BMW 6 Series review
The BMW 6 Series is a great grand tourer that's luxurious, comfortable and rewarding to drive
The BMW 6 Series coupe was revived in 2003, and this second-generation model arrived in 2011. It's now 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.
A distinctive headlamp design and sleek,flowing bodywork give the BMW 6 Series fantastic road presence, ensuring it turns lots of heads. From the outside, it appears larger than the Porsche 911 and its looks are further boosted by impressive 19-inch alloy wheels. 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. 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.
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 range-topping 650i boasts a mighty 4.4-litre V8 that produces 407bhp. But we'd recommend the 640d, as it has massive torque from just 1,500rpm and covers 0-60mph in less than six seconds, yet remains composed, refined and reasonably efficient in everyday diving. 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, and tyre roar can become intrusive, too.
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.
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 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.
Sporty two-doors with big engines are rarely cheap to run, but the 640d bucks this trend, emitting 144g/km of CO2 and returning an impressive 51mpg fuel economy. As you'd expect, figures for the petrol 6 Series aren't as good: the 3.0-litre 640i returns 37mpg, while the 4.4-litre 650i can only manage a 27mpg 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.