- Luxurious tourer
- Gran Coupe is stunning
- All-wheel drive available everywhere
- Classic soft-top
- Great base content ...
- ... but it's $79,000 to start
- Handling isn't razor sharp
- Head room is tight everywhere
- Options can be pricey
The 2017 BMW 6-Series is a luxurious jack of all trades (speed, style, comfort, and quality) but a master of one: grand touring.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series is a two-door coupe or convertible, or a four-door sedan with a fast roofline called a Gran Coupe. It's the brand's luxury cruiser with a reserved attitude, more at home in valet lots than on track, and a luxury price tag to match.
It scores a 6.8 out of 10 overall, which reflects its solid performance and styling—but also its expensive set of features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
Last year, BMW brought the 6-Series more up-to-date with a minor facelift; there's a sharper nose and lower air intakes, and a rear end that brings its body lines together nicely. If you're wondering how significant the overhaul was consider the following: the number of vertical bars in the signature kidney grilles has been reduced from 10 to nine. Yeah, it's splitting hairs.
Although the 6-Series Gran Coupe adds some length over those with two doors (with its wheelbase 4.5 inches longer), these models share their evocative, finely rendered lines in front; and whether you go with the coupe or Gran Coupe, the arching roofline is what you expect of a sporty luxury car. Also common to the range are the rather taut hoodline, muscular flanks, and nearly tucked-down rear end—all further telegraphing the 6-Series' performance potential. The M6 flares and flaunts a bit more, adding some visual urgency to go with its awesome performance.
The base 6-Series comes standard with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that makes 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Its performance is anything but base, and it powers up to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds depending on equipment.
The optional twin-turbocharged V-8 may be our pick for all-around performance, but in rear-drive configuration first. The bigger engine boasts 445 hp and 480 lb-ft and shaves a second off the 0-60 mph, but its acres of available pedal and confident passing power is more in line with what we'd expect from a grand touring car.
In either engine configuration, the 6-Series comes with an 8-speed automatic and rear-drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available on all models, which BMW calls xDrive.
The M6, with its 560 hp and 500 lb-ft, comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic or 6-speed manual and we cover it separately.
Quality, safety, and features
Two-door versions of the 6-Series are best suited for two passengers with plenty of room to stretch for long rides. The rear seat is more functional here than in, say, a Porsche 911, but that's not a high bar. Children and short adults can find adequate space for short jaunts, but longer trips may require the Gran Coupe's stretched wheelbase. In those four-door models, rear passengers get more leg room, but head room is predictably cramped thanks to the fast-sloping rear roofline.
The 6-Series hasn't yet been rated by major safety agencies, and considering it's low volume and high price we don't expect it will be any time soon.
Starting out at around $79,000 for a rear-drive 640i, BMW heaps on standard equipment such as 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, 10-way power adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, dark gray wood trim, keyless ignition, wi-fi hotspot capability (with a 3 GB/three-month free trial), rearview camera, navigation, and 10.2-inch infotainment system, which BMW calls iDrive.
From there, the 6-Series can get predictably rich, with luxuriously equipped versions cresting six figures without hesitation. M6 models start well over $110,000 but we're guessing that many other 6-Series buyers will be tempted by the M Sport package that adds 19-inch wheels and high performance tires, LED fog lamps, an Alcantara headliner, and raised top speed. It's equal parts form and function and goes beyond normal sport appearance packages.
Fuel economy isn't the 6-Series' first priority. Base versions get the best marks: 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined; and go down from there.
2017 BMW 6-Series
The 6-Series is aging, but a slight refresh last year helps keep the classic look up-to-date; Gran Coupes are statements of style above all else.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series covers most of the bases in itself: coupe, convertible and four-door "coupes" (don't get us started on that oxymoron), and high-performance versions of each.
The 6-Series (devotees may call it a "6er") exudes confidence and luxury in all forms, with low-slung, wide-shouldered, athletic stances and elegant curves and profiles.
We gave the 6-Series an 8 out of 10 for its very handsome exterior and excellent interior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The 6-Series’ interior is similar across the range, with a businesslike starkness and muted palette that looks and feels rich and well-appointed. Order and restraint dominate the control layouts and designs, staying low-key despite being high-tech. BMW has tweaked the look this year, with a new high-gloss black trim, accented by a chrome surround for the iDrive display. Trim packages can add warmth and brightness to the interior, nearly equaling the 7-Series sedans for plushness.
The 6-Series is one year removed from a minor facelift and its nose now creases tightly into the distinctive BMW kidney grille, which is flanked by aggressive headlights and wide air inlets. Last year, designers reduced the number of vertical bars in the grille and integrated the lower air intake into a single, more sculpted unit. Adaptive full-LED headlights are standard, and they have a new design on the classic twin-round layout, with indicators now part of an an accent strop across the top of the lights.
Along the sides of the 6-Series, flared fenders and light-catching curves give the visual effect of a low window line, despite the modern crash-safety reality. Last year, BMW redid some of the badging, and modified the side-mirror design for improved aerodynamics, also giving them horizontal light strips. 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 do more aggressive front, side, and rear aerodynamic treatments.
The rear end resolves those lines with sleek and simple details. The rear apron was opened further last year, with wider tailpipe finishers to complete the look.
There are additional add-ons, including the M Sport package, that can add 19-inch wheels, black brake calipers, darker trims, and more aggressive details—but those are a matter of details to the car's overall look, not broad strokes.
2017 BMW 6-Series
The 6-Series is confidently powered at every stop, but our goldilocks principle pegs the V-8 as the best pick of the bunch.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series' powertrains are just as diverse as its body style. Regardless of engine or transmission or power configuration, the entire 6-Series range is quick and sporty—and some models delve into high-performance territory.
The high performance M6 wears all three body styles (coupe, convertible, Gran Coupe) and uses a special version of BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. It cranks an astonishing 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque and can be mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or a 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching. We cover the M6 separately.
We gave the 6-Series a 7 out of 10 for its very good base powertrain, including its transmission. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
A turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 is the base engine in the 640i, and is a competent performer for its class. It's married exclusively to an 8-speed automatic that helps wring the most from its 315 hp and 330 lb-ft. According to BMW, the 640i coupe runs up to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds—convertible and four-door versions are close behind.
The inline-6 finds most of its available twist lower in the range (around 1,700 rpm) and it quickly overcomes any inclination that opting for the smaller mill results in breathless acceleration. Still, the single, twin-scrolling turbocharger has its limitations and up high, where it's 315 hp comes on full song, the inline-6 feels at odds with the 6er's mass.
The twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 may be our pick for the range, however. It's 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque are both impressive figures on paper—and good enough to shave a second from the 640i's 0-60 mph time—but it's the ample torque and confident pedal that has us swooning.
The turbos here split duty and make for a seamless ride from 2,000 rpm all the way up to its 7,000 rpm redline. The V-8 carries with it a 264-pound penalty, so we'd caution buyers who need all-wheel drive to consider the inline-6 first—the V-8 is best in rear-drive, and 100 more pounds of running gear for all-wheel drive may spoil the whole show.
By most measurements now, the 6-Series is the Bavarian grand tourer—not a razor sharp sports car, or brawny muscle machine—and having plenty of passing power is part of the program. The 650i's smooth delivery and sonorous bellow are just enough to enjoy winding roads without taking them too seriously.
Rear-drive is standard on all 6-Series, and all-wheel drive is available. An 8-speed automatic is the only option across the range, except for the speedy M6.
The 6-Series is a a confident handler and returns a smooth, easy ride that begs for triple-digit speeds—if you're on certain parts of the autobahn, of course. The 6-Series' steering isn't razor sharp, however, and we got the overall impression that the base suspension tune is dialed into comfort cruising rather than track days or hard canyon runs.
That suspension tune is adjustable, however, as the Driving Dynamics Control unit has Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings. Each mode varies suspension behavior, steering feel, and throttle and transmission response to better suit the road or mood. The range of adjustments can be astounding, pushing the 6-Series from easy-going cruiser to sharper-edged carver with greater steering weight and quicker shifts.
2017 BMW 6-Series
Comfort & Quality
The BMW 6-Series is first rate for front-seat passengers; rear-seat passengers will have varying levels of comfort depending on body style.
The BMW 6-Series is ideally suited for two people—even in four-door Gran Coupe form.
Most passengers will find that the interior space of the 6-Series is generally good, although taller people may find that they need to duck on entry and exit thanks to the low, sensuous roof lines. Once inside, the 6-Series warms up and there's plenty of space in the front seats for just about any body type. Thanks to a plethora of adjustments and comfort-enhancers in the front powered buckets, there should be no problem finding a supportive seating position. With M cars, special multi-function sport seats are lighter but built with more support in the backrest and thighs.
We gave the 6-Series a 6 out of 10 for its good front seats. It just narrowly misses out in exceptional fit and finish because others in its class can do much better. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
That snug cabin borders on exotic, and is universally well-appointed. It features intriguing design, driver-oriented controls, and a well-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.
The rear seat of two-door 6-Series coupes and convertibles is understandably tight, but at least there's more room than a Porsche 911—essentially a package shelf. The Gran Coupe's extra 4.5 inches of wheelbase makes for a better alternative for those asking their 6-Series to do more, and its leg room is generally fine. Still, the back seat of the 6-Series Gran Coupe isn't a replacement for the full-size back seat of the 7-Series, or even the mid-size back seat of the 5-Series, because of the sacrifices made for that gorgeous swooping roof. Head room is predictably cramped.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series convertible has 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.
2017 BMW 6-Series
The 2017 BMW 6-Series hasn't been rated by the NHTSA or IIHS, but it offers a suite of advanced safety features.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series hasn't yet been tested by either major U.S. safety ratings organizations, and considering the coupe's high price and low sales numbers, we don't expect them to be either.
We've didn't assign the 6-Series a score here because of lack of testing data. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Standard equipment includes stability control and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and a standard complement of airbags.
Optional advanced safety equipment is available, including forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking (at city speeds); blind-spot monitors; a surround-view camera system; and lane departure warnings. Night vision cameras with pedestrian detection and active steering assistants are also available.
2017 BMW 6-Series
The 6-Series is surprisingly well-equipped in base form, and includes the latest update to BMW's iDrive infotainment system.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series is surprisingly well-equipped in base form, a departure from BMW's relatively spartan offerings in other cars. Those great base features deserve some context, we suppose: a rear-drive base 640i starts at roughly $79,000.
We don't suppose many of those coupes will be on BMW lots, however. The 6-Series can be opulently equipped with a dizzying array of features that include bigger wheels (up to 20 inches), rich swatches of leather, opulent audiophile-quality sound systems, and advanced driving assistance. Add in more doors or a removable roof, and a six-figure 6-Series wouldn't get a second look.
We gave the new 6-Series a 7 out of 10 on our ratings scale thanks to a good base features set, good optional equipment and large infotainment system. Finding good value here is a relative proposition, but some of the options are just too expensive in our opinion. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
As base, the car is equipped with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, 10-way power adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, dark gray wood trim, keyless ignition, wi-fi hotspot capability (with a 3 GB/three-month free trial), rearview camera, navigation, and 10.2-inch infotainment system, which BMW calls iDrive.
A word about the iDrive system: While iDrive’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.
From there, the BMW can be as rich as you please.
Many 6-Series coupes and convertibles will be equipped with a $1,700 driver convenience package that adds a surround-view camera system and blind-spot monitors. For $1,200 more BMW's active driving assistants can be added, which include lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking at low speeds. We think both are relatively good values and useful features.
We're guessing that many other 6-Series buyers will be tempted by the M Sport package that adds 19-inch wheels and high performance tires, LED fog lamps, an Alcantara headliner, and raised top speed. It's equal parts form and function and goes beyond normal sport appearance packages.
An executive package adds soft-closing doors, front ventilated seats, and a head-up display for $3,300. A Harman Kardon sound system is standard, and audiophiles will appreciate the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound quality, but perhaps not the $3,700 added cost.
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-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.
Bigger wheels, deeper shades for the 6-Series' hides, personalized swatches of Merino leather are all available for well-heeled buyers.
2017 BMW 6-Series
The 2017 BMW 6-Series manages fairly good fuel economy in base configuration considering its heft; V-8s are increasingly thirstier.
The 2017 BMW 6-Series makes the most of its turbocharged engines and 8-speed automatic to wring out every mile from what's in the tank.
Base 640i coupes manage 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined, according to the EPA. Opting for the convertible or the four-door Gran Coupe drops those figures by 1 mpg across the board each, and opting for all-wheel drive drops those by 1 more mpg.
It scores a 6 out of 10 on our fuel economy scale for these models, which we anticipate will be the most popular. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The bigger, turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 manages 16/24/19 mpg in all-wheel drive configuration, according to the EPA. (The EPA hasn't yet rated the V-8 coupe.)
The M6 and Alpina versions are the thirstiest of the bunch and return mileage in the mid-teens, depending on how they're driven. We cover those cars separately.
In mixed driving, we've managed to hit roughly 22 mpg in combined city/highway driving, with stop-and-go traffic. All 6-Series are equipped with stop-start engine systems that reduces idling and increases fuel economy in those situations.