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- Stunning Gran Coupe
- Huge range of options
- Fantastic powertrains
- Even the 640i feels special
- ... as it should for $80,000-plus
- Not really a corner carver
- Low roofline compromises head room
- Watch the price skyrocket
One of the ultimate grand-tourers, the BMW 6-Series stands ready to eat up miles, buyers' budgets, and premium unleaded.
The 2018 BMW 6-Series is the German automaker's luxury cruiser; it's more at home whittling away miles on an open stretch of freeway than on a race track and it's available as either a seductive two-door convertible with a power-folding fabric roof, a shapely four-door called the Gran Coupe, and a wagon-esque Gran Turismo that's a bit of an outlier in the range—but more on that soon.
In our testing, it rates a 6.8 out of a possible 10 overall, reflecting its beautiful style and solid performance—but also its predictably sky-high price tag. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2018, the 6 lineup is largely carried over, except for the deletion of the slow-selling two-door coupe. Other variants remain available with both 6- and 8-cylinder power and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. But the Gran Coupe and the 6-Series convertible march into 2018 with the same wide range of available powertrains and few other changes.
A new 2018 BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo is actually closer to the 5-Series than it is the Gran Coupe or convertible. (Yeah, we know.) The new 2018 640i GT gets the same turbo-6 from the 540i and a stretched interior for more space. It's the closest we may get to a wagon here stateside, but we haven't yet driven it. Stay tuned.
Styling and performance
The 6-Series received a minor facelift just two years ago and it largely stands pat for 2018. Back in 2016, it gained a sharper nose as well as revitalized air intakes and a cleaner tail end that continues to work well. The Gran Coupe adds a little length thanks to a 4.5-inch longer wheelbase that helps accommodate its second pair of doors. The Gran Coupe isn't quite a luxury sedan thanks to its arching roofline that hints at its sporty moves, but it does have decent second row room.
The 640i comes as standard with a 3.0-liter inline-6 with a turbocharger rated at 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. It may be the gateway into the brand, but it scoots to 60 mph in a hair over 5 seconds. That's hardly "base." Opt for the 650i and you'll spend more, but you'll also get a twin-turbo v-8 with 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque that slices a second from its 0-60 sprint. Its power runs deep, with thrust available from even a gentle tap at the throttle. All models are fitted with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive (branded as xDrive) is on the options list for those who simply must have everything or want to head to the ski slopes.
There's also an M6 version of each on offer, which we cover separately. Those models feature far more power—560 hp—and a more buttoned-down suspension.
Droptop variants of the BMW 6 suited best for two adults with plenty of stretch-out space for long rides. There's more rear seat space here than in a Porsche 911, but row two is best for short jaunts with the kids—or, more realistically, a briefcase or purse. The Gran Coupe's longer wheelbase delivers more legroom but remains compromised in favor of styling over head room.
Neither the federal government nor the independent IIHS have crash-tested the BMW 6-Series; given its low volume and hefty price tag, it probably won't attract much scrutiny. But all models are available with high-tech safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane change assist. The 6-Series doesn't offer near the level of near-autonomous driving found in many high-end cars, which reflects its relative age.
A base 640i stickers for about $80,000 and it's well-outfitted from the get-go with acres of leather and wood, power everything you might touch, a backup camera, navigation, and BMW's iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-inch screen.
From there, the sky's nearly the limit; high-spec models crest the six figure mark with little difficulty.
Fuel economy isn't the BMW 6-Series' primary selling point, but the 640i rear-wheel drive is surprisingly gentle on fuel. Base versions are the thriftiest: 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined, but the figures go down from there.