Long term tests

BMW 645 Ci

I was having some time off from my day job as Script Ed on Top Gear telly when news broke that we were re-recording a batch of studio links for an American re-package of the show. Short notice but could I come in and write some words? Oh yeah, and do I know where to get a 6-series to use as a prop? Erm... Nipping up to the evo office to nick Harry's 645i wouldn't simply fill a gap on our studio floor. It would also be an excuse for me to learn about a car I've never driven.

I was having some time off from my day job as Script Ed on Top Gear telly when news broke that we were re-recording a batch of studio links for an American re-package of the show. Short notice but could I come in and write some words? Oh yeah, and do I know where to get a 6-series to use as a prop? Erm... Nipping up to the evo office to nick Harry's 645i wouldn't simply fill a gap on our studio floor. It would also be an excuse for me to learn about a car I've never driven.

And first impressions are, frankly, jerky. This car has a really funny clutch that makes every medium-pace up-change a head- nodding irritation. I got so annoyed with it that I started thinking the car would be better as an auto. But if you let the car take care of gearchanging that would make it more of a cruiser and that in turn would expose the serious failings of the ride. This dynamic shortfall is joined by the steering, which seems to get inexplicably quicker at a point in the rack where you don't need or want it, making for a festival of driving irritation.

It's not all bad news, though, because the 4.4-litre V8 is a gem, drowning you in torque and a cracking Bryn Terfel bellow every time you clog it. In many cars, an engine of this quality and character would smother other failings yet in the 6-series it's not enough.

Later I took it for a thrash around Surrey and discovered that, at maximum attack, it's much more fun. But if you want a BMW coupe that really comes alive when you cane it, why not save a few quid and buy an M3?

Surely this car should be more the lounge lizard, the car that feels good even at lower speed? All the time I was driving the 645i I kept seeing Jaguar XKs, looking at the driver and thinking, I bet they're having a nicer time than me.

Running Costs

Date acquiredMay 2004
Total mileage23,646
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month5623
MPG this month19.4

Recommended

All-electric BMW iX3 SUV enters production
BMW

All-electric BMW iX3 SUV enters production

5 Oct 2020
BMW M Performance parts: pricing, availability and range
BMW

BMW M Performance parts: pricing, availability and range

28 Sep 2020
This BMW M8 Competition is faster than a McLaren P1
BMW

This BMW M8 Competition is faster than a McLaren P1

15 May 2020
New BMW 330e 2020 review
BMW

New BMW 330e 2020 review

24 Apr 2020

Most Popular

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020
2020 Fiat 500 priced from £19,995 in the UK
Fiat 500

2020 Fiat 500 priced from £19,995 in the UK

UK pricing and specifications for the all-new, all-electric Fiat 500 have been announced
26 Oct 2020