- Smooth, strong acceleration
- Gran Coupe adds versatility
- Great soft-top setup (Convertible)
- Hefty, and drives like it
- Artificial steering feel
- Gran Coupe lacks headroom
With the addition of a new four-door Gran Coupe and M6 Coupe, the 6-Series lineup covers the full range of personal luxury, from soft and elegant to sharp and athletic.
Looking from the 640i and 650i Coupe and Convertible models, over to the all-new, very curvaceous Gran Coupe four-door, and to the super-performance M6, the BMW 6-Series lineup appears wildly varied in purpose, and appealing to distinctly different kinds of luxury-car shoppers. But across the entire 6-Series lineup, what these models do have in common is that they're all intensely expressive.
Each of these models do have some common architecture, but there's a very different final mix for look, feel, and functionality between each of them. Style is clearly the priority for the 2013 6-Series Coupe and Convertible models, and it's immediately apparent: from the taut, sculpted hood to the stylized flanks and the sweeping (Coupe's) roofline. They do scream "Look at me!"--but with a politeness that would be welcomed at the country club. On the other hand, the new M6 wears a little more urgency on its sleeves--even before you fire the engine up--with its more aggressive aero work, distinctive wheels, flared fenders flush with the wheels, and somewhat wider stance.
The athletic look is backed up by turbocharged six-cylinder or V-8 engines. In the 640i, it's a 315-horsepower, 3.0-liter six—offering up to 31 mpg on the highway—while the 650i models get a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine making 400 horsepower. That's more than enough to ably motivate the roughly 4,200-pound coupe or convertible. Mated to BMW's eight-speed transmission, it sends its power to the rear wheels (or to all four wheels in the case of the 650i xDrive model) with smooth, even-tempered vigor. 640i models have a little less of the relaxed muscle-coupe character you get in the 650i, but they're very smooth and strong without needing to be revved.
New for 2013—actually introduced as a Convertible late in the 2012 model year, but now new as a Coupe—is the new-generation super-performance M6. Just as the latest M5, it dumps the thirsty former V-10 in favor of a 560-hp BMW M twin-turbo V-8, mated to a special seven-speed M Double Clutch gearbox that offers exceptionally fast shifts. That's matched with an M specific chassis, upgraded brakes, special sport seats, and extensive M Drive controls over suspension, steering, powertrain, and stability controls; 0-60 mph times are as short as 4.1 seconds. It even includes two customizable setting buttons to quickly dial in a different character for a certain kind of driving.
All Gran Coupe models feature four doors and what BMW calls 4+1 seating, making egress into the rear seats easier than 6-Series Coupe models. The Gran Coupe retains the driving dynamics of the standard Coupe, but its improved rear accommodations make it more appealing to those who regularly carry more than one passenger. That said, the Gran Coupe isn't a substitute for the 7-Series, or any of BMW's more upright sedans, really, as there's not enough headroom for most adults. For parents or grandparents who want the feel of a coupe but with a few extra seats for the weekend, it's perfect.
Both the Coupe and the Convertible handle well for large grand tourers; neither is as nimble as a true sports car, but both are ready and willing partners on a curving canyon road. That comfort comes courtesy of some very well-designed and roomy front seats. The rear seats in either Convertible or Coupe are best-suited to small children or luggage, though they can hold adults, particularly with the top down in the convertible, for shorter distances. Materials and trims are exactly what you'd expect for the premium price. And if you want to customize the 6-Series' look, there's a full set of possibilities through the BMW Individual Composition program.
A 10.2-inch wide-screen display and BMW's iDrive system are included on all models, in addition to most other typical luxury-car comforts and conveniences. Noteworthy options dig into leading-edge technology, infotainment, and active safety, including night-vision system with pedestrian detection; Bang & Olufsen sound system; active cruise control; top- and side-view cameras; heads-up display; and a Driver Assistance Package (lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, multiple camera views, and a parking assistant). An M Sport Package is offered on those models and adds LED foglamps; special wheels with high-performance tires; an alcantara headliner; and a higher top-speed limiter.