Like many recent BMWs, the 6-series emerged from its redesign considerably more handsome than before. The overall look didn’t change greatly, but the details make all the difference — the surface treatment of the body panels, the shape of the light clusters, the angle of the grille. The 6-series comes as a coupe and a convertible with a soft top that carries over a unique element from the previous car. The rear edges of the top extend rearward, framing a vertical rear window that is power operated and can be raised or lowered independently of the roof — raised when the top is down to act as a wind blocker or lowered when the top is up for ventilation. The 6-series is based on the same platform as the 5- and 7-series sedans, and it offers the same plethora of luxury equipment found on those cars. Like them, the 6-series can be had with all-wheel drive, which is unusual for a coupe/convertible. The 6 also offers a manual transmission (in the 650i), a choice that’s increasingly rare in this class. Do not, however, conclude that the availability of a stick shift means the 6-series is a highly involving sports car. It is not. Granted, its performance is impressive — even the 640i can race from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and the all-wheel-drive V-8 version can do it in as little as 4.7 seconds. But the 6-series is suffused with electronics — adaptive suspension and available Active Steering, to name but two — that make for an artificially enhanced driving experience. Rather than a full-on performance coupe, the 6-series is more of a luxury machine, albeit a very fast one.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: 640i, 650i, 650i xDrive
Body styles: Coupe, convertible, 4-passenger
Engines: 3.0L turbo I-6, 315 hp, 330 lb-ft
4.4L twin-turbo V-8, 400 hp, 450 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 82.0 cu ft (est.)
Cargo space: (coupe/convertible) 13.0/11.0 cu ft
After skipping the 2011 model year, the 2012 6-series debuted in May 2011. The 650i convertible appeared first and has been joined by a hardtop coupe. For both, all-wheel drive is newly available, as are three new options: a Bang & Olufsen sound system, full-LED headlights, and an M Sport package. The 640i coupe and convertible have now been added to the lineup. In place of the 4.4-liter V-8 in the 650i, the 640i uses a 3.0-liter turbo straight six.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags (in the coupe); active head restraints for the front seats; traction and stability control; antilock brakes with panic brake assist; a rearview camera; adaptive xenon headlamps; and adaptive brake lights are standard on all models. Night vision is optional.
All: 15 mpg city/22-23 mpg highway
- Powerful engines
- Manual or automatic
- Most luxuries are standard
- Cramped rear seat
- More fast than fun
BMW’s big boulevardier, now with more head-turning style.
- Audi S5
- Jaguar XK
- Maserati GranTurismo
- Mercedes-Benz E-class