BMW knows that the conservative-looking 5-Series and personal-limo 7-Series aren't the first choices of those who want their luxury with a heavy dose of flash and panache. Closing that product hole is the 6-Series, a dapper cruise missile built for whisking passengers with a certain flair that's missing from other BMWs. If anything from Stuggart is ready for the red carpet, it's the debonair 2018 BMW 6-Series.

Best Value

BMW offers the 6-Series in three variations: a sun-seeking convertible, a long and low sedan, and a practical but homely hatchback. Of the three, we're most smitten with the four-door model – Gran Coupe, in BMW parlance – thanks to how well it marries practicality and style.

Of course, we'd need to get the V8. This is luxury in its most unabashed form, after all. Going this far only to opt for a six-cylinder is like going to Las Vegas and not leaving the hotel room. Besides the V8, there's a few other options for which we'd part ways with our money. Here's our BMW 6-Series as we'd spec it out:

  • Model: 2018 BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe 650i
  • Engine: 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
  • Output: 445 hp / 480 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 17 City / 26 Hwy
  • Options: Cold Weather Package ($450, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel), Driving Assistance Package ($1,700, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring), Driver Assistance Plus Package ($1,200, adaptive cruise control)
  • Base Price: $93,995 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $97,345

Performance

BMW 6-Series

When you're driving a style statement like the BMW 6-Series, you need firepower to back up the aesthetic salvo. To that end, BMW offers three tiers of performance: the wallflower six-cylinder, the lusty twin-turbo eight-cylinder, and the excessive hand-built V8.

Dropping the straight-six into the 6-Series keeps the price down and delivers adequate performance. But the truth is that for car of this stature, the 315 horsepower it delivers is far from satisfying. This is a flavor of automobile that drips with over-the-top goodness; a powertrain that's merely adequate simply falls short. Zero to 60 mph may come in a tick over five seconds, but a 6-Series with this engine feels as wrong as Usain Bolt in hiking boots.

The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, however, is much more in line with the character of the 6-Series. With 445 hp and 480 pound-feet of torque, it's a burly hulk of a motor that delivers the effortless power we expect of a car like this. Zero to 60 comes in just over four seconds as it sprints toward a top speed of 150 mph. Backing this engine is an eight-speed automatic transmission that pairs well with the car's intended mission. Shifts aren't lightning quick like a dual-clutch unit, but it's smooth and composed, resolute in its decisions and never second-guessing itself. Not only does this powertrain offer prodigious power across the entirety of the tachometer, it's delivered with the smoothness of a James Bond pickup line. Of the three available motors, it's easily our top choice.

If 445 hp isn't enough, there's the Alpina B6. For about 30,000 more than the 650i, the Alpina brings along a hand-crafted V8 making 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Running to 60 in just 3.6 seconds, it's the ultimate in overkill. But as nice as it is to have 600 ponies on tap, you can't help but think how the V8 in the 650i is nine-tenths of the Alpina for three-quarters less. There's just not enough additional audacity here to merit paying the exorbitant sticker price.

Even in B6 form, the 6-Series isn't a sports car, but rather a large gran-tourer. That means carving corners is off the table, but it'll cruise with a certain sublimity absent in many lesser cars. It'll whisk you purposefully to your destination and do so in utter comfort over even the most pockmarked roads.

Style

It's often the drop-top that's the choice for glamorous advertisements and car-show pedestals. In the 6-Series case, that honor should go to the four-door Gran Coupe. With proportions that ape the old Detroit maxim of long, low, and wide, the Gran Coupe drapes itself over the road with a certain big-car grace that most contemporary sedans lack. In a way, it's almost like an old-school Eldorado or Mark Series – eye-catching and head-turning, commanding the road while exuding a certain new-money exclusiveness. It's a modern take on the personal luxury car, even if it is four doors.

Don't let those four doors fool you into thinking this can be a family-hauler, though. When so much effort is spent on making the outside look so dreamy, interior dimensions – especially for the rear seat – naturally suffer. That low, racy roofline? It translates to second-row head room of just 37 inches. The long hood and attractive proportions? It means 42 inches of front leg room and just 35 inches in the second row. Bottom line, the back seat of the Gran Coupe is far more coupe than gran.

In a world where the interiors of high-dollar Mercedes-Benz and Audis feel richly appointed and opulent, this BMW comes off as sparse and lacking any sort of wow factor. When you're dropping six figures on a luxury car, the interior can't be just alright – it needs to be eye-popping. Mercedes has managed this even on their higher-trim E-Class cars and so has Audi with the high-spec A6s, let alone their high-dollar style statements. What's the deal, BMW?

The Best and Worst Things

That twin-turbo V8 is a thing of mechanical perfection, and is a ideal accomplice for that suave exterior.

Unfortunately, this first-class car has an interior that belongs in coach.

Right For? Wrong For?

BMW 6-Series

Style-conscious buyers who don't need a spacious back seat and appreciate the Teutonic interior would enjoy the head-turning Gran Coupe or open-top convertible.

Anyone who wants their big, stylish luxury car to have usable space and an extravagant interior would be better off with something else.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking to announce to the world that you've arrived, the car to do it with is the 2018 BMW 6-Series. This handsome piece of motoring has the outfit to fit in at any exclusive cul-de-sac, country club, or valet stand. Opt for the V8, set the cruise control, and start wafting toward a distant horizon.