Just as supermodels still hit the gym, it’s time for a mid-life update for BMW’s 6 Series range. Oh for sure the outgoing version is still absolutely gorgeous, but the new one is…you know…gorgeous-er.
Better value too with significant extra technology and features. And underneath the updated BMW 6 Series there’s changes to the suspension for even sharper handling.
At the top of the food chain, the awesome high-performance BMW M6 coupe increases its appeal and, in terms of bang-for-your-bucks could be the best of the bunch.
2015 BMW 6 Series Overview
BMW has smartly retained the overall 6 Series range. Why change a team performing so well?
So we have the single turbocharged six-cylinder 640i in Coupe, the beautiful low-roof Gran Coupe and Convertible. You can also get the Gran Coupe with a turbo-diesel engine (640d).
Compared to the outgoing models, the updated BMW 640 range adds a heap of extra specification such as adaptive LED headlights (which were already standard on the Gran Coupe), Surround View camera system, multi-pigment BMW Individual paint in four colours, DAB+ digital radio, Driving Assistant Plus, Lane Change Warning, Parking Assistant. Rear window sunblind (Coupe and Gran Coupe), rear side window sunblinds (Gran Coupe), wind deflector (Convertible) and soft-close doors.
Stepping-up there’s the twin-turbo V8 range-topper the 650i in Coupe, Gran Coupe and Convertible guises.
The updated BMW 650i gets the same extra specifications as the 640 plus new 20-inch alloy wheels as standard.
Other changes see the inclusion of the sport ‘M Sport’ pack as a no-cost option and the adoption of two design packages – ‘Pure Experience’ (sporty) and ‘Pure Excellence’ (luxury). As well, the exotic ‘BMW Individual’ paint is offered in a choice of four colours.
The high-performance BMW M6 doesn’t miss-out. As we said it could be the best value of all with subtle interior and exterior enhancements, extra power and torque from its twin-turbo V8 and the ‘Competition Pack’ (20-inch ‘M’ alloy wheels, better settings for the ‘Active M’ differential and sharper suspension calibration) is now standard.
And if all that’s still not enough we steer you to ‘BMW Individual Manufaktur’. This is a program similar to BMW-owned Rolls Royce providing bespoke options for individualization of your 6 Series (for example you can have your initials embroidered on the headrests or even the door sills).
Here’s how the updated BMW 6 Series lineup looks:
|640i Gran Coupe||$184,900|
|640d Gran Coupe||$184,900|
|650i Gran Coupe||$238,900|
|M6 Gran Coupe||$299,600|
BMW 6 Series Engine
Output for the BMW 640i remains unchanged at 235kW/450Nm but, in response to customer feedback, the single-turbocharged six-cylinder scores BMW’s sports exhaust system (all natural, not artificially enhanced) for a meatier exhaust note when working hard.
And there are no changes for the six-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel 640d with 230kW/630Nm on-tap.
Both drive the rear wheels via BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.
For the staggering M6 (Coupe, Gran Coupe and Convertible) the news is considerably better. Thanks to extra boost, output for the twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 (individually hand-assembled like all ‘M’ engines) has been boosted by 29kW to 441kW and torque is up by 20Nm to 700Nm.
This drops zero to 100km/h for the M6 Coupe to the genuine ‘Supercar’ time of 3.9 seconds.
Of course the BMW M6 drives the rear wheels via BMW’s seven-speed M double-clutch automatic transmission.
BMW 6 Series The Interior
One area of automotive technology where the Germans continue to lead the world is interiors. And BMW’s 6 series stakes a claim to being amongst the best-of-the-best.
It’s conservative in the German way – there’s order and precision about the instrumentation and controls which is also obvious in Mercedes-Benz and Audi products – but also contemporary and elegant. Luxury materials abound (the leather-trimmed dashboards are works of art) and the quality is obvious.
For drivers there is a lot to love. We’re very keen on the current generation BMW steering wheels – nicely sporty and just the right thickness – and of course with tilt and telescopic adjustment plus myriad adjustments for the seats, the driving position is perfect.
Included in the update package are new bi-colour Nappa leather seats with contrast stitching in Ivory White or Black or Cognac/Black and corresponding contrast colours for the dashboard, door trims and instrument panel.
Extra technology arrives in the form of DAB+ digital radio, Driving Assistant Plus, lane change warning and parking assistant all of which are now standard.
The BMW M6 scores standard Merino leather interiors.
BMW 6 Series Exterior & Styling
Already one of the most evocative styling jobs on the market, BMW’s designers were way too clever to make massive changes for the 6 Series update. Well we can’t see German fashion icon Hugo Boss suddenly turning to a line of ‘safari suits’ any time soon…
What we do see is a new front apron and slightly changed BMW ‘kidney grille’ plus re-done side aprons. BMW says these changes were to enhance the width of the updated 6 Series.
And while the Gran Coupe already had adaptive LED headlights, their inclusion in the other models provides a slightly changed front –end appearance which we like.
But the biggest change outside is the availability of the cutting-edge ‘BMW Individual’ paint finishes as a no-cost option. This paint technology has its origins in Southern California’s hot rod scene and uses multiple pigments to provide a three dimensional depth.
Available on the updated 6 Series in four colours (‘Citrin Black’, ‘Ruby Black’, ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Tanzanite Blue’), BMW says its ‘BMW Individual’ paint produces an ‘interplay of colours’. We’d say the hues alter subtly in different light conditions.
This paint technology has its origins in the Hot Rod scene in Southern California.
BMW 6 Series On The Road
Any time you drive two cars with a combined price tag north of $525,000 you know it’s going to be a special day. That was the case for www.carshowroom.com.au north of Brisbane when we got behind the wheel of a BMW 650i Gran Coupe and M6 back-to-back (sad to report we ran out of time and had to pass on the Convertible…but it was raining!
First things first: we were heading into some excellent mountain roads so select ‘Sport +’ and experience the new sporty exhaust note. ‘Tick’ – that shows-off the 4.3-litre V8 just nicely (and yes absolutely it remains one of our favourite engines).
And over those roads the M6 with the rapid-fire 7-speed M double clutch transmission was by any measure a superstar. Bumps aplenty of course, but with the firmer ‘Sport +’ suspension the M6 was like a race car – stiff and almost twitchy such was the immediacy of its responses in some switchback corners - and with astonishing flatness combined with grip from the Pirelli P Zero rubber you could be very speedy. Very, very speedy.
Our 650i Gran Coupe came with the M Sport Package and while in ‘Sport +’ it was firm, naturally it wasn’t as taut as the M6 Coupe. There was plenty of grip from the 20-inch Bridgestone tyres and, all things considered we’re rating this drive too as one of the best of the year.
The 650i runs the eight-speed automatic transmission and while the shifts in manual mode are softer than in the M6 it responds immediately with an appropriate road from the V8. Naturally the longer wheelbase and four doors introduces a degree of plushness in the ride and handling department but don’t for one second think the Gran Coupe is a ‘Boulverade Cruiser’ – it can be in ‘Comfort’ or ‘EcoPRO’ modes but in the sportier settings…well this is a BMW after-all.
BMW 6 Series Issues
Nope you won’t find us deducting points for anything from this lot.
BMW 6 Series Verdict
It’s simple really – you have one of the best designs of the current era, add hallmark BMW sporty luxury inside, equip them with the usual BMW brilliant chassis and three of the world’s best engines. Can’t see much to complain about there.
Oh the Gran Coupe doesn’t have masses of rear seat room and the M6 hardly has anything behind the front seats. But you know what these cars are all about and if those in the rear need attention you have other BMW models to choose from.
It says a lot that the only car which outsells the BMW M6 in its segment is the Porsche 911. Yep the M6 is one of the world’s greats and it just got even better.
In fact the entire BMW 6 Series range just got better. Again.
BMW 6 Series The Competition
From Mercedes-Benz we’re talking a combination of E-Class and CLS. And that’s tough competition given the variety of different powerplants there. Put it this way we’ve never met a car wearing an ‘AMG’ or ‘M’ badge we didn’t love. Check specific models closely for specification to get the true value comparison and good luck picking your preference – they’re all automotive superstars.
And from Audi you’re looking at A5 (Sportback, Coupe and Cabriolet) and A6. Our earlier comments about ‘AMG’ and ‘M’ also apply to the Ingolstadt company’s ‘S’ and ‘RS’ models. If your budget is stretched the Audi lineup does offer some great value and, as we know, Quattro AWD is a big plus.