Say bye bye to the current, awesome looking 6-Series. If anything, it proved that inspiring, different, fresh design could pave the way for other brands to follow. The 6-Series since 2003 sold an approximate figure of around 14,000 units. Considering you’re looking at a highly priced, Grand Tourer type of vehicle that figure actually means it accounted for an average of 25% of the sales in that particular class even at some points outselling the Jaguar XK. Wow.
The new 6 series marks the end of the design renewals for BMW. All of the current range has been re-designed or face lifted. The new 6-Series actually shares the same underpinnings/platform as the new 7 Series which went on to become the Rolls Royce Ghost. Can they use the same platform that’s used on a soft and squidgy luxury motor on a Grand Tourer? Let’s see shall we.
As you can see from the pictures, this thing has been toned down. No longer does it have a rather bulbous front nose or that awkward boot line that protruded over the rear of the car. All I can say really, it looks…soft. I personally think that can’t be a BAD thing but also, I respected BMW for trying their new direction with the Bangle designs, way back when we saw the launch of the previous 5-Series. What a breathe of fresh air. BMW have lost it in the design stakes.
It seems the interior didn’t have too much of a refresh either, obviously the parts bins over at BMW had been given another go making this car feel more or less the same as a 3-series. In my opinion for a car that costs circa 75k, I want to feel special. Whilst talking about price, a fully kitted six will set you back around 94k.
Having said that there is a lovely low seating position which is unusual for GT Convertibles.
So this new 6 series has put on a couple of extra mm, It’s slightly wider (39mm) and slightly longer (74mm), sure it’s not masses but it does allow for a new structure under the metalwork for safety. This is something to note, the car is mainly made out of steel, but to strengthen the car, parts have been manufactured using ultra-high-tensile steel, this makes the car believe it or not 50% more torsionally rigid.
That extra 74mm does make the cabin feel a lot bigger, enough to say that very tall people would find it easy to fit in but even more remarkably the back seats could be used for average length journeys for even adults. Goes to show this car is more practical than the previous shape 6.
Reinforced sills, floor, B-Pillars and that now famous ultra-high-strength steel makes up the windscreen frame and automatically engaging roll over bars that pop up from behind the rear seats make this a safe car to be in.
They’ve tried to save weight where they can, how about a boot lid made of a fibreglass composite, cast aluminium doors, bonnet and front springs? The reason I tell you this is because despite their best efforts, the new car weighs around 80kg more than the outgoing model. Not the end of the world I’m sure you’ll agree but weight is a serious issue with modern vehicles, it needs sorting.
The vehicle comes with a double wishbone set up on the front and BMW’s multi-link at the rear, fixed rate anti-roll bars and passive dampers come as standard. Here’s where the options start, you can pay for ‘Adaptive Drive’ which includes adaptive dampers that adjust to the road conditions and style of driving and active anti-roll bars to create a more engaging sporty drive. A rather nice addition we like the look of but unfortunately didn’t have on our model was a four-wheel steering and variable ratio steering system. We’ve tried a similar (note loosely) on the Renault Laguna Coupé which by all accounts, increased responsiveness round the bendy stuff.
The model tested is a 650i, with a gorgeous all-aluminium 4.4 Litre petrol V8, which puts the down the power at the rear via an 8-Speed auto box. With the added turbo’s this extends it legs to a whopping 402bhp. Gulp. Putting out a whopping 443lb ft of torque.
BMW state the car can do a 0-62mph blitz in 5.0 seconds. If so this is an incredibly rapid car, we didn’t personally record the times of 0-62 but Autocar claim they did an average of 0-62 and got 5.6 Seconds. Only .6 of a second but it’s still slower. Autocar also claim the car is only half a second slower to 100mph than a Bentley Continental GT they tested in 2006! Amazing.
This engine receives a surprisingly good 28.9mpg on the motorway which actually for a V8 and when compared to the other cars in it’s class that struggle the 25 mark, means it’s quite frugal.
With figures like that, surely this car handles like an absolute dream. It’s true that overtaking power, rapid acceleration have the ability to munch those motorways or Grand Tours wherever you want to go, however the car does feel a little heavy and a little soft. It’s a good drive but I don’t think that it is ‘All That’ when compared to other cars in the range and as the 6-Series should be an alluring GT vehicle that should be able to ‘Get Down’ when the going gets tough, it feels like it lacks in the driving dynamics stage.
There is a bewildering array of technology and settings for different driving modes ranging from Comfort to Sport+. The Sport mode makes the car feel more precise but as with the Germans, it does make it feel a bit harsh when hitting any kind of imperfect road surface. The weight of the car must be the issue with the 6-Series, it’s by no means terrible, or even enough to say it ‘really’ effects the car so much we wouldn’t buy one because we would, it’s an outstanding vehicle but there just doesn’t seem to be a setting that makes the 650i feel like a good all rounder.
In all, this is a lovely car. It does make a great GT car and with it’s improved space and safety nothing in it’s class comes close. You can tell BMW have paid attention to detail on the new 6 series with it’s brilliant gearbox, engine and adaptive chassis.
The only downsides we can see, they’ve stolen parts from the BMW part bin for this vehicle which means it shares too much familiarity with the other BMW models and that for people that want a vehicle for a distinct driver experience,this isn’t the one. However that is all down the personal judgement because this is a well sorted car.