2012 BMW 6 Series Review
2012 BMW 6 Series Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Powerful engines
- adept large-car handling
- superbly crafted interior
- convertible model's versatile soft top
- relatively large trunk.
- Cramped rear seats
- tight ingress and egress due to steep windshield rake.
The 2012 BMW 6 Series has been fully redesigned. Highlights for the coupe and convertible include sharper looks, larger wheels and a pair of turbocharged engines.
With classier styling and significantly more low-end power, the 2012 BMW 6 Series continues its evolution as a world-class grand touring coupe and convertible.
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Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 BMW 6 Series 650i 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.07 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
6 Series 650i
Avg. Midsize Car
Now in its third generation, the BMW 6 Series occupies a special niche in the automaker's lineup. It's alternately been the company's flagship GT platform and an experimental canvas, the latter for former design chief Chris Bangle's polarizing exteriors.
With this year's full redesign, the 2012 BMW 6 Series largely shakes off the Bangle legacy looking a little longer, wider, shorter and sharper. The larger dimensions are attributed to a new aluminum-intensive rear-wheel-drive architecture that BMW says is 50 percent stiffer than its predecessor.
And the chassis needs that extra rigidity given the engines underhood. The old V8 wasn't exactly a slouch, but its acceleration is now matched by the more fuel-efficient turbocharged six-cylinder found in the new 640i model. For those wanting even more, the new V8 in the 650i will definitely get the job done. Slightly smaller than its predecessor, the twin-turbo 4.4-liter makes more horsepower and nearly 100 pound-feet more low-end torque. It makes for a 650i that accelerates to 60 mph just a few tenths shy of the former V10-powered M6.
Inside, the 6 Series has a beautifully sculpted cabin with a more driver-focused dashboard than that of the old model. Along with the new 10.2-inch navigation display, it's clearly evident through the attention to detail lavished on the instruments, controls and overall design that BMW has taken a good deal more time developing the interior than it did with its predecessor. As for the convertible, it continues to feature the clever rear window that's separate from the folding top and can be lowered to allow the breeze in while still keeping the sun off.
Taken all together, the 2012 BMW 6 Series shapes up to be a very impressive grand touring coupe and convertible. There are a couple of competing models to also consider, of course. With classic curves and a lightweight aluminum structure, the Jaguar XK is a competitor with character and performance in equal measures, while the Mercedes-Benz E550 offers comparable luxury for less, plus actual room for rear seat passengers. But imbued with new style and strength, the 6 Series is one of the most exhilarating luxury experiences you can have behind the wheel.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 BMW 640i is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that produces 315 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard, along with an automatic start/stop system that shuts down the engine when stopped to save fuel. BMW estimates that the 640i will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds -- quicker than the old V8-powered 6 Series.
The 2012 BMW 650i is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 generating 400 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but "xDrive" all-wheel drive is optional. An eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is standard, and a six-speed manual is optional on rear-drive cars. The start/stop feature is not included. In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped 650i coupe went from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Interestingly, we timed a heavier automatic-equipped 650i convertible from zero to 60 mph in a quicker 4.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for an automatic-equipped convertible stands at 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Opting for the manual drops those to 15/22/17.
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 109 feet. The convertible was virtually identical -- impressive stops for cars that tip the scales at 4,200 pounds.
Behind the wheel, no one will mistake the 2012 BMW 6 Series for a 3 Series. The 6 makes few sporting pretensions, and while we wouldn't call it athletic, it's also not at all wayward or uncoordinated. The optional Active Roll Stabilization system keeps the brawny coupe composed through corners and helps it change direction quicker than its 2-ton heft would suggest. The steering changes weight depending on the driver-selected dynamic mode (such as Normal or Sport), but in all forms, it remains reasonably precise. Optional Active Steering also uses rear-wheel steering for low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.
Where the 650i's previous engine made its best power near its redline, the new 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 new 640i also performs quite well, however, and it's definitely worth a drive to see if you really need that higher-numbered model.
It's not as elegant as the Jaguar XK's streamlined design, but the 2012 BMW 6 Series interior offers top-shelf materials and craftsmanship in a fitting, cockpit-centric design. Depending on your preference, the center console's high hip line may instill a sense of security or slight claustrophobia. Improvements to successive generations of iDrive make it one of the most intuitive interfaces for controlling phone, navigation and audio functions. The latest upgrade, featuring a 10.2-inch color display, makes cycling through essential menus even easier.
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.
2012 BMW 6 Series models
The 2012 BMW 6 Series is available in 640i and 650i trim levels, both of which can be had as a coupe or a convertible.
Standard equipment on the 640i includes 18-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, automatic wipers, parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, a large tilt-only sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, 10-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustments and memory functions, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control and a rearview camera. Electronic features include Bluetooth, a nine-speaker sound system (with a CD player, HD radio and an auxiliary audio jack), a navigation system, voice controls and the iDrive electronics interface. 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 differs with a V8 engine, 19-inch alloy wheels and 16-way comfort seats. The latter two items are available on the 640i.
Options include the Driver Assistance Package that adds side- and top-view cameras, blind spot detection, a head-up display, lane departure warning and automatic high beams. The Luxury Seating package adds a power rear sunshade and ventilated front seat with adjustable bolsters and a massage feature. The Cold Weather package mixes it up with heated front seats (also available as a stand-alone option), a heated steering wheel and a trunk pass-through ski bag. The Premium Sound package adds a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system with an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio.
Other options include 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, active steering, active roll stabilization, an infrared night vision display, BMW Apps enhanced smartphone integration, extended leather upholstery and enhanced interior trim materials.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Very enjoyable to drive but really a 2 seater
2012 BMW 6 Series 650i 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6M)
I truly enjoy driving this car. The handling and acceleration are wonderful. Exhilarating. was disappointed that Android Auto is not enabled, but I can connect via Bluetooth. Tire wear does appear to be a concern as there is a sticker from BMW on the windshield to expect 20k or less. When tires run more than $1300/set of 4 it is a consideration for cost of maintenance. There is … also no spare, so get run flats or risk getting stuck. At my height, no one can sit behind me, and as long as your passenger is small, you could travel with 2 passengers. No one buys this car to share the experience with more than one, and I love my BMW. I would buy it again. It is a wonderful car to drive and makes me smile every day.
5 out of 5 stars
Wonderful combination of attributes
2012 BMW 6 Series 650i xDrive 2dr Coupe AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A)
The new 650 is surely a GT but it seems like more to me. I can explain best via comparison. It handles and pulls better than my Aston Martin. The cabin is richer than all but 65-level AMG cars. Technical geekiness is on par with a 911. On the other hand, it is not a rare British sculpture but it will have much greater reliability. It is not an S65 but feels better and costs way less. It … is surely no 911 in terms of handling, but styling and grace, and lack of pretentious attitude give it the nod. I was ready for a less-involved driving experience, and the 650 is perfect. It is a demanding ride only until I am ready to just relax. I used to need 2 different cars for that.
5 out of 5 stars
What a fine vehicle from going from a Porsche
2012 BMW 6 Series 650i xDrive 2dr Convertible AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A)
Hitting 70 this year I decided to go with comfort and still having the performance I liked with my Porsche I had for 12 years. It hit all the marks. The acceleration, the cornering, the luxury and styling of this machine all are amazing.
5 out of 5 stars
2012 BMW 6 Series 650i 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6M)
I currently own a 750il and a Range Rover Supercharged. And I have had other vehicles like the Mercedes 320CLK convertible. But I must say, next to the RR, the new 650 convertible is the best car I have ever owned. I wanted the 2011 model, but felt it was just a tad too small for me. But the enlarged the new model signficantly and redesigned many signficant features. It drives like a … big car and a sports car. Its sexy and really fun to drive. Very fast and love the rumble of the exhaust. The app option is great as I can listen to Pandora on my iPhone Very fast. And if you set the ride to comfort, it drives smooth and comfy. More so than the 750i. I highly recommend this car.
2012 BMW 6 Series Convertible Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 21 City / 31 Hwy / 25 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal. capacity
- 4 seats
- Type: rear wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
- Inline 6 cylinder
- Horsepower: 315 hp @ 5,800 rpm
- Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
- Length: 192.8 in. / Height: 53.7 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 74.6 in.
- Curb Weight: 4,255 lbs.
More about the 2012 BMW 6 Series
More About This Model
Bear with us for a moment as we discuss convertibles. It's a bit odd given that much of the country sits firmly in the grasp of one of the coldest winters in recent memory, but there will be use for an open-top car soon enough. By the time that day comes, the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible should be here, too.
The arrival of the classy, new open top turns BMW's usual strategy of introducing new coupes before its convertible counterparts on its head. But when faced with the prospect of introducing the second-generation 6 Series convertible later this year, BMW made the wise decision to bring its launch forward while delaying the introduction of the new third-generation 6 Series coupe until the fall.
The switch in plans is no last-minute affair, as reflected by the code names BMW has given each of its new 6 Series derivatives: F22 for the convertible and F23 for the coupe. A third 6 Series model, a four-door coupe previewed by the German carmaker's GranCoupe concept, and code-named F24, is also under development. It won't head Stateside until at least a year after the 6 Series convertible as a rival to the new second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS.
It's 650i or Nothing for Now
When it arrives in the spring, the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible will be available with just one engine, a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. Yep, it's the same motor that's already in use under the hoods of the 5 and 7 Series sedans. In the 650i convertible it delivers 400 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, a 40-hp bump over its predecessor.
In an urban environment, the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible is a wonderfully refined and relaxed drive. With a substantial 450 pound-feet of torque available at just 1,750 rpm, the turbocharged V8 requires just a small application of throttle to serenely cruise along at legal speeds. The delivery of power to the rear wheels is extremely linear, without any real hint of the forced induction, and mechanical refinement superb, with only a subtle mechanical hum evident over the wind licking off the top of the windscreen.
The smooth qualities of the engine are similar to the slick action of the 650i's eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's quick to match your driving style and, when required, can be operated manually via paddles behind the steering wheel. Despite lacking the automatic stop-start system that will be standard on the 640i, the eight-speed automatic also helps in bringing about a slight reduction in fuel consumption. BMW's official figures put it at 22 mpg in combined driving.
Needs Room To Roam
It is out on the open road, though, where the full effect of the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible's new engine really becomes evident. Those solid reserves of torque, which make it so serene while cruising leafy avenues, also endow it with explosive straight-line acceleration on empty highways. BMW claims a 0-62-mph time of 5.0 seconds, a tenth faster than the old 650i convertible could manage.
But it is through the gears where the new open top really delivers. There are no official figures to back it up, but BMW claims the 4th gear 50-75-mph split betters that of the old M6 convertible, a car that was most assuredly in no need of power. Top speed, as before, is limited to 155 mph.
As well as adopting a new engine, the second-generation 6 Series convertible also sits on a new rear-wheel-drive platform. It's a heavily reworked aluminum-intensive chassis that's clothed mostly in steel (the hood and doors are made from aluminum). BMW claims the next chassis offers a massive 50 percent improvement in overall stiffness.
The 2012 BMW 650i Convertible's on-road character is determined by BMW's DynamicDrive system, which alters the setting of the springs, shock absorbers, antiroll bars, throttle mapping, gearbox shift points, weighting of the electromechanical steering and, on our test car, the optional rear steer system. It's all controlled by a button on the dash that offers a choice between Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus modes — the latter of which also delays the intervention of the stability and traction control systems.
Handles Well for a Big Fella
We found the Normal mode best suited to most conditions, although there's no doubting that Sport mode turns the new BMW into a surprisingly adept performer. The new chassis, much of which is shared with the latest 5 Series, shines through, offering a surprising amount of feedback. And even with that big engine sitting up front, the inherent balance makes it feel alive and responsive to every movement of the wheel. All this in an open-top car that weighs more than 4,200 pounds.
The 2012 BMW 650i Convertible is deceptively quick over winding mountain roads. The abundant front end grip and terrifically secure rear end allows you to thread it effortlessly through tightening-radius corners at speeds that might have you feathering the throttle in some open-top rivals. The inclusion of rear-wheel steer ensures excellent response as you turn in and with hydraulic motors acting on the antiroll bars there's precious little body roll as lateral forces begin to build.
For such a big lump of a car, overall agility is very impressive. Weight it seems is no match for BMW's vast array of dynamic enhancing systems. Despite the firm qualities of the springs and dampers in Sport mode, the 2012 BMW 650i isn't overly harsh or unforgiving. Only hard struck corrugations prompt a shudder through the chassis, and even then they are well controlled; the upmarket open top settles superbly after initial shocks, requiring just one extra compression to dissipate energy.
A More Becoming BMW
Along with classy, new styling that imbues the 6 with a much more elegant appearance than its bullish-looking predecessor, BMW has also increased the external dimensions of the 6 Series convertible, adding 3 inches to its overall length and 1.5 inches to its width. The moderate growth is the direct result of adopting new rear-wheel underpinnings, which are shared with the latest 5 Series. They also provide a 3-inch increase in the wheelbase to put the 6 Series at 112.4 inches between the wheels. The front and rear tracks have also grown considerably, the front up nearly 2 inches while the rear is up 2.4 inches.
The positive impressions continue inside where the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible receives a uniquely styled dashboard that uses an angled center console to provide a more driver-focused layout than that of the old model. It is clearly evident through the attention to detail lavished on the instruments, controls and overall design that BMW has taken a good deal more time developing the interior of its new open top than it did with its predecessor. The materials used throughout are a good deal classier and more desirable than the sometimes questionable plastics of old.
The roof, a similar fabric affair to that used on the old 6 Series convertible, is superbly engineered, being fully electric, abundantly lined, well sealed and big on refinement. The whole structure folds down into a compartment behind the cabin in just 19 seconds at speeds up to 25 mph. With the top down there's a nominal 10.6 cubic feet of luggage space that expands to 12.3 cubic feet with the top up.
A unique feature is the glass rear window. Unlike on every soft-top rival, it is not integrated into the roof. Rather, it sits vertically within the rear bulkhead and can even be opened when the roof is up to provide an airy feeling without the harshness of the sun from overhead.
Aside from the intrusion of the heavily raked windscreen, which makes getting in and out somewhat of a body-contorting affair, we've few qualms with the comfort of the new 6 Series — at least, not up front, where broad seats and generously sized footwells combine to provide more accommodation than the old model. Even with the roof up, there is still a lot of space.
Sadly, the same can't be said of the rear. The two individual seats are generous in terms of width by open-top standards, but despite the 3 inches brought to the wheelbase, they lack for legroom when the front seats are set to accommodate an average-size adult. As a result, they're really only suitable for short journeys or as an extension of the trunk.
Just in Time for Spring
We're guessing that few will be able to reward themselves with a new luxury convertible this spring no matter how cold it is right now, especially one that starts at $91,375. If you're keeping track, that's nearly $6 grand more than the previous 6 Series, a car that wasn't known for its affordability.
Then again, if you're shopping in this range an extra $5 large might not matter. You'll probably want things like better handling, a little more motor and maybe some extra legroom. The 2012 BMW 650i Convertible delivers on all those things, at least in the front seats.
What might help this car even more is its more mainstream sense of style. Few are likely to consider this one of BMW's more striking designs, but it's also not ugly either. The odd proportions of the previous car made it look as if BMW was trying too hard. Some might say this version isn't trying hard enough. Doesn't feel like it from behind the wheel, though.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
Used 2012 BMW 6 Series Overview
The Used 2012 BMW 6 Series is offered in the following submodels: 6 Series Coupe, 6 Series Convertible. Available styles include 650i 2dr Convertible (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6M), 650i 2dr Coupe (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6M), 640i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), 640i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), 650i xDrive 2dr Convertible AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A), and 650i xDrive 2dr Coupe AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 8A). Pre-owned BMW 6 Series models are available with a 4.4 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 400 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 BMW 6 Series comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual, 8-speed shiftable automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2012 BMW 6 Series?
Price comparisons for Used 2012 BMW 6 Series trim styles:
- The Used 2012 BMW 6 Series 650i is priced between $22,999 and$35,990 with odometer readings between 21908 and72273 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 6 Series 640i is priced between $24,990 and$24,990 with odometer readings between 65589 and65589 miles.
- The Used 2012 BMW 6 Series 650i xDrive is priced between $33,590 and$33,590 with odometer readings between 33674 and33674 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 BMW 6 Series?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.