The BMW 6 Series is a range of grand tourers first made from 1976 to 1989, and restarted production in 2003. While more recent sales have not been part of the North American market, the 6 Series BMW is still currently offered in other regions.
BMW 6 Series Design and Introduction
The first generation BMW 6 Series was a replacement for the popular and stylish BMW E9 coupe that was first available in 1968. The 1976 BMW 6 Series (E24) was designs by Paul Bracq as a a 2-door grand tourer coupe with rear-wheel drive. All of the models in this generation featured inline-6 engines ranging from 2.8L with 184 PS in the base 628CSi to a 3.5L with 286 PS in the top of the line M635CSi. Available transmissions included a 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual, or 3-speed automatic, later upgraded to a 4-speed automatic in 1983. In this first generation run, small modifications were made to the exterior design and performance, but the entire run produced 86,216 units in total. An E31 8 Series was released after the end of the E24 production in 1989, but it is considered a separate model due to the 8 Series designation.
2003 Return of the 6 Series
After a long hiatus, the 6 Series returned in 2003 using a shortened version of the E60 5 Series chassis. It is available as a 2-door coupe (E63) and 2-door convertible (E64) grand tourer with rear-wheel drive. BMW design chief Chris Bangle developed a 1999 BMW Z9 concept car, which served as Adrian van Hooydonk’s basis for the E63 looks. The rear styling was a dramatic shift for BMW, leading some critics to offer the term “bangle butt” to describe the rear end. A variety of engines were offered in the E63 and E64 6 Series, including a 3.0L inline-6 with 255 horsepower in the 630Ci, 4.4L and 4.8L V8 options with up to 362 horsepower, and a massive 5.0L V10 in the M6, capable of producing 500 horsepower and 384 lb ft of torque. A 3.0L inline-6 turbodiesel was also available. The engine was paired to a full lineup of 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, while the M6 received a 7-speed automatic manual transmission which uses an automatic actuation to operate the clutch on an otherwise conventional manual transmission. Many technology-forward features were used in this generation of BMW 6 Series, with adaptive headlights, parking sensors, active steering and roll stabilization, and active cruise control with lane departure warning. Some of these features were well ahead of the time and are only now become standard equipment on other luxury brands’ vehicles.
Third Generation Updates
The third generation BMW 6 Series came out in 2011 and was available as a 2-door convertible (F12), 2-door coupe (F13), and for the first time, a 4-door Gran Coupe sedan (F06). It was first shown as a concept car at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. A somewhat limited array of engines were available for this generation, including a turbocharged inline-6 3.0L with 315 horsepower in the gasoline version and 308 horsepower in the diesel version, plus three different choices for twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8s. The top performing variant going in the M6 had a whopping 553 horsepower and 502 lb ft of torque. These were paired to a 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. This generation included four different driving modes, Comfort, Sport, and EcoPro, plus launch control and intelligent emergency call. It was also the first time that xDrive all-wheel drive became an option for the 6 Series.
Fourth and Current 6 Series Generation
The fourth and current generation of the BMW 6 Series shows a shift as the 2-door grand tourer design changed to the 8 Series platform. Instead, the latest 6 Series is only available as a 5-door fastback (G32) which was first released in 2017. It comes with turbocharged 2.0L inline 4 and turbocharged 2.0L inline-6 engines available in gasoline and diesel variants, with the top 3.0L gasoline producing 335 horsepower and 332 lb ft of torque, while the 3.0L diesel produces 315 horsepower and a solid 502 lb ft of torque. The 6 Series now offers a largo cargo area with 22 cu ft of space and is based on the Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform. It has BMW Active Driving Assistant standard with blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. Adaptive air suspension lowers automatically by nearly 10 mm (0.39 inches) while at speeds over 75 mph.