BMW 6 Series coupe (2004-2011)
"BMW’s 6 Series is a stylish coupe that offers a sporty drive and impressive comfort. It’s well built – but feels like a big, heavy car next to relatively lighter rivals like the Jaguar XK."
- Good performance from all engines
- High quality interior
- Comfortable on long distances
- Small rear seats
- Costly to run
- Not so comfortable on bad surfaces
The 6 Series Coupe’s head-turning design looks modern, but it will probably come as a surprise that it celebrates its seventh anniversary in 2010. As well as good looks, the car also offers a wide range of engine options for a luxury coupe. Our favourite is the entry-level 630i, which has a smooth straight six-cylinder petrol engine. Despite its place at the bottom of the line-up, it's actually one of the best versions to drive. If you have more money to spend, aim for the twin-turbodiesel 635d, as it has the effortless performance of the V8-engined 650i but with more impressive fuel economy. If that's not quite quick enough, then there's always the ultra-fast M6 which has a 500bhp V10!
MPG, running costs & CO2
Running costs for the 6 Series vary widely depending on the model you buy. The 650i and M6 models have an insatiable thirst for unleaded fuel. Count on less than 20mpg if you intend to use their considerable performance often. Obviously you'll pay a lot more for vehicle excise duty, too, thanks to relatively high emissions. However, the 630i and 635d versions have quite manageable running costs. Combined cycle economy is quoted as between 36-41mpg, and emissions put them both into Band I for Road Tax. Servicing on all models can be costly, although BMW offers fixed-price deals that are well worth investing in.
Engines, drive & performance
BMW has a well-deserved reputation for building stylish cars that are involving to drive, and the 6 Series Coupe is no exception. Its real appeal, however, is this car's ability to cover long distances in comfort and still be fun to drive. It manages this reasonably well, although the firm suspension isn’t as good at smoothing over badly surfaced roads as well as some rivals. Despite its size, the 6 Series feels light on its feet, and is at home on really twisty roads. All versions can be considered to be fast.
Interior & comfort
Bad potholes upset the 6 Series' composure, and are felt in the cabin. The seats are worth a mention, as they are particularly comfortable and offer a wide range of adjustment. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, while generous head and legroom means most drivers will easily get comfortable. The same couldn't be said for rear passengers – head and legroom is cramped, but there’s more space in the 6 Series than you’ll find in the back of a Jaguar XK or Porsche 911.
Practicality & boot space
It’s a pity that BMW didn’t spend as much effort planning the interior as the exterior. There’s room for four inside, but not much in the way of cabin storage space and the rear seats are difficult to get into. At the back there’s a large secure boot which is easy to load and perfect for driving holidays.
Reliability & safety
BMW’s 6 Series didn't feature in the 2010 Driver Power Survey, so it’s hard to gauge reliability. 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, with all cars featuring electronic stability and traction control as standard. There are no Euro NCAP crash test results available.
Price, value for money & options
Big sports cars have never been cheap, and the BMW 6 Series is no exception. It’s priced to rival the Jaguar XK, but is cheaper than an equivalent Mercedes-Benz SL – although this has the benefit of a folding hard top. BMW's standard kit levels have risen over the last few years, so all models are pretty well equipped. Beware of tempting - and costly - extras, though, such as the integrated satellite navigation system. It's worth remembering that cars with automatic gearboxes hold their value better, so they're worth paying extra for.