The next-generation BMW 6 Series convertible has been spied outside the Nurburgring in Germany.

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2018 6 Series coupe

That's because the company has fitted this prototype with false body panels around the fenders, boot lid, and doors. The join lines of these additional panels hint at a boot lid design similar to the controversial first-generation model, although the reality will no doubt be something a little more populist.

This development vehicle is also fitted with temporary head- and tail-light units.

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Under the skin, the new 6 Series coupe and convertible range will use a version of the Cluster Architecture that underpins the latest 5 Series and 7 Series models.

With its use of high-strength steel, aluminium, and, even, a dash of carbon-fibre, the new 6 Series should be around 100 kilograms lighter than today's cars.

Under the bonnet, expect to see a selection of engines similar to that of the new 5 Series, which uses turbocharged four-, six-, and eight-cylinder motors.

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At present the petrol 5 Series range includes the 185kW/350Nm 530i with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 250kW/450Nm 540i with a 3.0-litre straight-six, and the 340kW/650Nm M550i xDrive with a 4.4-litre V8.

On the diesel side of the ledger, there's the 140kW/400Nm 520d trims with a 2.0-litre turbo four-pot, and the 195kW/620Nm 530d with a 3.0-litre inline-six.

The 530e's plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which a total of 185kW/420Nm at its disposal and a 45km EV driving range, might also be available in some markets.

Australia

A late 2017 debut is expected for the 6 Series range. If that proves to be so, the new two-door models won't go on sale in Australia until some time in 2018.