Full 2013 BMW 6 Series Review
What's New for 2013
After last year's full redesign, the 2013 BMW 6 Series continues largely unchanged. The 650i's turbocharged V8 engine is more powerful this year, rising from 400 horsepower to 445 hp. The V8's available manual transmission has been discontinued, however.
The 2013 BMW 6 Series has all the ingredients a proper grand touring car should have: stunning good looks, ample power under the hood and a deep reservoir of dynamic capability that will enhance a drive to either the mountains or the other side of the continent. Of course, state-of-the-art infotainment equipment is a given at this price point, and the 6 Series has all that as well.
After last year's full redesign, the 2013 BMW 6 Series carries on essentially unchanged with the exception of some shuffling of standard and optional equipment. The choices of either a turbocharged six- or eight-cylinder engine, coupe or convertible body style, and rear- or all-wheel drive remain.
The updated 6 Series chassis is not only sophisticated but also it allows the driver to adjust the calibration to meet the varied demands of the road and of the two available engines. The 640i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6. Having just a six-cylinder in a big coupe like the 6 Series might seem odd, but this engine provides similar acceleration to the car's old V8, yet is more fuel-efficient. For those wanting even more, the updated turbocharged V8 in the 650i now makes 450 hp and will definitely get the job done.
Inside the cabin, the 6 Series has an artistically sculpted cabin with a driver-focused dashboard and myriad controls all within easy reach, including a 10.2-inch navigation display. The controls and instruments reflect BMW's characteristic attention to detail. The convertible features special seat upholstery that stays cool even in full sunlight, while the fabric top's rear window can be lowered to enhance ventilation. Of course, there are some failures, like the access to the rear seats, which themselves are so small that it's likely most owners will simply use the space for trunk overflow.
The 2013 BMW 6 Series shapes up to be a very impressive grand touring coupe and convertible. There are a couple of competing models also to consider, of course. With classic curves and a lightweight aluminum structure, the 2013 Jaguar XK is a competitor with character and performance in equal measures. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz E550 offers comparable luxury for less, plus actual room for rear seat passengers. But imbued with style and strength, the 2013 6 Series is one of the most exhilarating luxury experiences you can have behind the wheel.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 BMW 6 Series is available in 640i and 650i trim levels; either one is available in two-door, four-passenger coupe or convertible body styles.
Standard equipment on the 640i includes a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, an adaptive sport suspension, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights with power washers, LED foglights, automatic wipers, parking sensors, heated power-folding mirrors, a large tilt-only sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, heated 10-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustments, driver seat memory functions, leather upholstery, a heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera.
Electronic features include Bluetooth, a navigation system, voice controls, the iDrive electronics interface and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, and an auxiliary audio jack. The convertible has a power soft top with a glass rear window that can be raised and lowered independently, along with heat-reflective leather upholstery.
The 650i comes with those features plus a turbocharged V8 engine, 19-inch wheels, a 12-speaker surround-sound system and 16-way power front seats.
The optional Driver Assistance package adds side- and top-view cameras, blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and speed-limit information. The Executive package adds self-close automatic doors, a power rear sunshade (650i coupe), ventilated and massaging front seats, leather-covered dash and contrasting stitching throughout, ceramic-trimmed knobs, a head-up display and smartphone integration. The Cold Weather package includes a heated steering wheel and a trunk pass-through ski bag. The Lighting package includes full LED lighting and automatic high beams. The M Sport package adds either 19- or 20-inch wheels, a sport steering wheel, a faux-suede headliner and an aerodynamic body kit. BMW's Individual Composition options allow you to choose among various door sills, headliners, interior upholstery and trims, wheels and exterior trim.
Stand-alone options include active roll stabilization, active rear steer, an infrared night vision display with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system and an automated parking system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 BMW 640i is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 315 hp and 332 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard across all models. Thanks to an automatic stop-start system that shuts down the engine when stopped to save fuel, the EPA estimates 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined for the 640i coupe and 20/30/24 mpg for the convertible. BMW estimates that the 640i will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
The 2013 BMW 650i is powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 generating 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but "xDrive" all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA estimates rear-drive 650i coupe and convertible fuel economy at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Both 650i xDrive models are EPA rated at 16/24/19 mpg.
Standard safety equipment includes four-wheel antilock brakes with advanced standby and drying features, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags, active head restraints and BMW Assist. Pop-up roll bars also come standard on the convertible. In Edmunds brake testing, the 650i coupe stopped from 60 mph in 117 feet and the convertible in just 111 feet. Both are impressive distances for cars that tip the scales at over 4,500 pounds.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 BMW 6 Series interior offers top-shelf materials and craftsmanship in a close-fitting, cockpit-style environment. Depending on your preference, the prominent center console might instill a sense of security or slight claustrophobia. The iDrive controller works pretty well and provides a large amount of customization of the car's features, though we think Mercedes' COMAND system is still a little easier to use overall.
The 6 Series excels at accommodating two passengers, but the rear seat is only suitable for adults on short trips to the restaurant or driving range. Trunk space measures a relatively enormous 12.3 cubic feet in the convertible (10.6 with the top down) and both cars have a pass-through to accommodate longer items. The convertible's heated rear window retracts independently of the soft top, doubling as a wind deflector when the top is dropped. Lowering the soft top takes about 20 seconds; raising it takes just a few seconds longer. The remarkable heat-reflective seats in the convertible work amazingly well.
Behind the wheel, no one will mistake the 2013 BMW 6 Series for a BMW 3 Series. The 6 Series is a sporting car that can also cruise the boulevard. The optional active body control system keeps the brawny coupe flat through corners and helps the car change direction quicker than its 2-ton heft would suggest. The steering changes effort level depending on the dynamic mode (such as Normal or Sport) selected by the driver, and it remains reasonably precise in every configuration. Optional active steering also uses rear-wheel steering for low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.
The 650i's twin-turbo V8 unleashes a seemingly endless flow of low-end grunt and properly competes with torque-rich engines in the Jaguar XK and Mercedes-Benz E550. The 640i's turbocharged inline-6 also performs quite well, and you might realize that it's really all you need in this very stylish car.