German press departments love to use the words dynamic and dynamism, frequently to the point of absurdity, when characterizing a new car's attributes. BMW used it more than a little to describe the 645Ci, especially its interior. And, in this case, it's not mere hyperbole. BMW interiors have been nice, functional and exceptionally boring for quite some time. Thankfully, the new 6er shares the new 5 Series' design philosophy of "dynamic harmony." Actually, minimalist luxury would be a more descriptive-if somewhat oxymoronic-term.
Minimalist in that the interior is very clean, almost Spartan in appearance. There aren't a lot of buttons, knobs or design embellishments, keeping the sweeping dash free of clutter. The instrument cluster contains only two chrome-ringed dials: the speedometer, which also houses the fuel tank gauge, and the tach with a fuel consumption rate gauge. In between the two rings are changeable digital displays for a variety of functions.
The center console features a permanent hooded 6.5-in. color display screen, which is a vast improvement over the typical pop-up module found in most vehicles. Several of the climate system functions have been pulled out of iDrive and placed below the central air vents: There are now dual controls for temperature and single controls for fan speed, defrost, auto and recirculating air. The in-dash CD player is separate from the navigation DVD slot, so you can listen to your favorite tunes and use the nav system at the same time. The standard surrounding material is beautifully finished pearl-gloss ruthenium (a silvery white metal). There are also touches of the metal on the shifter and glovebox surrounds. For those requiring wood in a luxury car, you can opt for either dark or light birchwood in place of the ruthenium at no extra charge.
The leather sport steering wheel is, as expected in a luxury sports car, multifunctional. The front seats are 12-way powered with memory and are covered in Dakota leather, as are the door grab handles, door inserts and the center console cover. Sport seats, also 12-way power adjustable, are optional and feature manually adjustable thigh support. The standard seats provide plenty of support and comfort for day-to-day driving, while the Sport seats give you that extra bit of lateral and thigh support needed when taking the twisties at maximum speed. There are two leather-covered seats in the rear. Passenger room is typical for a 2+2 coupe. You can fit two average-sized adults in the back on the way to dinner and a movie, but you wouldn't want to get stuck there for a long drive.
iDrive has been simplified in the 6 Series (and in the '04 7 Series as well). Instead of eight direction menu choices, there are five: one in the center and four at the cardinal points. There is a menu button to the right of the silver knob-placed slightly off center to the left of the parking brake-that allows you to return to the previous screen. I never had a problem figuring out the first version of iDrive, but the newest edition is much more straightforward. There are still layers to work through, but the most frequently used ones are relatively easy to access. If the "dreaded" knob still has you disconcerted, you can use the Voice Command System-it's standard on U.S.-spec cars-which controls nearly all of iDrive's basic functions, including the nav, audio and climate systems.