"The 6 Series Convertible is an open-topped sports car that mixes impressive drivability with the refinement of a GT – and tops it all off with seating for four.”
BMW's 6 Series Convertible is aimed at the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and Mercedes-Benz SL, but it's one of the few cars in the class to offer usable seating for four people. The cheapest model, the 630i, is no slouch, and a great choice. Its straight-six engine sounds fantastic at full throttle, and even though it's not quite as quick as the V8-powered 650i or 635d diesel, it's a better all rounder.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
If you're worried about running costs, then stay away from the larger petrol engines. The flagship M6 is supercar-fast, but its V10 petrol engine uses supercar levels of fuel, while the V8 petrol 650i is also thirsty. The six-cylinder petrol 630i and 635d twin-turbo diesel return moderately good fuel economy at 34.9mpg and 39.2mpg respectively. That's poorer than the equivalent 6 Series Coupes, due to the extra weight of the Convertible's folding top and body strengthening. Unfortunately this extra weight affects the emissions, and pushes these cars up into Band J for Road Tax.
Interior & comfort
So long as you're sitting in the front seats, the BMW 6 Series Convertible is comfortable. The rear seats are small, but unlike a Porsche 911 you should be able to carry adults on short journeys. The front seats themselves are very comfortable, with loads of adjustment. The fabric roof is well insulated too, meaning it's a quiet car, even at high speed.
Practicality & boot space
The 6 Series is a large car, and offers room for four inside. The boot isn't a bad size or shape, although it's significantly smaller than the 6 Series Coupe's to make room for the roof mechanism. The top cuts into boot space even further when it's folded. Inside, there isn’t much storage space and getting in and out of the back seats is difficult.
Reliability & safety
VOSA, the vehicle and services operator agency, lists recalls for cars made in 2004 and 2008 for a loss of engine power and suspension trouble respectively. Safety promises to be good, though, with all cars featuring electronic stability and traction control as standard. There are no Euro NCAP crash test results available, but the Convertible offers full roll over protection with special hoops that deploy from behind the driver's head, should the car begin to turn over.
Engines, drive & performance
The Convertible handles every bit as well as the 6 Series Coupe. The suspension is slightly softer, and the steering isn’t quite as accurate, but in truth none of this will spoil your enjoyment of the car. The Convertible has all the glamour required for a cruise along the French Riviera with the roof down, and with the roof up it's remarkably quiet, too. Take to the motorway with the top in place, and you'll hardly notice the miles pass under the wheels. The 6 Series Convertible remains almost as agile as the Coupe, despite the fact it's significantly heavier.
Price, value for money & options
While the 6 Series Convertible is hardly low in price, you get a lot for your money, as it's a high-quality product. Jaguar's XK Convertible range doesn't offer as much choice, as there is no diesel. However, Jaguar is more generous than BMW with the level of standard equipment.