- The M6 is shockingly fast
- Gran Coupe is a sleeker alternative to the M5
- Standard Active M differential to direct torque
- Dual-clutch automatic is supremely quick
- There's still a life for manuals
- Big, heavy and cumbersome
- Back seats are hardly usable
- Carbon fiber roof is a little too much
- Starts at more than $100,000—and only goes up
The 2016 BMW M6 is a no-compromises kind of car for buyers unfazed by traditional sports car manufacturers. It's better suited for the streets than the track, and that's not a bad thing.
With the 6-Series, BMW bridges the gap between a grand-touring sports car and a personal luxury car. Available in coupe, convertible, and four-door Gran Coupe forms, the 6-Series covers a broad range. Choice abounds in body styles, in powertrains and in performance flavors-including the performance-focused M6-to fit the needs of a wide range of buyers and tastes.
With its extra pair of doors, the 6-Series Gran Coupe adds some length (on a wheelbase some 4.5 inches longer). But all 6er cars have similarly evocative shapes, beautifully rendered front ends, and an arched roofline that telegraphs its modern-luxury intentions. At the same time, a muscular set of haunches and a tautly wrapped hood make no bones about the performance baked into every model, even before you get to the M6 and its added visual urgency.
For 2016, the 6-Series gets a very slight mid-cycle refresh that's mainly limited to a revised grille and front-end appearance. The number of vertical bars in the grille has been reduced from 10 to nine, allowing larger openings, and the bars of the grille have a new contour. The lower air intake is now a single stylistic unit, while front fog lamps have three adjacent LEDs with a decorative surround-in chrome for the convertible or gloss black for coupes and Gran Coupes. Adaptive full-LED headlamps are standard, and they have a new design take on the classic twin-round layout, with indicators now part of an accent strip across the top of the headlights.
A new Black Accent package brings high-gloss black bars to the grille, as well as Shadow Line trim, black tailpipe tips, and 20-inch bi-color alloy wheels, with a Cognac/Black bi-color Nappa leather interior. Additionally, BMW has redone the badging and modified the side-mirror design for improved aerodynamics, also giving the mirrors horizontal light strips. In back, the rear apron has larger openings and wide tailpipe finishers. Otherwise, new 20-inch wheels are offered, and the color palette has been refreshed with five new metallic hues.
Inside there's a new high-gloss black trim, with chrome surrounds for the iDrive display. Meanwhile LEDs are used more widely for interior lighting, and Fineline Brown wood trim has been added to the list of interior materials.
The 6-Series is offered in two-door coupe, two-door convertible, and 4-door Gran Coupe models, and each is available with either a 315-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 in 640i models or a 445-hp, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 in 650i models. Across all these models, the 6-Series packs the right measures of performance and speed. It's no lightweight sports car, for sure, as curb weights range from 4,200-4,500 pounds from Coupe to Gran Coupe. Still, fitted with an 8-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels (or all four on all-wheel-drive cars), you get brisk acceleration in 640i models.
BMW 640i models now all have the sports exhaust system, which includes a switchable exhaust valve, adjusted through the so-called Driving Experience Control switch, that can order up a more sporty and satisfying sound in Sport or Sport+ modes. The 8-speed automatic also includes a Launch Control function.
The M6 shines in real-world performance, offering a 4.1-second run to 60 mph. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission or a 6-speed manual that matches revs automatically can be fitted to the M6. Add in M-specific traction, stability, and dynamic controls, and you'll find that it's accessible, awe-inspiring performance, and the M6 is a competent, enthralling drive. On the track, it's not as much in its element, and at odds with its weight and size.
In 2016 you can get an M Sport Edition that has many of the M6's appearance features, including the 20-inch wheels, M Sport steering wheel, and M Sport aero treatment, along with a leather dash, ventilated front seats, contrast stitching, and soft-close doors. There's also the chance to get a lot more, in terms of special finishes, trims, and appearance items.
Those who can't quite decide between a touring sports car, like the 6-Series coupe, and a sedan, like the 5-Series, will really appreciate the Gran Coupe , a 4-door with what BMW describes as room for 4+1. It's easier to access the rear seat than in the 6-Series coupe, as well as a touch roomier. In the front seat the Gran Coupe does feel more intimate and coupe-like. It drives much like the 2-door, though the Gran Coupe is heavier. For anyone that uses the rear seat often, we'd still recommend one of BMW's larger sedans, however.
Standard features on this year's 6-Series include iDrive infotainment displayed on a 10.2-inch screen; heated power front seats with memory settings; dynamic cruise control; and a digital instrument display. Highlights of the option list include Harman Kardon sound, a power rear sunshade, a parking assistant, and a night vision camera package-as well as a Driver Assistance Plus package that includes lane departure, forward collision, and pedestrian warnings; city collision mitigation; blind-spot monitor; and multiple camera views.
Fuel economy isn't stellar in the big tourer. The coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe versions of the 650i all rate 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined; adding all-wheel drive drops those figures to 16/24/19 mpg highway for the Gran Coupe and convertible, while the coupe with xDrive manages 16/25/19 mpg. The 640i range rates 20/31/24 mpg in rear-drive form. Add all-wheel drive and those figures become 20/29/23 mpg.
2016 BMW 6-Series
The BMW 6-Series is taut, sculpted, and graceful, and the M6 performance variant adds aggression to the mix.
The 6-Series family of cars counts Gran Coupe four-doors and two-door convertibles and coupes, as well as high-performance M Division variants of each. Each exudes luxury and confidence, through a combination of an athletic stance, elegant profile, and a low-slung profile.
On all models, tightly creased hood lines draw together to point out the BMW hallmark, a twin-kidney grille. It's bracketed by wide air inlets and angled headlights. The look has been updated for the new model year. The number of vertical bars in the grille has been reduced from 10 to nine, allowing larger openings, and the bars of the grille have a new contour. The lower air intake is now a single stylistic unit, while front fog lamps have three adjacent LEDs with a decorative surround-n chrome for the convertible or gloss black for the coupe and Gran Coupe. Adaptive full-LED headlamps are standard, and they have a new design take on the classic twin-round layout, with indicators now part of an accent strip across the top of the headlights.
For 2016, BMW has redone the badging, and modified the side-mirror design for improved aerodynamics, also giving them horizontal light strips. The M6 is marked by its carbon-fiber roof, as well as its distinctive aero body add-ons.
The rear is simpler, with simple details resolving into a sleek whole. The rear apron has larger openings and wide tailpipe finishers this year. BMW offers more styling touches on the options list. An M Sport package bundles. black brake calipers, 19-inch wheels and darker trim. Inside the 6-Series, a muted palette underscores the stark, businesslike theme. Restrained and orderly, the design is low-key and high-tech.
2016 BMW 6-Series
A potent engine lineup and smart electronics help the BMW 6-Series deliver excellent performance despite an excess of weight.
Drivers can choose powertrains in the 6-Series, just as they can choose body styles. In any, near-sportscar performance moves smartly toward supercar territory.
Top M6 models pound out 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. All that power moves through a 7-speed dual-clutch or a 6-speed rev-matching manual to the rear wheels. It's viciously fast, with 60 mph arriving in the low 4-second range, and top speed hitting 155 mph. An uprated suspension, tires and wheels, M-specific launch control and stability/traction control ups its performance ante. It's a heavy, big car, but the M6 can tackle a track with considerable gusto, cracking off acceleration runs and handling feats that belie its size.
Non-M cars come in 650i and 640i spec. The 640i sports a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 rated at 300 hp; the 650i gets a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 good for 400 hp. Both engines are willing and potent performers, ready to pass at triple-digit speeds. The V-8 is suited better to the car's size and the resulting relaxed pace.
Rear-wheel drive can be upconverted to all-wheel-drive, but that means no manual. An 8-speed automatic is standard anyway; the 6-speed manual is available on rear-drive V-8 cars.
Non-M cars have smooth, confident handling. They're easy to steer, and comfortable cruising at high speeds. The steering lacks the scalpel-sharp feel of a real sports car, and BMW tunes it intentionally for brisk driving, not for the compliance-free track tuning of M cars.
The 6-Series can play around with its driving mood via BMW's Driving Dynamics Control. It's their flavor of driver-adjustable controls, from Sport+ to Comfort modes, which each have their own shift, throttle, steering, and suspension pre-sets. They can be tweaked for astounding range of character, transforming the 6-Series from laid-back cruiser to switchback switchblade.
2016 BMW 6-Series
Comfort & Quality
Elegant interiors and high-quality interiors are the highlights, but tight confines, especially in the rear seat, are the lowlight.
The BMW 6-Series is a rather snug vehicle for four passengers, even when the extra Gran Coupe doors are factored in.
For the front passengers, shoulder and leg room is good, though getting in any 6-Series means ducking and turning to avoid its low roofline. The front seats have good support from the bottom cushions and seatbacks, and offer myriad adjustments. The driving position is low but then again, so is the car's beltline. On the M6, multi-adjustable sport seats have more support formed into their bottom cushions and backrests.
Two-door cars have tight back seat space, but not on the level of a 911.Gran Coupes sport 4.5 inches more space between the wheels, so their leg room is fine for most passengers. It's still no substitute for a traditional 5er or 7er sedan, when it comes to transporting four passengers on a regular basis.
The cabin is snug but its trim is intriguing, universally well-executed, even faintly exotic. The leathers and plastics are of the highest grade, and some of the color combinations we'd never have expected from BMW a decade ago. White leather? Fine wood?
On convertibles, a folding roof made of fabric can lower or raise in 20 seconds, even if the car is going 25 mph or slower. The glass window can be opened for more ventilation, and the thick fabric damps out lots of road noise-and saves the weight of a more complex folding hardtop.
2016 BMW 6-Series
Crash tests haven't been conducted, but the 2016 BMW 6-Series is packed with safety features.
As a low-volume, high-end car, the 6-Series family of vehicles hasnâ€™t been crash-tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS.
However, the 6-Series offers plenty of safety features. Standard gear includes a slew of braking programs that dry the rotors before emergency stops, modulate braking to launch the car smoothly, and apply braking in corners as a handling assist.
The 2016 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. A Driver Assistance Plus package includes lane departure, forward collision, and pedestrian warnings; city collision mitigation; blind-spot monitors; and multiple camera views. Also offered are optional extras such as a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, active steering, and night vision cameras with pedestrian detection.
2016 BMW 6-Series
The 6-Series' extensive list of standard and optional features reflects that of the line-topping 7-Series sedan.
Well-equipped in base form and offering a staggering array of options and upgrades, the 2016 BMW 6-Series buyer can quickly move from the roughly $78,000 price of a standard 640i Coupe to the $120,000-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 leather upholstery; power windows, locks, and mirrors; conditioning; cruise control; a rearview camera; front and rear parking sensors; and BMW's iDrive infotainment system.
The iDrive system can be fantastic, with a 10.2-inch widescreen display offering multi-function access to and control of many of the carâ€™s systems. While iDriveâ€™s upgraded graphics and expanded functions, like 3-D mapping, real-time traffic info, and voice commands, can all enhance the experience of driving the 6-Series, it can also prove complicated and sometimes frustrating to use.
Performance lovers will opt for the M6, and with it, theyâ€™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-closing doors, full-LED lighting, HUD, satellite radio, and BMW Apps); or the Driver Assistance Plus package, with extra safety features. A handful of standalone options are available for the M6 as well.
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. The new M Sport Edition goes even further, adding 20-way adjustable ventilated front seats with active head restraints; memory for the front passenger seat; a leather instrument panel; contrast stitching; ceramic controls; a head-up display; a 600-watt Harman Kardon surround sound audio system with 16 speakers; concierge services; a power rear sunshade; and soft-close automatic doors.
Even without opting for high-performance M models, itâ€™s possible to add thousands to the bottom line of a 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 sound system; the night-vision system with pedestrian detection; active cruise control; side- and top-view cameras; head-up display; and the Driver Assistance Plus package, which includes lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, multiple camera videos, and a parking assist system.
2016 BMW 6-Series
The BMW 6-Series may be large, powerful, and luxurious, but gas mileage is decent
Large, powerful, and luxurious, the 2016 BMW 6-Series family of cars earns decent, if not truly green, gas mileage ratings. Turbocharged engines and 8-speed automatic transmissions make the most of the performance/efficiency balance.
The thirstiest choice is the M6. The M6 coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe all rate 14 mpg city, 20 highway 16 combined when equipped with the 7-speed M-DCT transmission; the 6-speed manual boosts mileage to 15/22/17 mpg.
In 650i form, the coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe all rate 17/25/20 mpg; adding all-wheel drive drops those figures to 16/25/19 mpg highway for the Gran Coupe and convertible, while the coupe with xDrive manages 16/25/19 mpg.
The 640i range rates 20/31/24 mpg in rear-drive form. Add all-wheel drive and those figures become 20/29/23 mpg.