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How much? £59,550
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: in-line 6 cyl, 2979cc, 316bhp @ 5800rpm, 332lb ft @ 1300rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 5.4-seconds 0-60mph, 155mph, 36.7mpg, 179g/km
How heavy / made of? 1735kg/steel/aluminium
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4894/1894/1374
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 5 out of 55

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3.5 out of 53.5

BMW 640i Coupe (2011) CAR review

By Jethro Bovingdon

First Drives

14 July 2011 11:08

Hardened BMW fans (I’d put myself under that umbrella) might still be coming to terms with cars like the X6 and X1, but huge sales figures render our furrowed brows rather irrelevant. Even so, it’s nice to be reporting on a niche BMW that’s not a quasi off-roader. In fact the new 6-Series should keep traditionalists very happy. Based on the excellent 5-Series chassis but tuned for a more dynamic experience and with a lower centre-of-gravity, there’s every chance it’ll be a fantastic GT with a really sporty edge.

The 6-Series will initially be available as a 640i, 640d or 650i. We drove the £59,550 640i, which actually has a 3-litre Twinpower (single twin-scroll turbo) engine producing 316bhp and 332lb ft. It’s hooked-up to an 8-speed ZF torque converter auto, more of which later. In the UK the 640d, priced from £62,080, will take the vast majority of sales… so well try to get a go in that one soon.

Sounds promising. Does the driving experience live-up to the spec?

The drivetrain is absolutely fabulous. The engine is super-smooth and the 640i easily feels good for its 0-62mph claim of 5.4-seconds. You can rachet-up the speed of shifts, tighten the suspension and alter the steering weight via the grandly titled Driving Experience Control switch. In Eco Pro mode the 640i feels like the throttle’s broken but the ride is excellent and it has the potential to deliver 36.7mpg. Shuffle through Comfort+, Comfort and then into Sport and Sport+ and it’s more BMW-like. Body control is good, there’s tons of grip and the gearbox really snaps through ratios like a twin-clutch system. There’s no need to use the paddle shifters, but you probably will because it adds just a bit more fun and control.

So it does the numbers, but is it exciting?

Exciting is perhaps too strong a word. Nothing wrong with the performance, nor the outright grip and composure of the chassis, but 1735kg is quite a lot of weight and the 6-Series never fully shrugs of its mass. More of a concern is the Active Steering system (an option that brings active rear wheel steer for added agility), which is very sticky at speed and highly unnatural. The idea is that this system makes the car easier to drive by speeding up the steering rack at low speeds (for parking or dealing with tight bends) and slowing it down for stability as speeds increase. The reality is that the front never reacts the same way twice, undermining confidence. Perhaps this would fade with time, but drivers who appreciate consistent controls will struggle to warm to the set-up.

The 6-Series is a hugely wide car, too. I suspect it might feel a bit too chunky on narrow UK roads for enthusiastic driving. Of course there’s more to a GT car than its outright handling balance and here the 6-Series looks more attractive. There’s plenty of room for adults in the back, a big boot and the interior is genuinely excellent. The quality is superb and it feels suitably expensive. Add that to the superb refinement and you get a car that would be a real treat on long journeys. You’d be very happy driving down to the Route Napoleon or the Alps… just don’t expect the Six to morph into a thrilling sportscar when you get there.

How does it compare with rivals?

So the new 6-Series is essentially a much-improved version of the old car. The centre of its appeal is the superb drivetrain, the quality of the interior and its relative practicality. A Jaguar XK is nothing like as practical or efficient but is probably a shade more fun, a Maser GranTurismo is perhaps closest to the BMW in concept but costs vastly more. It’s a good car, no question. But my hardened BMW enthusiast tendencies means that I can’t help being a little disappointed that it’s not more fun to drive. 

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Average rating: Rated 3.5 out of 53.5 (57 votes)

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BMW 640i Coupe (2011) CAR review

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carmobster

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carmobster says

RE: BMW 640i (2011) CAR review

It is comfortable, perfect for your South of France holiday trips. A great gran tourer, and yet.....it's a BMW you expect more fun. If you want a grand tourer you can buy a Merc or a Jag.

No the wise thing to do is, wait a year and keep saving and in 2012 you can buy yourself a Maser GranTurismo, does all the touring stuff and adding a whole lot of fun and goose bumps. There is little competition in this market funny enough.

15 July 2011 12:05

 

MAX25

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MAX25 says

RE: BMW 640i (2011) CAR review

 The interior is probably the best of any current production BMW - fresh and elegant but classic BMW.  The exterior doesn't match up - it's just too bland - and although an improvement over the last generation it needed to be a more high-impact beauty - specifically from the front.  

15 July 2011 07:58

 

georgios1976

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georgios1976 says

RE: BMW 640i (2011) CAR review

Good to see BMW returning to its long lost elegance. I think this is a great looking coupe, a true successor to the original 6-series. I hated the previous gen car, it looked truly vulgar and awkward, especially the rear 3/4.

15 July 2011 00:17

 

MG5Sport

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MG5Sport says

RE: BMW 640i (2011) CAR review

Why did you give it four stars? the front is ugly as sin, with a wide caping mouth. And you even said yourself it isn't that fun to drive.

Its grade should be two stars, three if BMW is lucky, which they usually are.

14 July 2011 22:02

 

chickenfeed

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chickenfeed says

RE: BMW 640i (2011) CAR review

"my hardened BMW enthusiast tendencies means that I can’t help being a little disappointed that it’s not more fun to drive"

 

For my style of driving it'll probably do fine. For the kind of money I earn it'll have to keep do,ing just fine in my dreams. However, I'd rather dream about this and the XK rather than their uberpriced competitors. You know, put the banana somewhere the monkey can reach it and he might actually go for it. (In this analogy I'm the monkey and the 640i is the banana)

 

14 July 2011 20:31

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