2015 BMW 6-Series Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
May 9, 2015

Whether chosen as a coupe, convertible, or four-door Gran Coupe, the 2015 BMW 6-Series offers dynamic driving and massive style.

The BMW 6-Series is larger, more luxurious, and more high-tech than ever, and it’s available in more body types than ever before, too. Coupe, convertible, and four-door Gran Coupe takes on the 6-Series toolkit are all available. On top of that, the M6 range takes all of the best of the 6-Series and turns up the performance.

Styling is one thing the 6-Series range shares across its range, with evocative, finely rendered lines defining the front end, and, in coupe and Gran Coupe forms, the arching rooflines you expect of a sporty luxury car. A taut, sculpted hood, stylized, muscular flanks, and neatly tucked rear end are also common to the range, further telegraphing the 6-Series’ performance potential. The M6 adds a heightened level of urgency to the design, flaring and flaunting its behemoth power.

From the 640i’s 315-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six-cylinder to the 650i’s 400-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 to the 560-horsepower M6, the 6-Series range packs speed and performance that scales with the owner’s desires. Of course, curb weights ranging from 4,200 pounds for the coupe to 4,500 pounds for the Gran Coupe damp that aggression slightly, but with BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels (or optionally all four with xDrive all-wheel-drive), acceleration is brisk and positive.

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The M6 in particular shines in performance terms, acceleration to 60 mph in as little as 4.1 seconds depending on the body style and transmission chosen. A seven-speed dual clutch or six-speed manual with rev-matching are available on the M6. M-specific stability, traction, and dynamics controls further enhance the accessibility of the M6 range’s performance, adjusting steering, powertrain, suspension, and more on the fly. The M6 still has to fight with its size and weight, leaving the brakes perhaps a bit over-taxed on track, but in the real world, it’s a competent and enthralling drive.

The Gran Coupe model offers four doors in a sedan-coupe form factor, with what BMW calls 4+1 seating. Rear-seat access is easier than with the true 6-Series coupe, and the rear seat is a touch roomier, too. Driving dynamics of the two-door are largely preserved, but if you’re after a high-performance four-door for people-moving, the 5-Series  or even larger 7-Series may be better options.

Priced at a premium point, the 2015 BMW 6-Series offers interior design and materials to match, with fine leathers, available metal and wood trims, and a wide range of customization available through the BMW Individual program. Standard features include a 10.2-inch wide-screen display hosting BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, and new for the 2015 model year, Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster display. Navigation includes a standard iDrive touchpad controller for 2015 as well, and 650i and 650i xDrive models now offer a standard M Sport exhaust system.

Other updates for 2015 include a new Launch Control feature for the Sport automatic transmission, a new Harman Kardon sound system upgrade, and a price reduction for the Night Vision package from $2,600 to $2,300.

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2015 BMW 6-Series

Styling

The 6-Series model family has evolved with grace and force, especially in Gran Coupe form.

The 2015 BMW 6-Series is nearly a full line of cars in its own right, comprising a range of coupes, convertibles, and Gran Coupe four-door coupes, as well as high-performance M Division variants of Coupe and Gran Coupe models.

The 6-Series exudes confidence and luxury in all of its forms, with low-slung, wide-shouldered, athletic stances and elegant curves and profiles. At the nose, a pair of tight creases in the hood converge at the distinctive BMW kidney grille, flanked by aggressive headlights and wide air inlets; the rear presents contrast with resolved lines and sleek, simple details.

Along the sides of the 6-Series, flared fenders and light-catching curves give the visual effect of a low belt line, despite the modern crash-safety reality. Large alloy wheels fit neatly under all variants, but stand out as design details on Coupe and Gran Coupe models. A carbon roof section that seems to recede into the background marks out the M6, as does more aggressive front, side, and rear aerodynamic treatment.

Optional add-ons, including the M Sport package, which brings 19-inch wheels, black brake calipers, and darker trim, can also tweak the look of the 2015 BMW 6-Series, but it’s more a matter of detail than broad strokes.

The 6-Series’ interior is similar across the range, with a businesslike starkness and muted palette that looks and feel rich and well-appointed. Order and restraint dominate the control layouts and designs, staying low-key despite being high-tech. Trim packages can add warmth and brightness to the interior, nearly equaling the 7-Series sedans for plushness.

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2015 BMW 6-Series

Performance

The BMW 6-Series range is large and weighty, but manages impressive performance thanks to potent engines and smart electronics.

Just as there are several body styles to the 2015 BMW 6-Series, there are several powertrains available, too. Whichever engine or transmission or drive wheel configuration you choose, however, the entire 6-Series range is quick and sporty; some models delve into high-performance status.

Two core models form the whole of the non-M Division 6-Series powertrain range: the 640i and 650i. Rear-drive is standard, and xDrive all-wheel-drive is available. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment as well, though a six-speed manual transmission can be had with rear-drive 650i models.

The 640i uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine rated at 315 horsepower; the 650i gets a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine good for a rated 400 horsepower. Both engines are potent and willing performers, with ample torque for passing at any speed. The V-8, however, seems somewhat better-suited to the 6-Series' relaxed pace, offering easy, smooth power.

Handling for the non-M 6-Series range is confident and smooth, as well, with easy steering effort and a willingness to sail along at triple-digit speeds. Steering feel isn’t scalpel-sharp, however, and the overall impression of the suspension tune is one intended for comfort and brisk driving, rather than track days or hard canyon runs.

That suspension tune is adjustable, however, through a range of settings including Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, via the Driving Dynamics Control unit. Each mode varies suspension behavior and steering feel as well as throttle and transmission response, to better suit the road or the mood. The range of adjustment can be astounding, pushing the 6-Series Coupe, Convertible or Gran Coupe from easy-going cruiser to sharper-edged carver with greater steering weight and quicker shifts.

For the sharpest version of the 2015 BMW 6-Series, however, the choice is clear: M6. The M6 uses a special version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with power output cranked up to 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. A special seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT) gearbox handles paddle or automatic shifts, and a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching is available.

The M6, in Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe forms, is a viciously fast machine, capable of 0-60 mph acceleration in the very low four-second range. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph by default. Launch control, upgraded M-tuned suspension, wheels and tires, and unique M-specific traction and stability control modes also up the performance ante. While the M6 is undeniably a large and heavy car, it can perform feats of handling, braking, and acceleration that shame smaller and lighter sports cars when in the right hands.



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2015 BMW 6-Series

Comfort & Quality

The back seat isn’t very roomy in any BMW 6-Series vehicle, but the interiors are elegant, with fine materials.

The 2015 BMW 6-Series has grown over the years, but it remains a rather snug-fitting vehicle nonetheless, even in four-door Gran Coupe form. That snug cabin borders on exotic, however, and is universally well-appointed.

Previous 6-Series models have felt a bit clunky or unrefined, but since the 2012 redesign, that has been replaced with intriguing design, more driver-oriented controls, and a better-coordinated array of materials, textures, and colors. Plastics and leathers look and feel premium, making for a rich visual and tactile sensation even before you add on the optional upgraded materials like white leather or fine woods.

Interior space is generally good, though taller passengers will duck a bit on entry and exit thanks to the sensuous roof lines. Once inside, however, there’s plenty of space in Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe models. The front seats offer great back and thigh support, as in most of their lineup, while there should be enough headroom for nearly everyone. Thanks to a plethora of adjustments and comfort-enhancers in the front powered buckets, there should be no problem finding a supportive.

With M cars, special multifunction sport seats are lighter but built with more support in the backrest and thighs.The rear seats of two-door 6-Series are downright tight, but the Gran Coupe’s extra 4.5 inches of wheelbase offer the better alternative for those who want 6-Series style with a more practical 4+1 seating arrangement—leg room is generally fine. Still, the back seat of the 6-Series Gran Coupe is no substitute for the full-size 7-Series sedan.

The 2015 BMW 6-Series Convertible continues forward with a folding fabric roof in place of the trendier hardtop, but it makes for better packaging when stowed and more convenient and speedy opening and closing—just 20 seconds are required to go from top up to wind-in-the-hair, and it can be done at up to 25 mph. The fabric roof’s glass window can even be opened for extra ventilation while retaining protection from the sun.

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2015 BMW 6-Series

Safety

Safety technology abounds in the 2015 BMW 6-Series, but there is no official crash test data.

The 2015 BMW 6-Series range offers plenty of safety features that will step in and help avoid or mitigate any damage before and during an accident.

Core equipment includes advanced dynamic stability control and traction control; cornering brake control; dynamic brake control; start-off assistance; automatic brake drying; and anti-lock brakes.

Optional extras like a Head-Up Display (HUD); adaptive LED headlights; cameras offering side, rear, and top views; active steering; and night vision cameras with pedestrian detection are also available.

Despite this complement of safety equipment and BMW’s reputation for engineering and design, the 6-Series family of vehicles hasn’t been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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2015 BMW 6-Series

Features

The BMW 6-Series offers an extensive set of standard and optional equipment, nearly mirroring that of the 7-Series.

Well-equipped in base form and offering a staggering array of options and upgrades, the 2015 BMW 6-Series buyer can quickly move from the roughly $70,000 price of a standard 640i Coupe to the $135,000-plus BMW M6 Gran Coupe. Our rating is only just below 10 here because of its sometimes troublesome but ever-present infotainment controller.

All 6-Series models, whether Convertible, Coupe, or Gran Coupe, get a standard backup camera with front and rear parking sensors. Power windows, locks and mirrors are also included, as is air conditioning, leather upholstery, cruise control, and the iDrive infotainment system.

The iDrive system can be fantastic, with a 10.2-inch widescreen display offering multifunction access to and control of many of the car’s systems. But while iDrive’s upgraded graphics and expanded functions, like 3D mapping, real-time traffic info, and voice commands can all enhance the experience of driving and using the 6-Series, it can also prove complicated and sometimes frustrating to use.

Even without opting for high-performance M models, it’s possible to add thousands to the bottom line of a new 6-Series through add-ons like luxury equipment, upholstery and trim, and infotainment and safety features. Some of the pricier choices include the Bang & Olufsen sounds system; the night-vision system with pedestrian detection; active cruise control; side- and top-view cameras; Head-Up Display (HUD); and the Driver Assistance Package, which includes lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, multiple camera videos, and a parking assist system.

For those seeking an extra dash of sport, but not wanting to go all the way to the M6, the M Sport Package is available. With special 19-inch wheels and high-performance tires, LED fog lamps, an Alcantara headliner, and a raised top-speed limiter, the M Sport Package adds real sport as well as the appearance of it. For those seeking simply greater luxury or more exclusive design, the BMW Individual Composition program offers a range of unique interior and exterior themes and colors, including Sakhir Orange paint and white Merino leather.

Performance lovers will opt for the M6, and with it, they’ll get extra standard features and equipment like Dynamic Damper Control, the M Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT), special M wheels, and more. Upgrades for the M6 come in packages, including the Executive Package (heated steering wheel, active front seat bolsters, soft door closing, full LED lighting, HUD, satellite radio, and BMW Apps); or the Driver Assistance Package, with extra safety features. A handful of standalone options are available for the M6 as well.

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2015 BMW 6-Series

Fuel Economy

Despite its size, power, and luxury, the 2015 BMW 6-Series manages fair gas mileage.

Large, powerful, and luxurious, the 2015 BMW 6-Series family of cars earns decent, if not truly green, gas mileage ratings. Turbocharged engines and eight-speed automatic transmissions make the most of the performance/efficiency balance.

The 640i range rates 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway in rear-drive, coupe form. The Gran Coupe and Convertible both rate 20 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Adding all-wheel drive to the Coupe, Convertible, or Gran Coupe brings those figures to 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.

In 650i form, the Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe all rate 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway; adding all-wheel drive drops those figures to 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the Gran Coupe and Convertible, while the Coupe with xDrive manages 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

In M6 guise, the Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe all rate 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway when equipped with the seven-speed M-DCT transmission; the six-speed manual boost mileage to 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

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8.4
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Styling 8
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy 6
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