Redesigned for 2012, the BMW 6 Series comes with either an inline-six or V-8 engine and is offered in coupe and soft-top convertible variants, both of which seat four. New features include adaptive LED headlights, surround-view cameras and a Bang & Olufsen stereo. The Jaguar XK is the 6 Series' most direct competitor, but you might cross-shop the car against a Mercedes E-Class coupe or cabriolet, too.
The 650i, with its twin-turbo V-8 engine, is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
The new 6 Series measures some 3 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than its predecessor; it's a few tenths of an inch shorter at the roof level. As before, the car maintains a short front overhang and low-slung appearance. BMW says the design was inspired by the natural motion of waves. The car's available LED headlights include an adaptive function to illuminate oncoming corners, something LED lights haven't traditionally been capable of doing. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 19- or 20-inch wheels optional.
The convertible's fully automatic soft-top has what BMW describes as a flying-buttress design in which the top trails behind a vertical rear window, maintaining a coupe-like roofline. The top, which can be operated at the touch of a button at speeds up to 25 mph, comes in black or beige.
The interior has a 2+2 seating configuration with small rear seats, though BMW says those seats get more legroom than the previous generation. Headroom has also increased in the front and rear. Trunk volume in the coupe is about 30 percent more than the convertible with its top up; with the top down, the convertible loses another 14 percent. An optional pass-through to the cabin, fitted with a ski bag, comes in an optional Cold Weather Package, along with a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.
The front power seats have 10-way adjustment, and ventilation and massage features are optional. Navigation and other features are controlled through the standard iDrive system, which includes a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen on the dashboard.
Under the Hood
The 640i is powered by a 315-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Its peak torque rating is 332 pounds-feet. BMW cites a zero to 60 mph time of 5.5 seconds for both the coupe and convertible. The standard eight-speed automatic transmission includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Other standard features include computer-controlled adaptive shock absorbers and Driving Dynamics Control, which allows the driver to adjust the ride quality, accelerator response, power-steering assist level and automatic transmission behavior.
Optional mechanical upgrades include active stabilizer bars and active steering, the latter of which adds rear-wheel steering to the earlier generation's variable-ratio front steering system.
Both the coupe and convertible have front airbags plus side-impact airbags built into the front seats. As required of all 2012 models sold in the U.S., the 640i has standard antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Active head restraints for the front seats are designed to prevent whiplash injuries. In the convertible, active roll bars hide under the rear deck to maximize visibility. If the car senses a sideways tip, the bars raise to provide rollover protection.
Optional safety features include blind spot and lane departure warning systems and night vision with pedestrian detection.
A backup camera is standard, and buyers can choose additional top- and side-view cameras for added protection when parking and creeping into intersections.
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