From £58,400
Extremely accomplished, not least in dynamic terms, but lacking for real engagement

Our Verdict

BMW 6 Series coupé
The 6 Series shares its plaform with models as diverse as the 5 Series and Rolls-Royce Ghost

The BMW 6 Series is a superbly accomplished car, unless you’re a driving enthusiast

  • First Drive

    2015 BMW 640d M Sport Coupé UK review

    BMW's luxurious coupé has been given a style refresh and more equipment. This is our first chance to drive the popular 640d Coupe on UK roads
  • First Drive

    2015 BMW 650i Coupé review

    BMW's luxury grand tourer has been given a style refresh and equipment upgrades. We've sampled the most powerful non-M version, the 650i Coupé
30 June 2011

What is it?

For a change, the coupe has arrived after the cabriolet. Not that many would have noticed the variation in the traditional launch schedule. Still, the move says a lot about BMW’s priorities with the elegant new 6-series, which by its own admission is still targeted primarily at the North American market. Larger and more comprehensively equipped than its predecessor, the new 6-series coupe exudes class from the very first moment – and not only in terms of styling and interior appointments, both of which are much better resolved than on the car it replaces.

What’s it like?

Sitting on the same platform as the latest 5-series, it is also terrifically rounded from a dynamic standpoint. Even after a short spell behind the wheel, you’re well aware the new two-door’s on-road ability is a improvement on the old 6-series coupe and a clear match for rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz E-class coupe and Jaguar XK.

The new 6-series coupe comes with the choice of three engines, mirroring the strategy taken with 6-series cabriolet launched earlier this year. Among the turbocharged direct injection petrol units is a 315bhp 3.0-litre in-line six in the 640i driven here as well as a more powerful 4.4-litre V8 developing 401bhp in the initial range topping 650i. Also available is a turbocharged common rail injected 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder diesel with 308bhp in the 640d.

Despite plans for the introduction of a four-wheel drive 650i Xdrive model in certain markets, all versions of the new BMW coupe destined for the UK will retain rear-wheel drive. Unlike the old model which came with the choice of both a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic, though, the new 6-series gets an eight speed automatic gearbox with remote shifting capability across the range as standard.

In keeping with developments in other recent new BMW models, it also receives automatic stop/start, brake energy regeneration, flaps behind the grille that close to improve the drag co-efficient on part throttle loads and on demand ancillary functions – all of which is claimed to lead to combined cycle fuel savings of up to 12 per cent on standard 17-inch wheels and 225/55 R17 tyres.

Although it is lumbered with 1660kg (or 130kg more than old 630i owing to its increased dimensions), the base engine endows the 640i with impressive straight-line performance. With 332lb ft of torque on tap at just 1300rpm, bursts off the line with enthusiasm and provides determined acceleration well into three figures. The delivery is terrifically linear; the twin scroll turbocharger spools up without any discernable lag from idle onwards, providing V8 like levels of shove all the way to the 7200rpm cut-out.

BMW claims 0-62mph in 5.4sec – a full second inside the time quoted for the 630i, with top speed limited to 155mph. There are no official in-gear figures just yet, but with an added 96lb ft developed 1450rpm lower in the rev range it always feels more eager than the model it replaces, even if the engine note, a less than appeal mixture of induction and exhaust blare, is nowhere near as entertaining as the old naturally aspirated 3.0-litre in-line six, whose raspy mechanical hum appears set to be resigned to history.

The 640i coupe devours big distances with great aplomb. High speed stability is one of its real strengths, making it a consummate grand tourer. And with combined average fuel consumption of 37.2mpg, it should be good for at least 500 miles between visits to the petrol station forecourt at normal motorway speeds.

In spite of its obvious heft, it also feels at home on challenging back roads. Accurate and well weighted electro-mechanical combine with a terrifically rigid and resilient body structure, to endow it with real sharpness, while grip levels are extremely high.

For such a big car the new BMW is easy to place on the road and terrifically agile, especially when running the optional Integral Active Steering, which introduces counter steer on the rear wheels, and Adaptive Drive, which suppresses roll though the use of hydraulically operated anti-roll bars.

In a bid to cater a broader range of driving styles than the second-generation model, BMW has provided the new 6-series with four different driving modes as part of a standard Driving Experience Control system: eco pro, comfort, sport and sport plus. Each provides the new car with its own individual character. In everyday driving it feels best in sport, though for those seeking added response, sport plus introduces even greater sharpness to the steering, throttle response and damping.

Should I buy one?

The new 6-series coupe is a highly accomplished car. It is a more harmoniously styled car than its predecessor – both inside and out, boasts heady performance even in base guise, packs added levels of agility, is impressively frugal when driven at the sort of legal limits imposed in the UK, is roomier all round and imparts a satisfying feeling of solidity.

But despite all this, it fails to connect on an emotional level. It gets the job done – determinedly, efficiently and without any obvious short comings. But it ultimately fails to really engage the driver in the way a car with such clear sporting pretensions should. Let’s hope the M6 puts it right.

BMW 640i

Price: £59,550; Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 5.4sec; Economy: 37.2mpg (combined); CO2: 177g/km; Kerb weight: 1660kg; Engine: 6 cyls in line, 2979cc, turbo, petrol; Installation: Front, longitudinal, RWD; Power: 315bhp at 5800rpm; Torque: 332lb ft at 1300rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic;

Join the debate

Comments
16

1 July 2011

Oh great, it handles well till its road tested then its disappointing.

1 July 2011

[quote Lupe]

Oh great, it handles well till its road tested then its disappointing.

[/quote]

What are you saying? ;-)

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

1 July 2011

I'm guessing Lupe is referring to the usual story of Autocar giving a very positive review of a new BMW on a first drive, only to do the opposite in a full test of the same car.

And to be fair, Greg Kable, after praising almost every aspect of the new 640, just sneaked in a bit at the end about it failing to connect on an emotional level. You know, one of those intangible/highly subjective things that car testers often use to either favour a car or downgrade it, against rivals etc. And I hazard a guess this "failure to connect emotionally" jibe will be picked up and used against the new 6 a lot in future tests.

1 July 2011

[quote Overdrive]sneaked in a bit at the end about it failing to connect on an emotional level. You know, one of those intangible/highly subjective things that car testers often use to either favour a car or downgrade it, against rivals etc.[/quote]

nicely put. Great looking car though, elegant and beautifully balanced from front to rear, particularly when juxtaposed with its pregnant looking predecessor.

Father-in-law had a 6 a short while back and - as was always the case with most BMWs until very recently - secondary ride quality was poor. The fact he lives in Edinburgh made the whole deal that much worse (the Scottish capital's roads are a joke) and he sold it not six months after buying it.

I hear they've put the new, er, 'softer suspended thinking' from the 5 and 7 into the 6 too, though this article makes zero mention of that. Maybe more comfortable = less emotional in Teutonic thinking? Would explain a lot of German cars from the last decade.

1 July 2011

Im loathe to admit it but the real news for me here is a 3ltr diesel with 308bhp .

I mean over 100bhp for a diesel is pretty good . Didnt quote the torque for it but I am sure it will be over 350ftlb so will be the engine of choice for the business driver . Economy and performance .

A win win engine surely ?

Hope it goes into the rest of the BMW range .

1 July 2011

Well Lupe i'd buy one, had a previous gen 630i as a loan car while waiting for my M3 and found it a great cruiser with the autobox,it's not really meant for foot to the boards stuff, plus i like the shape.

Peter Cavellini.

1 July 2011

[quote Old Toad]

I mean over 100bhp for a diesel is pretty good . Didnt quote the torque for it but I am sure it will be over 350ftlb so will be the engine of choice for the business driver . Economy and performance .

A win win engine surely ?

[/quote]

And it will do an official 52mpg! Even if you will never go that high unless on a highway cruise, it's still impressive. Long distance, it should be unbeatable, being able to drive many hours full throttle (in Germany) without refuelling. That said, prefer something much lighter and smaller....

2 July 2011

I think a better ride will be a good trade off for most prospective owners.This after all is a cruising car not a sports car.

2 July 2011

[quote] the engine note, a less than appeal mixture of induction and exhaust blare, is nowhere near as entertaining as the old naturally aspirated 3.0-litre in-line six, whose raspy mechanical hum appears set to be resigned to history.[/quote]

Sad, sad, sad :-(

4 July 2011

[quote Overdrive]You know, one of those intangible/highly subjective things that car testers often use to either favour a car or downgrade it, against rivals etc. And I hazard a guess this "failure to connect emotionally" jibe will be picked up and used against the new 6 a lot in future tests.[/quote] I totally agree.... i think road testers should not get their 'emotional attachment' stuff in there to downgrade a car which is otherwise excellent. I think the 6 series is a brilliant car, looks, dynamics and efficiency, i guess if you buying a car like this, you will road test it, and if you didn't get 'emotionally attached' then go and buy a competitor. These big coupe are all about styling and doing great speeds in comfort as well as nimble handling when needed....which the 6 series covers in spades. also when BMW's where controversially styled, they hated them, now they are all elegant, they say they are bland. and when the ride was a bit sporty they say its harsh, now that they are a bit softer with the option to change dynamics mode, they feel detached....i don't get it, what else is BMW suppose to do to get road testers to appreciate how great their cars are.

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