Redesigned for 2012, the BMW 6 Series comes in coupe and soft-top convertible variants, both of which seat four. New features include adaptive LED headlights, surround-view cameras and, on the coupe, a Bang & Olufsen stereo. The Jaguar XK is the 6 Series' most direct competitor, but you might cross-shop the car against a well-optioned Mercedes E550 coupe.
The 6 Series is also available as a 640i which is powered by a turbo inline-six-cylinder engine. The BMW 640i 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 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 LED headlights include an adaptive function to illuminate oncoming corners, something LED lights haven't traditionally been capable of doing. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard.
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 coupelike 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 20-way adjustment, and a seat ventilation feature can be added as an option. Navigation and other features are controlled through the standard iDrive system with a 10.2-inch, high-resolution screen on the dashboard.
Under the Hood
The 650i's engine is a 400-horsepower, turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. Its peak torque rating is 450 pounds-feet. BMW cites a zero-to-60 time of 4.8 seconds with either the six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The convertible takes 4.9 seconds to hit 60mph with either transmission.
The 650i is available with BMW's XDrive all-wheel-drive system, available on both the coupe and convertible.
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. Adaptive xenon headlights are standard, with adaptive LEDs optional on the coupe.
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 combination torso/head side-impact airbags built into the front seats. As required in all 2012 models sold in the U.S., the 650i has standard antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Active head restraints for the front seats are designed to prevent whiplash injuries. 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, automatic high-beam headlights, 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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