s not long since the 7 Series, 5 Series and Z4 came along with their weird flame surfacing and shocked generations used to Munich’s genteel Russian doll styling.

But now BMW is reverting to safer designs. The new 6 Series caught in these photographs proves that the company is plotting a more cautious, less divisive design for its big new coupé and convertible. What's lost, well, that weird bustleback floating bootlid is gone (thank goodness) and many of the lines under that weird swirling paintjob disguise have softened.

There will again be two bodystyles – BMW is eschewing the folding hard-top CC gimmicks preferred by other carmakers. Expect the soft-top to arrive first in time for spring 2011, followed six months later by the coupé.

The new 6 Series is based on 2009’s redesigned 5 Series, spelling a new mechanical package with rear-wheel drive. However, Munich has been pondering four-wheel drive versions for Alpine states.

Expect a slew of up-to-the-minute gadgets for the new 6 Series, including heated head restraints, power-operated wind deflectors on the cabrio, and a steering wheel that shakes to encourage you to steer into skids.

Prices are tipped to rise to close today’s £15,000 gap between the 650i and Mercedes-Benz SL500.

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