Along with the X3, the 6-series is the oldest BMW on the market. Launched at the Frankfurt auto show in the fall of 2003, the current car has carried on for seven years, supported by a convertible version launched in 2004 and a very modest face lift in late 2007. Now it’s time to move on, and this is what we believe the next-generation 6-series will look like. It will be launched in late 2010 or early 2011 and draw heavily from the Gran Coupé concept car BMW unveiled at the Beijing auto show earlier this year.Stylistically, the next 6 will be less bulky than the current model, which—back in 2003—was the second Bangle-fied blow absorbed by BMW loyalists after the portly 2001 7-series. With LED running lights and BMW’s characteristic air intakes below the headlights, the next 6 will launch with styling elements that undoubtedly will prove less controversial than the outgoing model’s protruding posterior. It will look leaner, tighter, and more aggressive than the current model. Power initially will come from BMW’s 300-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six and 400-hp, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. Europe will get a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel likely rated around 320 hp, but we doubt it will be offered in the U.S. We will, however, get another M6, which—like the next M5—will be powered by a high-output version of the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 rated as high as 580 hp. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a manual-transmission option. The current-generation V-10 M5 and M6 were launched with the automated SMG transmission only, but U.S. customers forced BMW to hastily add a six-speed manual—a lesson unlikely to be forgotten soon. If this engine portfolio sounds awfully similar to that of the 5-series, that’s because under the skin—as has been the case since the 6-series debuted in the late ’70s—the 5 is the 6′s closest sibling, even though the coupe poses as a sportier, slightly downsized 7-series.