The BMW 6-Series is available as a two-door, four-passenger coupe, or a two-door, four passenger convertible. The BMW 6-Series began production in the late 1970s as a full-size luxury sport coupe. Referred to as the ‘shark’ due to its angular, pointed snout, the 6-Series was sold throughout the following decade until it was replaced by the far less popular 8-Series. When the market for large personal luxury coupes dried up in the middle of the 1990s, BMW abandoned that particular market and kept their focus on smaller coupes instead. However, in 2003 they realized that they once again had a place in their lineup for an ultra-luxury coupe, and the 6-series was reborn.
The BMW 650i is the only trim level available for the North American 6-Series. This imposing coupe is an interesting amalgam of BMW styling, combining the ‘flame surface’ common to all models with a muscular, thick appearance. The vehicle’s exterior was refreshed for 2007 to include LED turn-signals embedded in the headlights, as well as a relocated third brake light. The 650i can be had as either a coupe or a convertible.
Under the hood of either body style is BMW’s 4.8 liter V8 engine. With dual-overhead camshafts and variable-valve timing, this engine produces 360 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. As in the 5-Series, the V8 can be mated with either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. Each provides more than adequate performance, and the 650i can hit 60 miles per hour from a standing start in just over five and a half seconds. This is despite the fact that the vehicle weighs 4,200 lbs – one of the heaviest coupes ever produced by the company.
The 6-Series is aimed at the upper edge of the personal luxury market, and climbing into the plush cockpit demonstrates the effort BMW has made to meet every possible luxury expectation. Vehicle systems are controlled via iDrive, BMW’s rotary-controller which is mounted on the center console. A voice-controlled navigation system combines with dynamic cruise control, which works to actively keep the 650i a safe distance from any traffic that may be in front of it. Leather is of course standard, and when it comes to options buyers can choose to order larger 19-inch wheels, active steering, and a heads-up display to augment what they see on the dashboard. One of the most remarkable options is night vision, which uses an infrared camera to detect pedestrians and wildlife more than 300 yards ahead of the car. This information is displayed on the navigation system’s video screen.
The ride afforded by the 650i is nothing short of superb, and the suspension system makes the car feel much lighter than it is. Active Roll Stabilization uses dynamic sway bars to counter the roll of the vehicle’s body in corners, while Dynamic Stability Control keeps an eye on traction and prevents the tail from coming around in poor weather conditions.
The BMW 6-Series is one of the most dominating luxury coupes on the market, and it has few competitors outside of its native Germany. For those who prefer top-down motoring, the convertible is just as capable as the coupe. The BMW 6-Series is a worthy heir to the tradition of the shark it replaces. The 2009 BMW 6-Series is a carryover from 2008.
The 2009 BMW 6-Series is available as either a coupe or a convertible, with a single trim being offered across each body style. The 650i is outfitted with a 4.8 liter V8 engine that offers a healthy 360 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, with the option of a 6-speed automatic at no extra charge. Fuel economy for the manual edition of the 650i coupe is 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway, with the heavier convertible turning in lower numbers of 14 and 21 miles per gallon respectively.