This is an interesting question, one to which I did not know an immediate answer.
Fortunately, I had a lab (on GNS3) in which to verify this.
I placed a qemu host on the iBGP subnet between two routers providing the redundant WAN access.
DefGW was set to the primary router and the machine was made to ping to a loopback address on the WAN.
Then the BGP peer to the WAN link on the primary router was shutdown.
Contrary to my expectations, the ping went through undisturbed and without losing packets.
BGP timers in this lab are set to 10 30 but with other failover situations, I can clearly see an interruption of traffic.
Now, this is just a simulation and the behaviour may be different on a router hosting a full Internet table but the effect of shutting the peer seems to be that the routes are flushed immediately. My impression is that one cannot guarantee a total lack of downtime but shutting the neighbor via cli is obviously better than waiting for a protocol timeout.
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