BMW 6 Series

Find out more about the BMW 6 Series in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Sleek styling
  • Diesel economy or petrol performance
  • Practical and luxurious interior

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Maintenance is pricey
  • Not as exciting to drive as rivals
  • MPG

    36 - 58

  • CO2

    127 - 176 g/km

Model review

The BMW 6 Series carries a nameplate that dates back to 1976. Initially a sleek, shark-nosed luxury coupe, it’s kept that grand tourer ethos throughout its four generations so far – though the latest model isn’t yet available to buy, and will initially only be available in four-door GT form.

The second-gen car was divisive, mainly due to its controversial styling and complex infotainment system, so the third-gen model is the sweet spot for most buyers.

It features more conventional looks combined with a slick interior, and is the ideal sweet spot for those who don’t want the impracticality or cost of a supercar but prefer something more racy than a conventional executive saloon.

Latest model

The latest 6 Series range has currently only been revealed in GT guise, which replaces the old and relatively unloved 5 Series GT. It mixes a coupe roofline with a big boot, and BMW is keen for it to be considered as a mini 7 Series rather than a high-class 5 Series.

It certainly looks a lot better than the old 5 Series GT, and instead of an ugly bustle-back rear, it has a conventional hatchback. It’s practical, too, with a wide tailgate and plenty of loading capacity, while the interior has room for four to travel in comfort.

Though a coupe model has not yet been revealed, we wouldn’t expect a massive departure. BMW’s styling language has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary, so it’s a fair assumption that the new 6 Series Coupe will look fairly similar.

Initial driving impressions of the 6 Series GT seem good, but it’s not yet been available to drive in the UK, so judgement will have to be reserved until we can get one on British tarmac.

Value for money

BMW’s winding down production of the current model 6 Series, and has removed the Coupe from the range altogether – leaving a convertible, which starts at £66,980, and a 4-door Gran Coupe, which starts at £61,080, and the new 6-Series Gran Turismo, starting £46,810.

While the Gran Coupe is good value for money, it does feel rather outdated inside. However, that doesn’t detract form all the kit you get and an options list that could soon see you spending thousands more.

However, look through the classifieds and you’ll find that the 6 Series can be had from less than £21,000 and don’t think you’ll be getting some galactic mile car with a dodgy history. We found a 2011 640i SE convertible with just 35,000 miles on the clock for £20,980 with a full service history, sports seats and sat nav. That means it’s a bit of a bargain compared with much older Mercedes SL’s of the era that can cost several thousand pounds more.

Looks and Image

The 6-Series is a handsome car in Gran Coupe form or convertible. Both wear the same face and roughly the same rear end, it’s just in between those two that’s different. The Gran Coupe is an elegant four-door saloon that offers Coupe looks but saloon practicality. You effectively get the best of both worlds. The convertible is very different. It has an elongated body that is sophisticated and is a massive improvement in terms of looks over its predecessor, which had a convertible roof that was very ungainly. The current model is a much better looking car that retains the sleek styling of the now discontinued coupe.

The latest car to join the range is the 6 Series Gran Turismo. This and has a much more curvaceous body shell that a lot more appealing to the eye. It is a lot chunkier than the other two, but is aimed as a more family friendly 6 Series.

Space and practicality

Room inside the cabin is varied. The front two occupants will both have lots of leg and headroom. However, climb into the back and the legroom becomes cramped and all but the shortest of people will find enough room to sit propely. Both cars have fairly roomy boots, as the Gran Coupe having 460-litres with the seats up and an impressive 1,265 litres with the rear seats folded down.

The convertible has a slightly smaller boot. With the rear seats in place it has just 250 litres of boot space. Put the roof down and this decreases to just 200 litres – hardly grand touring cargo space.

If you want practicality in spades, however, the latest 6-er to the range, the Gran Turismo (GT), is a family orientated car with a huge tailgate revealing a capacious 610-litre boot with the rear seats in place. Fold them down and you practically have a van with 1,800-litres of room  – more than enough to swallow up luggage.

Engines

Across the range there are three engines to choose from – the 640i with a 315bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine, the 640d with a 308bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine, or a 650i with a fully-fledged 443bhp twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8  petrol engine.

The Gran Turismo does not come with the thirsty V8, but instead it comes with the choice of six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

Running costs

With six and eight cylinder engines only running costs are always going to be higher than those of smaller four-cylinder ones. However, despite this the diesels have especially good economic returns – a combined 52mpg – and are worth opting for if economy is what you have in mind. If not, there is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol that sounds fabulous and returns 37mpg.

If you’re feeling brave there is the 650i option across the range. This is a 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine that will return 32mpg if you’re lucky. Don’t expect to be driving past lots of petrol stations.

The 2.0-litre four-pot engine is only available with the Gran Turismo. However, we’d recommend the six-cylinder engines anyway for a smoother, more powerful driving experience.

The general running of a luxury barge such as a 6 Series won’t be cheap either if you use a main dealer. Expect to pay at least £399 for a basic service and a lot more if parts need replacing. However, opt to use a BMW specialist and the costs become more affordable.

We found a specialist that charged just under £200 for a service – half that of a main dealer.

Things to look out for

The 6 Series Gran Coupe was recalled earlier this year in September due to a fault with the two front seats. The outer bolts could come loose and if left could result in the seat flying backwards during a crash. The manufacturer should have repaired this so it’s well worth checking in the service history if buying a used example.

Other things to look out for are that the car has not been used for towing. BMW never issued a tow bar option for the Gran Coupe or the convertible for that matter. If there is a tow bar on the car you are looking at, then walk away as BMW never approved one, so it could have caused unnecessary wear and tear to the car.

Owners have also complained about gearbox issues and engine management issues with one person paying more than £2,000 for a repair.

Obviously if you are buying a new convertible the roof will be brand new and you won’t have any worries. However, for those buying a used example, you should always make sure the roof has no damage to it, no watermarks on the interior and that the roof sits flush with the bodywork when in place. If not then the bills to repair the roof could be expensive.

Rivals

In many ways the 6 Series convertible doesn’t have many rivals. It cost more than an E-Class drop top but not as much as say an S-Class or Maserati GranTurismo. If anything it is rivalled by the Porsche 911 convertible on price, but certainly not on drivability.

The Gran Coupe on the other hand has several rivals including the Audi A7 and Mercedes CLS. If you want to spend a bit more the Porsche Panamera could also be considered a rival offering lots of practicality in a fastback body.

In comparison the BMW is still a very good-looking car, but is starting to look slightly old. A new model is on the way which is expected to improve and refresh the looks.

Which 6 Series to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

620d SE 5dr Auto Gran Turismo

Most MPG

620d SE 5dr Auto Gran Turismo

Fastest Model (0-60)

640i xDrive SE 5dr Auto Gran Turismo

Trims Explained

There are just two trim levels available across most the range. This consists of SE and M Sport, which are available with all engines.

SE

The SE now comes as standard with some upgrades.

These include LED headlamps, electric leather seats, BMW ConnectedDrive (this connects to your phone and can even alert the emergency services if you end up in a crash) and an extended leather dashboard, to name a few.

M Sport

This model comes with larger 19-inch alloy wheels, a bodykit, chromed tailpipes, special colours and M logos.

There is also an upgraded interior with Nappa leather sports seats, an M Sport steering wheel, Alcantara headliner, brushed aluminium inserts and M Sport badging throughout the cabin.

650i

The 650i is the only one available in Sport trim.

This adds some extra goodies over the SE such as larger alloy wheels, sharper exterior styling and gloss black trim. The cabin also gets some ‘sporty’ touches, such as the option of piano black wood and chunky gear paddles on the back of the steering wheel.

Summary

  1. Stand out looks
  2. Good leg and headroom, but depends on the model variant
  3. Used car bargain
  4. Good to drive
  5. Poor boot space
  6. Good choice of engines
  7. Running costs can be affordable if you do some homework
  8. Reliability is not the best
  9. Slightly old design
  10. Good level of equipment as standard

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