BMW 6 Series

BMW's performance luxury coupe and convertible 6-Series models are available in the U.S. primarily in 650i form for 2008, which includes a 360-horsepower, 4.8L V8 engine with variable valve timing and variable intake lifts and a dual exhaust system. The engine is matched to two possible transmissions: a six-speed manual transmission and, new for 2008, a six-speed sport automatic transmission with steering wheel paddles.

The convertible model has a thick, well-insulated soft top with an electrically retractable glass window; overall its coefficient of drag is almost as good as the coupe's, which should result in low wind noise. It includes additional body reinforcements and an Automatic Rollover Protection System.

The 650i includes many features geared toward enthusiastic driving, without giving up comfort when it's appreciated. The Dynamic Driving Control system is standard, with which the driver can change the behavior of a number of controls, including the throttle, transmission, and steering feel, with a Normal or Sport setting. Active Roll Stabilization, which aids in flat cornering, is also standard, and vehicle speed-sensitive steering is also standard. An Active Steering system, which varies the steering ratio according to speed and other conditions, is optional.

Big four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes are standard, along with 18-inch run-flat tires. An optional Sport Package brings 19-inch wheels with performance tires in staggered sizes, front to back, for improved performance. There are also some innovative lighting features; xenon adaptive headlamps swivel slightly to the side to help illuminate into corners, and adaptive brake lights shine brighter during hard braking. To remove three things from the list of driver worries, there are new options for high beam assist and a lane departure warning system, and the adaptive cruise control now features a "stop and go" function.

Inside, the 6-Series is a 2+2, meaning that the back seat only has enough space for small children. For front passengers, the experience is high-tech and luxurious. All 6-ers includes BMW's iDrive system, enhanced for 2008, which combines controls for communication, audio, climate control, and navigation into a menu system accessed through a haptic controller mounted on the center console. A Pearl leather option, with different stitching and Nasca leather trim, offers a more supple feel relative to the standard Dakota leather.

The 6-Series models come very well equipped as luxury cars, but especially notable standard equipment includes power seats with adjustable lumbar support, leather upholstery, a power moonroof (on coupes), and a dual-zone climate control with odor filtration and humidity control. The standard sound system includes eight speakers and two subwoofers.

At the top of the range is the high-performance M6 model, with a 500-horsepower, 5.0L V10 engine and seven-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG). BMW claims a 0-60 time of only 4.5 seconds, though the major magazines have clocked it even faster. The M6 is available in both coupe and convertible variants, and loaded with equipment to make it track-ready, such as a G-sensitive lubrication system, a variable differential lock, a specially designed suspension, a performance-calibrated version of the DSC stability system, an Electronic Damping Control (EDC) system that allows customizable settings, and a twin-chamber exhaust system that allows two different sound characteristics.

Editors' Review

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No carmaker knows how to fill niches quite like BMW. And at this point, there are so many seemingly overlapping vehicles that it's often hard to decipher why one is better than the other. A crossover gets a sloping roofline and suddenly it's a whole new model. A coupe sprouts a second set of doors, and it's something new, too.

Then there's the 2018 BMW 640i Gran Turismo. It's like a tall four-door sedan with a hatchback and a coupe-ish roofline. It's like the X6 went into the Proportion-O-Later machine and grew 7 inches in overall length, but got skinnier and shorter in height in the process. It's not a coupeover. Maybe it's a hatchback? Maybe it's a crossover?

Gran Turismo, grand touring

Whatever it is, the 6 Series GT is the replacement for the original segment-bending 5 Series Gran Turismo. And as its name suggests, the GT is more of a luxury cruiser than canyon carver.

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The Good A well-balanced powertrain and excellent utility. Loads of driver's aids are standard.

The Bad It looks a little odd. Apple CarPlay is a $300 option. No Android Auto capability.

The Bottom Line The 2018 BMW 640i GT is good for folks who need more room, but don't want to go the full crossover route.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8
  • Features 9
  • Design 6.5
  • Media 8

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