2013 BMW 6-Series Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
June 1, 2012

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, whether you mean the convertible or coupe. Apparent immediately is an urgency that's as much visual as visceral, all the way from its stylized flanks to its sweeping roofline and sculpted hood. They do scream "Look at me!"--but with a politeness that would be welcomed at the country club. M cars wear their urgency on their sleeve, with big wheels, flared fenders, a wider stance, and more aerodynamic aids.

BMW backs up the pounce-ready look with turbo-6 and twin-turbo V-8 engines. A 315-hp, 3.0-liter six fits into the 640i, and rates up to 31 mpg highway. The 650i cars have a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 that burns off 400 hp, enough to vault the 4,200-pound car to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. An 8-speed automatic drives the rear wheels (on xDrive 650i cars, to all four wheels) with smooth but even-tempered vigor. 640i cars have less of the 650i's muscle-car feel, but they're strong and very smooth at low revs.

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New in the 2013 model year-actually introduced as a Convertible late in 2012, 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 arrives in as few as 4.1 seconds. It even includes two customizable setting buttons to quickly dial in a different character for a certain kind of driving.

Gran Coupe 6-Series cars have so-called "4+1" seating. It's a way of softening expectations for back-seat space, which isn't bad, but certainly doesn't make the four-doors a great choice for four passengers on a regular basis. It's far better than in two-door cars, and the Gran Coupes don't give up much, if anything, in performance, but for more than two passengers, a 7-Series or 5-Series is a better choice.

Neither the coupe nor the convertible is a legit sports car, but any 6-Series has very good handling, despite their size and weight. Willing partners on country roads, they have roomy front-seat areas with well-designed buckets and a pair of lovely luggage lumps in back, which some people mistakenly refer to as "seats." Even small kids will call you out for putting them back there.

BMW fits its iDrive interface and a 10.2-inch display in all 6-Series cars. On the options list are 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 fog lights, high-performance tires and distinctive wheels, and an alcantara headliner.

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