BMW’s largest two-door model comes in coupe and convertible form, each promising precision driving and vigorous performance. Both the six-cylinder 640i and the V8-powered 650i stand apart not only for the driving experience they provide, but for their lushly assertive, expressive styling, centered upon an arching roofline and abbreviated rear end. Bodies got a mild facelift for 2016, with a new grille.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $77,600 (plus $995 destination charge), the 640i coupe holds a twin-turbocharged 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine that develops 315 horsepower at 6000 rpm, and 330 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. An eight-speed automatic, fitted with Launch Control, is the sole transmission, though the V8-powered 650i is available with manual shift.

Priced at $84,800, the convertible has a fabric top that can be lowered in 20 seconds. Both body styles come with either rear-wheel drive or xDrive all-wheel drive (which costs an additional $3,000). Fuel economy is estimated at 20/31 mpg (city/highway) with rear-drive, and 20/29 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Only one trim is offered.

Standard BMW 640i equipment includes:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Hard-drive navigation system
  • Surround-sound audio
  • Rearview camera
  • Adaptive full-LED headlights
  • Parking sensors
  • Heated power-folding mirrors
  • Moonroof (coupe)
  • 18-inch alloy wheels (19- and 20-inch available)

Available option groups include M Sport Edition, Executive, Driver Assistance Plus, Cold Weather, and Lighting packages, plus a new Black Accent package.

Performance Pros

BMW 640
  • Despite the car’s weight, the 315-horsepower V6 delivers silken, brisk acceleration, with abundant torque for effective passing.
  • Smooth, confident handling is a primary attraction. Steering is pleasantly precise, as a sporty BMW should be, even though electronic rather than mechanical.
  • Selectable driving modes let the driver tailor responses to suit personal preferences. Driving Dynamics Control offers Comfort, Sport, and Sport + modes, altering the suspension, steering feel, throttle response, and transmission operation. A switch can even modify exhaust sound.

Performance Cons

  • A 640i looks heavy and feels heavy, because that’s what it is, with the coupe tipping the scales around 4,200 pounds. Though the heavy feel intensifies a sense of solidity, and doesn’t impede acceleration or handling, it’s inevitably noticeable.
  • Size also is an issue. Despite its athletic road behavior, the 640i is a big car. Therefore, maneuverability isn’t quite in line with smaller BMWs and their competitors.
  • Though steering effort is easy, with satisfying responses, electronic power-steering feel isn’t quite as sharp as some comparable vehicles.

Interior Pros

BMW 640 Interior
  • Supreme comfort is the rule, at least for front occupants. Multi-adjustment power front seats provide excellent back and thigh support, with headroom to suit most riders.
  • Luxuriant interior trim features handsome woods and leathers, available in a variety of colors and textures. Controls are truly driver-focused.
  • One unexpected feature on convertibles is the removable glass back window, which allows outside air to flow through the cockpit. Years ago, convertibles had plastic rear windows that could be unzipped.

Interior Cons

  • In stark contrast to the front compartment, the two-place back seat is seriously snug.
  • BMW's iDrive control system has been a contentious issue for years. Though it's far better nowadays than in the past, not everyone takes to it.
  • Even up front, some passengers might havet to duck their heads to get inside—an inevitable penalty of stylish rooflines.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The lavish standard-equipment list qualifies, though extra-cost option packages are available as well. Those optional items come at a discounted price when purchased in a group. Just ask yourself how many additional features you really need, when starting with such a well-equipped two-door.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

That has to be the limited back-seat space. While that’s a familiar phenomenon nowadays, cramped legs and inadequate head clearance come as a shock in a sizable automobile. For those who regularly carry passengers out back, BMW offers a four-door Gran Coupe.

The Bottom Line

Not many vehicles offer such a blend of prestige, heritage, precise handling, and lively performance as BMW’s 6 Series. Admittedly, the V8-powered 650i is even more energetic, while adding more than $11,000 to the coupe’s price.