BMW 635d Sport
Given that BMW expects the 635d to account for nearly three-quarters of 6-Series sales in the UK, it’s a real surprise it has taken the firm so long to develop this variant.
But with the M3, X5, 1-Series coupé, facelifted 5-Series and several other models launched in the last 12 months, the company has certainly had its hands full.
Yet even among that line-up, the 635d stands out. Our test car was a Sport model fitted with optional alloy wheels, which give it a hint of M6, while the Deep Sea Blue paintwork looks fantastic. There was plenty of controversy when the model was first launched, but now the novelty has worn off, it’s easy to appreciate what a well styled car it is. It’s not exactly pretty, but the aggressive and distinctive look of the two-door gives the CLS a run for its money in terms of visual impact. It’s also more likely to appeal to younger buyers than the Mercedes.
However, customers with a family in tow will struggle when it comes to practicality. The two-door body means access to the rear is tricky and the seats themselves are cramped, with both passengers locked in place by the bulky transmission tunnel and limited headroom. The BMW is only 100mm shorter than the CLS, yet from the back seats it feels much smaller.
The 635d is much better suited to accommodating only two people – up front the cabin is spacious and the electrically adjustable, figure-hugging seats, which are standard on the high-spec Sport, offer excellent support and comfort. Finding a good driving position is simple.
As we’ve come to expect on BMW models, build quality is immaculate and the interior is neatly laid out – but there are gripes. There’s a lack of stowage, especially on the centre console, and the iDrive cabin control system often turns a straightforward operation into a long-winded process.
However, eight programmable buttons on the dash make things easier. The 3.0-litre straight-six is hard to fault, though. Thanks to its twin turbochargers, it offers even more torque than the 507bhp V10 in the M6, and has an impressive combination of power and economy – although during its stint with us it returned a little over 30mpg, which is not as high as we’d hoped.
There was no arguing with its performance at the test track, as the 635d completed the 0-60mph sprint in a mightily impressive 5.7 seconds. Out on the road, it feels the quicker car too, especially in kickdown. However, it’s the effortless nature with which it gains speed that really impresses, while the engine remains unruffled even when pushed hard.
Through corners, the BMW continues to impress. There’s lots of grip, the steering has good feedback and the 6-Series is composed. It’s more involving than the CLS, but the pay-off is a firm ride and a surprising amount of road noise. This lets the coupé down and it’s not comfortable enough to be a true GT – this could be down to the run-flat tyres, which are standard on all BMWs.
The price is also likely to sting. At more than £56,000, the 635d is expensive, especially when compared to the CLS. The BMW is well equipped, though, with parking sensors, leather and xenon lights as standard – these are all options on the Merc. But our test car still had £8,500 of extras fitted, including the £2,000 navigation system and active cruise control at £1,265.
Price: £56,110Model tested: BMW 635d SportChart position: 2WHY: The twin-turbo diesel has proved itself in the 3-Series and 5-Series. Now we see if it makes sense in BMW’s luxury two-door.
Fuel returns are a key factor for anyone thinking about buying the 635d. In its time with us, it returned 30.2mpg, but if our long-term 535d is anything to go by, expect 37mpg when cruising.
Our experts have yet to calculate residual values for the new diesel 6-Series. But based on the 630i petrol, we expect the 635d to hold on to at least 55 per cent of its list price.
The excellent Service Inclusive package offers great value. Pay £560 up front, and you get three years’ worth of servicing. A five-year/60,000-mile deal is available for £840.
Not only is the BMW the more economical, but it’s also cleaner, emitting only 183g/km of CO2. However, the list price makes it just as expensive as the Mercedes for company drivers.
In this review
- 1IntroductionBMW has finally added a diesel to the 6-Series range. We compare it to the oil-burning CLS to see which makes the better grand tourer.
- 21st At first glance, it’s not immediately apparent how the CLS fits into the Mercedes line-up.
- 32nd - currently readingGiven that BMW expects the 635d to account for nearly three-quarters of 6-Series sales in the UK, it’s a real surprise it has taken the firm so long to develop this variant.
- 4Facts and figuresMercedes CLS 320 CDI vs BMW 635d Sport - specifications