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New body styles broaden BMW 6 Series appeal

Consumer Reports News: August 02, 2012 01:08 PM

BMW's 6 Series has always been a large, high-end coupe with grand touring sensibilities. The current 6 line now consists of a traditional coupe, convertibles, and now a four-door version. Prices start at $76,000 and climb rapidly from there.

We just finished spending time in two variations that we borrowed (for a fee) from BMW: a 650i Coupe and a 640i Gran Coupe—the four-door model.

The 650i Coupe is big and beautifully finished with a 400-hp, 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 and eight-speed automatic. We loved it. We thought it was more engaging to drive than the last one we tested, a 2006 model. It gallops effortlessly and the V8 emits a reassuringly throaty soundtrack with an extra bark for every upshift. The automatic transmission is impressive.

And this is one big car that can still dance. It turns promptly, hiding its considerable size well. The steering is not as terrific as that of past BMWs, but it provides decent feedback, notably better than the current 5 Series upon which it is based. The ride is firm yet supple and composed, and the cabin is quiet. It starts at $83,000 but our sample exceeded $90,000 with its options including the M Sport package.

The four-door 640i Gran Coupe comes with frameless windows and seat belts attached to the seat, rather than the B-pillar. This tells you that, indeed, it's a 6 Series coupe with two extra doors. We wonder what took BMW so long to jump on the four-door coupe fashion bandwagon created by the Mercedes CLS and Volkswagen CC. While this one starts at a "modest" $76,000, our loaner easily topped $80,000 with options. The 300-hp, turbocharged six-cylinder engine feels muscular enough, but it's no V8. Driving dynamics are similar to the 650i but without the V8 sound and urgency. The interior is gorgeous, with supple leather, artful stitchery and tasteful touches of wood. Even the headliner is suede-lined.

It's a bit of an effort to get in and out of either of these low-slung BMWs, but it's not a bad price to pay. And while the rear seat is cramped, the pseudo-sedan can hold three—at least theoretically.

Both cars had the lane departure option, which vibrates the steering wheel if you stray out of your lane unintentionally. Many of us prefer that to an annoying beep. The heads-up display also works well, displaying the car's speed at the bottom of the windshield.

Overall, in either style, the 6 is a sporty, gorgeous-looking and driving machine that creates a sense of occasion for those who really want to stand out from the crowd.

Check out the video below to see these cars in action.

Related:
Super-luxurious BMW 750Li pampers but is no longer the ultimate driving machine
BMW X3 xDrive28i with four-cylinder engine proves delightful, more fuel efficient
BMW 528i four-cylinder visits track, combines efficiency and luxury

Gabe Shenhar

   

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