Time for two very different takes on the hot-hatch formula to face off
You are here
The Top Gear car review:BMW 6 Series Convertible
For:640d diesel is an absolute gem, well-equipped
Against:Restricted boot-space will irritate committed grand-tourers
640d SE 2dr Auto
What we say:
6 Series Convertible is a very elegant, laid back and convincing car indeed. Diesel is a gem and proves open-top oil-burners can work
What is it?
The old 6-Series was seemingly designed by a team of blindfolded chimps throwing parts into a bath in a BMW spares warehouse. So this time BMW has given it a more sensible getup, as well as ditching any notion of it being a sportscar. Fret not, though – it drives even better now, and it’s still flash, except now in a “I’ve got a second home in the Seychelles” sort of way, as opposed to a “I’ve got the means to have you kneecapped” kind of way.
Take note: the 6 has just been handed a (minor) facelift, which in true German fashion will likely make every little bit of the 6 a tiny bit better. Hold off if you’re bothered, otherwise now’s the time to head out and bag yourself a good deal on the existing model.
As part of a master plan to banish the confused legacy of the last 6 Series, BMW released this one as a convertible first. Ignoring, for a moment, the ludicrously rapid M6, there are three engines on offer. The best, we reckon, is the six-cylinder 313bhp diesel found elsewhere in BMW’s line-up (640d). If you absolutely must have a petrol, the choice is between a 320bhp straight-six (640i), or a 449bhp V8 (650i). There’s not a massive amount between them on paper (4.6 seconds to 62mph plays 5.4) but the bigger one has a colossal 479lb ft, making it perfect for overtaking peasants when you’re late for the Masonic lodge disco. Mind, the lighter front end and hi-revving nature of the 640i makes it that bit more fun - though neither version is exactly nimble.
Adaptive chassis settings and all, this is a big car with light steering, a buttery smooth auto ‘box, elastic damping and an emphasis on quiet – roof up or down.
On the inside
The dual-layer cloth roof is like a 20-stone bouncer, keeping all troublesome noise out of the lounge. And it really is a lounge. Despite the dash making a return to the ‘driver-focussed’ BMWs of yore, angling the centre console towards the driver, it’s still got an emphasis on airiness and ease of use. The iDrive is less baffling than ever thanks to obvious shortcut buttons and a massive full colour screen, and even the BFG himself could get comfy behind the wheel. His overgrown children will struggle with surprisingly lacking rear legroom, though. And the boot is letterbox thin.
It pays to go for the diesel, which not only hits 62mph in the low fives, but also manages to return upwards of 50mpg. BMW says the Six is the company’s most-highly equipped model ever, with leather, satnav, xenons and parking sensors as standard. But as ever, all manner of high-priced goodies grace the options list, like a £1,000 leather dash.