BMW 6 Series review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
2015 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The BMW 6 Series is a great grand tourer that's luxurious, quick and rewarding to drive

For: 
Diesel economy, muscular looks, strong performance
Against: 
Pricey, expensive options, not very nimble

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The BMW 6 Series coupe was revived in 2003, and this second-generation model arrived in 2011. For 2015 BMW has now introduced a facelifted version, with very minor styling tweaks, interior trim changes and revisions to the engines - to help maintain the car’s appeal.

It's also available as a BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe four-door, as well as the traditional two-door hardtop and convertible models. This coupe is the biggest seller, however, and directly rivals the likes of the Porsche 911 and Jaguar XK. It's more practical and luxurious than the Porsche, plus it's better built than the Jaguar.

The 6 Series coupe is also more satisfying to drive than the 6 Series convertible thanks to a stiffer body, capable chassis and accurate steering. There's no denying the BMW 6 Series is an expensive choice, but residual values are strong and diesel-engined versions offer reasonable running costs.

The model range has one diesel model and three petrol versions. Unsurprisingly, the 640d is the most efficient, returing 52.3mpg but still capable of 155mph and 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds. If performance is what you're after, however, the new M6 will get from 0-62mph in only 4.2 seconds. 

Our choice: BMW 640d SE

Styling

4

A distinctive headlamp design and sleek, flowing bodywork give the BMW 6 Series fantastic road presence, ensuring it turns lots of heads. The changes brought in by the facelift are minor but there's a restyled kidney grille and front bumper design. Also you get full LED headlamps as standard, new wing mirrors, a revised rear bumper and larger diameter exhausts for the petrol moldes. From the outside, the BMW 6 Series appears larger than the Porsche 911 and its looks are further boosted by impressive 19-inch alloy wheels -all of which have new designs for the 2015 mid-life update. The most desirable M Sport model ups the wheel size to 20 inches and adds polished exhaust tips for even more visual flair.

Inside, luxury touches abound, including comfortable leather sports seats, gloss-finished door inserts, a jewel-like instrument panel and the BMW iDrive infotainment system. A leather dash is now standard while all but the high performance M model get digital instrument dials. These change in design and colour depending on what more the car is in: Eco Pro, Comfort or Sport.

The overall effect is cutting-edge and driver-focused, and while the rear seats are a bit cramped, they're more spacious than what you'll find in the Jaguar XK or Porsche 911.

Driving

4

No BMW 6 Series is short on power. The 640i and 640d models get 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, respectively, while the 650i boasts a mighty 4.4-litre V8 that produces 444bhp – a whopping 37bhp more than before. At the top of the range is the M6 which has 552bhp and 680NM of torque and can hit 62mph from a standstill in just 4.2 seconds. This model also has uprated adaptable suspension, bigger brakes, an M differential and exhaust plus a dual28 clutch 7-speed paddle-shift gearbox.

We’d recommend the 640d, as it has massive torque from just 1,500rpm and covers 0-60mph in just 5.2 seconds, yet remains composed, refined and reasonably efficient in everyday diving. Plus it can top 50 miles per gallon, incredible considering the performance it delivers. Really, It’s the perfect all-rounder. All 6 Series benefit from sharp rear-wheel-drive handling, strong braking performance and a generally involving driving experience. This is further enhanced by the optional Dynamic Drive system, which minimises body roll.

On the downside, the car's large alloy wheels and firm suspension make for an uncomfortable ride on poor road surfaces though select the adaptive dampers, which feature a comfort mode, and you can improve the ride. You can’t do anything about the tyre roar though - which is quite noticeable on rough surfaces. Shame as otherwise the BMW 6 Series is relatively quiet.

Sporty two-doors with big engines are rarely cheap to run, but the 640d bucks this trend, emitting 143g/km of CO2 and returning an impressive 52.3mpg fuel economy. As you'd expect, figures for the petrol 6 Series aren't as good: the 3.0-litre 640i returns 37.2mpg, while the 4.4-litre 650i can only manage a 32.1mpg average. As for the M6… well that does just 28.5mpg, and given the nature of the car you have to be very restrained to get anywhere near this.

The 6 Series' expensive list price put its up against the Jaguar XK and Porsche 911 - both of which will cost more to run but offer a more exciting drive. The Audi S5 offers a similar luxury coupe experience to the 6 Series for much less cash. It's a bit smaller and less efficient than the BMW, yet you still get excellent refinement, a premium badge, a powerful engine and a well finished cabin for your money.
To help make the 6 Series more competitive the mid-life updates include some extra kit as standard such as LED headlamps, a leather dash and BMWs ConnectedDrive as standard which includes a built-in mobile phone sim card that allows the car to automatically alert the emergency services in the event of an accident.

Reliability

4

The BMW 6 Series doesn't quite sell enough examples in the UK to feature in the big reliability surveys, plus it's only been around for three years so long-term reliability is hard to judge. BMW has a generally good reputation for build quality and dependability, though, so you can buy with peace of mind. BMW also does well for safety, and all 6 Series come with electronic stability control, plus front, side and curtain airbags as standard.

Practicality

3.8

The BMW performs better than many of its coupe rivals in this areas. The sleek and compact exterior conceals a 460-litre boot, while front-seat occupants have lots of room, too. There's more good news in the back seats, which offer a small degree of legroom for adults, unlike many other two-door coupes.

Headroom is a little tight due to the low roofline, but if you want to carry adults in the back on a regular basis, there's always the four-door 6 Series Gran Coupe, which is even more practical than its two-door counterpart.

Running Costs

3.5

Sporty two-doors with big engines are rarely cheap to run, but the 640d bucks this trend, emitting 139g/km of CO2 and returning an impressive 54.2mpg fuel economy. As you'd expect, figures for the petrol 6 Series aren't as good: the 3.0-litre 640i returns 38.2mpg, while the 4.4-litre 650i can only manage a 32.9mpg average.

The 6 Series' expensive list price put its up against the Jaguar XK and Porsche 911 - both of which will cost more to run but offer a more exciting drive. The Audi S5 offers a similar luxury coupe experience to the 6 Series for much less cash. It's a bit smaller and less efficient than the BMW, yet you still get excellent refinement, a premium badge, a powerful engine and a well finished cabin for your money.

Last updated: 1 Jun, 2015
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