£68,495 - £81,585 Price range
26 - 50 MPG
The new 6 Series Convertible is one of our favourite big convertibles – perfect if you’re look for something that’s more comfortable than, say, a Porsche 911. It may not look much different to the old one, but the experts all say it’s a much better car. It’s far more enjoyable to drive, has a choice of strong performing, efficient engines and a well-equipped interior.
It may not look much different to the old one, but the subtle body tweaks hide what is a much better car. It’s far more enjoyable to drive, has a choice of strong performing, efficient (well, relatively speaking…) engines and a nicely-equipped interior.
In general, the convertible actually suits the 6 Series’ driving style better than the coupe, which you make expect to feel a little more sporty.
There are very few complaints about the 6 Series interior – it’s a huge improvement over the previous model. The facia points towards the driver like a good BMW should, and the quality of materials is of a very high standard. Everything feels opulent, if maybe just a little too bland for a £65,000+ convertible.
The seats are comfortable, and with the roof down it remains an incredibly quiet and unruffled place to sit – there’s no raising of voices needed here. The rear seats are okay, but lack a little leg room. The fabric roof can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 19mph.
Convertible cars sometimes suffer from scuttle shake, where the body flexes when cornering hard or going over bumps. No such problems here – the 6-Series feels very solid, but not at the expense of the driving experience. It feels more nimble than the previous car, and, naturally, there are high levels of grip.
Unfortunately, it’s not perfect. This is still no sports car, lacking the sort of connection you might like to feel through the steering. BMW’s Dynamic Drive system (automatically adjustable suspension, to you and me) allows you to pick between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes.
It’s best to leave it in Comfort or Normal, as switching to Sport causes the 6’s ride to feel more unsettled without managing to achieve any noticeable improvement to the handling. It’s frustratingly aloof.
There are only three engines to choose from in the 6-Series Convertible, but they’re all excellent. The ‘entry level’ petrol comes in the shape of the 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six in the slightly confusingly titled 640i. Producing 320hp, the engine is a smooth performer, mellow voiced and torquey enough to make progress effortless.
The twin-turbo V8 650i adds a little extra power, but only improves on the performance figures marginally, at the expense of almost 9mpg in fuel economy.
If efficiency is a bigger priority, then the 640d – a three-litre turbodiesel producing 313bhp – will be more your thing. Hardly any less powerful than the 640i petrol – but even more torquey – it delivers a highly impressive 50.4mpg on the combined cycle. Its all-round ability makes it the best option for the 6 Series.
Whichever you choose, though, all three engines are easily powerful enough to make rapid progress, despite the car’s high weight. The only real complaint with any of them is that they’re so quiet – for what in theory is a sporty car – that it detracts a little from the driving experience. All are very refined, so smoothness will never be a problem, while fuel-saving stop-start technology will save you a few quid at the fuel pumps.
All 6-Series use BMW’s slick 8-speed automatic gearbox. It is an excellent transmission, which shifts smoothly, rarely gets caught out and generally suits the relaxed vibe of the car very well.
In old BMW nomenclature, something badged “40i” was easy to understand - it was a four-litre, naturally-aspirated V8. These days it’s a little more tricky, instead referring to a 3.0-litre, inline six with a turbocharger. It’s enough to put out 320bhp, which allows for plenty of performance - 5.7 seconds to 60mph, 155mph flat-out.
Testers say it’s a very smooth engine, with plenty of power and torque that allows for serene progress up to higher speeds. The engine even sounds good, with some of that straight-six howl characteristic to BMWs of old. Throw in economy 10mpg better than that of the larger, V8 650i - 35.8mpg combined, and £210 a year in road tax - and it should even offer decent running costs. That said, the diesel may be better for high-mileage drivers or those lucky enough to receive one as a company car.
While the smaller-engined 640i is recommended by several testers, there’s a lot to be said for having a creamy 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 sitting under the bonnet. It’s heavier than the 640i and therefore affects the handling a bit, but for some that’ll be made up in the even smoother feel and burble from the exhaust pipes. Testers say that at lower speeds, there’s barely any clue that something mechanical is happening a few feet away.
Instead, you’ll realise that mechanical process from the speeds you’re doing - power delivery is fairly effortless - and when filling up at the pumps, since you can only expect about 26.4mpg on average. Road tax is a little steep too at £445 a year. Still, that’s more economy than its predecessor offered so if you’re trading up, it may not seem too bad - but the other 6-Series are probably better all-rounders.
This may be an expensive car but its fine qualities justify the price. Thanks to the shapely fabric lid, it is quite an attractive car, roof open or closed.
It’s no sports car, but instead a supremely capable grand tourer which offers relaxed, open-air motoring at the flick of a switch. That’ll appeal to plenty of buyers.