What is it?
This is the all-new F20-series BMW 6-series coupe. BMW UK shifted 14,000 of the previous-generation 6-series and the sales were split 63 per cent coupe and 37 per cent cabriolet. 93 per cent were powered by diesel engines and 97 per cent left the showroom in Sport guise. The upshot is that the 640d with the M Sport specification will be the heartland model for BMW UK.
The standard specification is pretty generous, including Dakota leather, switchable chassis tuning and a top-line navigation system with real-time traffic prediction. The M Sport models get extra external body styling, 19in wheels and extendable squab front sports seats.
The new 6-series grows significantly in size compared to the old model. The wheelbase is up by 75mm, the width by 34mm and the length by 74mm. Boot space is up to a substantial 460-litres, essential considering the golfing habits of the target market. The rear seats remain classically 2+2, with the deeply dished cushions freeing up headroom but legroom remains woefully restricted.
The front passengers can luxuriate in the spacious cockpit. This M Sport model gets excellent, extendable squab, sports seats and M steering wheel. The dash, similar in layout to the old model, is impressively finished.
This new six-pot diesel shows significant gains on the 635d’s motor. Power climbs 27bhp and torque is up 37lb ft. Claimed economy leaps 25 per cent, to a remarkable 51.4mpg. This is partly aided by the car’s Dynamic Performance Control, which offers an economy-biased Eco Pro mode (governing the car’s shift points, accelerator maps and wider energy use).
What’s it like?
Hugely competent, beautifully made, quick and potentially very economical. On the road, however, the new 6-series has clearly lost the pronounced sporting edge of the previous model.
This car’s greater refinement, seamless torque delivery, walloping overtaking pace and inherently less agile feel made sense on some of North Wales’ Bavarian-style, wide, sweeping A-roads. There’s no doubt that this 6-series can reel across continents while leaving the occupants wholly unruffled. In Comfort mode, the car 6-series feels like a traditional luxury executive car. But, taken by the scruff the neck, and driven hard across some of the most challenging Welsh backroads, the 6-series disappoints. Even in ‘Dynamic’ mode, the steering feel, always somewhat distant, becomes more indistinct and the weighting inconsistent.
Driven hard, the whole car feels surprisingly heavy and unwilling. And on the most challenging surfaces, the damping can occasionally struggle to cope. The brakes are notable, however, for their feedback and finely-tuned responses and the eight-speed auto for its sheer responsiveness.While it would be admittedly be on home territory, a Jaguar XK would cover this terrain with a good deal more effortlessness and enthusiasm.
Should I buy one?
The new 6-series is an unashamed and highly accomplished GT car, but one that is significantly less driver-focused than the previous model. If that’s what you fancy, the new 6-series is a very handsome and very impressive piece of engineering.
But if you wanted something with more life, whether you are travelling at 30mph in town or are out on the open road, this might not be for you. BMW has significantly shifted the character of the 6-series. It’s a better car by all the standard metrics. More aloof and less engaging.