New & Used BMW 6-Series: In Depth
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The BMW 6-Series is a luxurious sports sedan, convertible, or coupe whose size is mid-to-large. The entry-level model has on a rear-wheel drive layout, but all-wheel drive and performance-oriented M models are available as well. It competes with the Jaguar XK, Maserati GranTurismo, Porsche 911, and the Mercedes CLS and SL Classes.
Check out The Car Connection's coverage of the 2014 BMW 6-Series.
First introduced in 1976, the original BMW 6-Series was only available as a coupe. The long-lived first generation ran until 1989, seeing many changes along the way, including an increase in displacement of its inline six-cylinder engine from the initial 3.2-liter displacement to a final displacement of 3.5 liters. Performance, power, and accommodations likewise made incremental improvements over the 13-year model run. An M6 version offered further enhancements to power and handling.
After a hiatus, the 6-Series returned for its second generation in 2003, taking the place left by the cessation of the 8-Series. This time around, the 6-Series took its basis from the 5-Series' core mechanical underpinnings, but was offered as a coupe and convertible. A 4.4-liter V-8 engine was the standard powerplant, generating a stout 330 horsepower. In 2006, mid-way through the second generation's model run, a new 4.8-liter V-8 was introduced, raising output to 362 horsepower. The M6, debuting in 2005, saw a 500-horsepower V-10 engine paired with the SMG III automated manual gearbox, yielding impressive 0-60 mph acceleration of 4.1 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph--though the M6 itself was capable of 194 mph.
The current generation, which arrived in 2011 as a 2012 model, is also available in coupe and convertible body styles, with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbocharged engine in the base 640i model, rated at 320 horsepower. The 650i gets a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine rated at 400 horsepower, and the range-topping M6 uses a sharper version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo engine to generate a massive 560-horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. The Coupe is available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while the Convertible is limited to rear-wheel drive.
An all-new model, the 6-Series Gran Coupe, was also introduced in 2012 as a 2013 model-year vehicle. Taking the 6-Series' styling cues but adding a second pair of doors, the 6-Series Gran Coupe is a luxury four-door coupe available at launch only in 640i guise, sharing its powertrain with the 640i Coupe and Convertible.
In the standard 6-Series coupe and convertible, both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions are available. In the M6, a seven-speed M-DCT dual-clutch transmission is the only option thus far. In advance of the M6 first offered as a Convertible for 2012 and a Convertible for 2013 (with the M6 GranCoupe set to arrive in calendar-year 2014), BMW introduced an M Sport Package for the 2012 6-Series.
The 2012 BMW 6-Series also offers a wide range of luxury and technology features, including a 10.2-inch LCD display, fourth-generation iDrive infotainment system, a highly-detailed and sculpted interior design, and 2+2 seating. Twenty-way adjustable power seats, LED headlights, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-change warning, and a high-end Bang & Olufsen sound system are also available options.
An immense array of exterior paint, interior color, upholstery, trim, and other aesthetic options are available to personalize the BMW 6-Series.
For 2013, BMW 650i models received a new twin-turbo V-8 engine, incorporating Valvetronic variable valve timing and making 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Otherwise, 2013 brought a BMW 6-Series Coupe Frozen Silver Edition--a model distinguished by its Frozen Silver paint, 20-inch M Performance Wheels with contrasting black center caps, and other upgrades like a sport exhaust, Alcantara headliner, and custom door sills.
The 2014 model year brought an optional six-speed manual transmission for M6 models, an updated version of the iDrive infotainment system, and a range of color and equipment updates. A Harman Kardon sound upgrade was introduced for 2015. Also in 2015, 6-Series lineup upgraded to a Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster display and enhanced iDrive touch-pad controller; meanwhile 650i and 650i xDrive models gained a standard M Sport exhaust system, and the Sport automatic transmission gained a Launch Control feature.