BMW has confirmed the specifications of its updated 6 Series range, which receives a more aerodynamic exterior, sportier standard kit and tweaked chassis settings. Comprised of Gran Coupe, Coupe and Convertible bodyshapes, BMW’s flagship range is also now more fuel-efficient than ever.
The outgoing car’s engine options remain, but thanks to a more aerodynamic body and the latest EfficientDynamics features, most offer better mpg and lower CO2 emissions (each engine delivers best efficiency with the Coupe body). At entry level, the six-cylinder 3-litre turbo diesel 640d Coupe now produces a claimed 139g/km of CO2, down from 143g, and can achieve a claimed 54.3mpg combined (up from 52.3).
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The next model in the range, the twin-turbo six-cylinder 3-litre engined 640i Coupe, produces the same 316bhp and 332lb ft of torque, but decreases CO2 by 4g to 172g/km of CO2, and ups its claimed economy from 37.2 to 38.2mpg combined.
The story is much the same with the 444bhp and 479lb ft twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 650i, which can still dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in 4.6sec while offering a claimed 32.9mpg combined and producing 199g/km of CO2 (compared to 32.1 and 206g).
But the fastest model of the range, the M6, brings no improvements to economy and CO2 output. The M6 produces 552bhp and 501lb ft of torque from its twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, and in fastest Coupe guise, is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 4.2sec. Top speed is limited to 155mph (as are all of the 6 Series models).
Now fitted to all petrol models is a sports-tuned exhaust with a switchable valve (adjusted via the car’s Driving Experience Control system). Opening the valve not only alters the exhaust’s tone, but also reduces back-pressure to sharpen the engine’s responses.
Each of the 6 Series models has also received chassis tweaks honed towards each of their individual characters. Optional Dynamic Damper Control enables greater adjustment of suspension settings, while Adaptive Drive (also an option) can reduce body roll. Buyers can also spec Integral Active Steering, which adds rear-wheel steering to better the car’s turning circle and increase agility.
Amongst the main exterior changes to the 2015 model are new kidney grilles with nine rather than 10 bars, standard fit LED headlights (Adaptive LED units are optional), a new rear bumper with a horizontal chrome insert and more angular door mirrors.
Coupe and Gran Coupe models receive new 18-inch wheels and five new metallic paint colours – Jatoba, Cashmere Silver, Glacier Silver, Mediterranean Blue and Melbourne Red – while six-cylinder models get 10mm larger chrome tailpipes and more pronounced surrounds. Added to the options list are wheels of up to 20-inches in diameter.
Inside, the 6 Series gets a dash wrapped in leather as standard – previously this was an option – while the centre console now receives a high-gloss black finish. UK models will receive Dakota, Nappa (available in two bi-colour options: Ivory White with Black or Cognac with Black), or Merino leather trim as standard too, depending on the model.
Standard tech features include ConnectedDrive (previously an option), which adds full satnav and connected infotainment features, which work via a SIM card. Drivers will therefore have access to BMW Concierge Services.
Added to this are a head-up display, an updated central display, adaptive cruise control (which can bring the car to a halt and accelerate in traffic), lane departure warning, collision and pedestrian warning and an auto brake function.
Though the updated 6 Series comes with more kit and improved efficiency, prices remain unchanged for the 2015 model. That means the base 640d Coupe starts at £62,295, rising to £68,195 for the Convertible. The 650i starts at £69,790 in Coupe form, and costs £75,690 for the drop-top model. The M6 is available from £92,350 and tops out at £97,300 for the M6 Convertible.
Our drives in the 6 Series range confirm it's a supremely talented gran tourer, with power and torque to spare across the range – especially in the 650i – though admittedly, the car’s eight-speed automatic gearbox can spoil the trend with its tendency to change down earlier than required. And the M6? We were impressed by its point-to-point pace and agility, especially given its near two-ton kerbweight (1925kg).
Rivals are close to non-existent for the 6 Series, with the similarly specced Mercedes E-Class Coupe and Audi A5 coupe both lagging behind the BMW for overall class and sporty nature. As a result, both are priced considerably lower.
It’s worth noting that since its introduction to the range in 2013, the Gran Coupe has consistently been the best selling body shape of the 6 Series. 2014’s 1452 Gran Coupe sales accounted for more than half of the model’s total sales, which amounted to 2830 units in the UK.