2008 BMW 6-Series Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 22, 2008

The 2008 BMW 6-Series is overwrought and overstocked with technology that distracts even from the M6’s heroic performance.

The 2008 BMW 6-Series is actually four cars: the 650i hardtop and convertible, and the M6 convertible and hardtop. They share 2+2 seating, a similar profile, and stunning performance, along with chunky curb weights and the resulting heavy feel at the controls.

The 650i gets its drive from a 4.8-liter V-8 with 360 hp, teamed with a 6-speed automated manual or a conventional 6-speed manual. Sport mode heightens shifting response and remaps the throttle and steering feel. Manual 650i Coupes can reach 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, BMW says, while Convertibles take 0.3 seconds more. Both hit 155 mph.

BMW added the M6 performance edition in 2006. Like the M5 sedan, the M6 draws power from a 500-hp V-10 mated to a 6-speed manual. So equipped, it vaults to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

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For 2008, BMW restyled the 6-Series with new LED lights, a reshaped decklid, and LED taillights, too. The 6-Series still looks squat and thick, especially from the rear. Inside it's comfortable for two passengers, but its wood and leather trim get lost in the complex sea of electronic controls. IDrive controls audio, navigation, and climate, and it's far from fumble-free. On convertibles, the canvas top is lighter and less complex than a folding hardtop.

The 6-Series has copious power and great handling, but it teeters on technology overload. Braking, steering, and suspension all are controlled by electronics, and that chips away at the emotional connection that draws us to sporty cars in the first place. A good diet and a trip to the electronic recycling bin would help the 6-Series buff its sports-car luster.

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