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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
Seamless acceleration from refined V8
The 650i convertible weighs a significant 463 pounds extra
braking is strong, stable and straight
There are new technologies being applied to its ancillaries
Road & Track
Handling and power are definite strong suits for the 2010 BMW 6-Series, but its plethora of high-tech equipment takes away much of what makes a great driver's car great in the name of refinement and efficiency. Hefty weight and a lack of feel behind the wheel also dim the 6-Series' otherwise bright light. Electric power steering and other aids are to blame for the lack of connection through the steering wheel.
Handling remains easy, "thanks to aggressive tires and a well-balanced rear-drive chassis." The BMW 6-Series also has "various stability and traction control systems" that make the car "exceptionally stable on low-adhesion surfaces" and gives this 2010 BMW "nearly neutral handling, although understeer will prevail at the limit," Car and Driver comments. Cars.com points out that the Active Steering system adds a "Sport button behind the shifter," which "quickens accelerator response and decreases power steering assist for more turning precision."
Coupe and Convertible versions of both the standard V-8-powered 6-Series 650i and the more sport-focused V-10-powered M6 are available. All models offer the same 2+2 seating layout, and the standard car comes with either a manual or sport-shift automatic six-speed transmission. The M6 is available with either a seven-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG) or a traditional six-speed manual transmission.
The V-8 engine that propels the 650i Coupe and Convertible is rated at 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to take the car to 60 mph in a manufacturer claimed time of 5.5 seconds for the manual transmission and 5.6 seconds for the auto. The 5.0-liter V-10-powered M6 offers a whopping 500 horsepower of output for blazingly quick times of 4.5 and 4.6 seconds for the sequential-manual equipped Coupe and Convertible, respectively. All models are electronically limited to a maximum speed of 155 mph. A new Sport Package for 2010 adds 19-inch alloy wheels and high-performance tires, a more sound-intensive exhaust system with Black Chrome tips, and a range of interior and exterior styling cues.
The BMW 6-Series is nimble and provides "sweet-sounding acceleration," says Edmunds. The 2010 BMW 6-Series has a "mellifluous V-8," coos Car and Driver. "Although there's a nice surge of power toward the top of the tachometer, there's plenty of torque available at any rpm," Edmunds remarks of the V-8, and calls it "silken and anxious to rev."
If the 2010 6-Series has one key performance weakness, it is weight. Cars.com puts the relative heft of the Convertible in perspective: "The 650i convertible weighs a significant 463 pounds extra-about 12 percent-so it comes in at 5.6 and 5.7 seconds for the manual and automatic, respectively." For the Coupe, BMW used aluminum "extensively for the suspension, hood and doors," says Edmunds. Similarly, composite front fenders and decklid help with the weight problem, "though this is still essentially a 4,000-pound car." Despite their heavy weight, the 6-Series is sure-footed and "balanced...on highways and byways," remarks ConsumerGuide, going on to note that "braking is strong, stable and straight."
Still, the 500-horsepower M6 is a stunning performer. At full tilt, it "accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds," according to Cars.com. Not all of that power is available at start-up-only 400 horsepower is generated in standard mode for easier city driving. The rest of the M6's bounty of power can be tapped through a special switch. "Hammer the throttle in a 2010 BMW M6 and the car bolts forward," Edmunds reports. ConsumerGuide sums up the performance of the two main variants of the 2010 6-Series succinctly: "The 650s have superb power and response for most any situation. Potent M6s are race-car rapid."
The Edmunds does find one thing to complain about, noting the "performance of SMG transmission is lackluster and inconsistent in automatic mode," though most reviewers find the automatic to be easy to use and predictable. The SMG is more at home in manual mode as well.
Heavy weight is the main weak spot in the 2010 BMW 6-Series/M6's arsenal of performance.