They say the personal luxury car is dead, but the truth is it has only changed form. Yes, the names are different, and so are the companies that hawk them. But the underlying principle remains as true today as it was in the days of Lincoln Marks and Cadillac Eldorados: people respect, admire, and aspire to the imposing grandeur of a sleek and full-figured luxury automobile. BMW has long been privy to this fact, and their 6-Series represents the German brand's own high-style glamour machine. If any other four-door BMW is simply too pedestrian, the 2019 6-Series is the answer.

Best Value

Like any good luxury car of this caliber, the BMW offers choice aplenty. There's two body styles, two standard engines and one hand-built, high-performance mill, and a number of options and trims. How will the indecisive ever choose?

If it were up to us, we'd head straight for the V8-powered 650i Gran Coupe (BMW-speak for the standard four-door 6-Series). While there's nothing wrong with the six-cylinder that drives 640i models, this kind of car demands something more assertive under the hood. After all, the 6-Series is an automobile whose very presence emits connotations about wealth, exuberance, and opulence – so don't suddenly be pragmatic and opt for the six-cylinder.

To that, we'd add the Cold Weather Package so to stay warm with its heated seats and steering wheel, and the Driver Assistant Plus Package for the numerous active-safety features it bundles. Here's our 6-Series as it would roll off the delivery truck:

  • Model: 2019 BMW 6-Series 650i Gran Coupe
  • Engine: 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8
  • Output: 445 hp / 480 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • MPG: 17 City / 26 Hwy
  • Options: Cold Weather Package ($450, heated seats, heated steering wheel), Driver 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:$94,095 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$97,445

Performance

BMW 6 Series

There's essentially three tiers of performance from the 6-Series: the relatively sedate six-cylinder, the more brutish V8, and a hand-built eight-cylinder that's all muscle. The base 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder is, well, the base engine. While its 315 horsepower is enough, it's missing that selfish authority which makes a car like this so enjoyable to drive. When passing prowess on the highway is merely on par with a family sedan, your impressive luxury sedan suddenly doesn't seem so impressive.

This won't be a problem in the V8-powered 650i. The 4.4-liter engine is smooth and fast, all 445 hp ready to be released by a single shove of the gas pedal. Whether around town or on the highway, there's enough gusto here to make any sort of acceleration effortless. It's the easy favorite of the three choices here, thanks to the relative affordability and the smooth-operator performance.

The Alpina B6 model uses a hand-crafted version of that 445-horse V8. In this application, the magic makers at BMW's tuning house coax out 600 horses and 590 pound-feet of toque. As one might expect, it is the most potent engine here, and will run to 60 mph in only 3.6 seconds. Though it might turn this big four-door into a gazelle, the B6 does demand a hefty $30,000 premium over the lesser V8 in the 650i. Unless money isn't an issue, we feel that the marginally better performance of the B6 isn't quite worth the big leap in sticker price.

All versions of the 6-Series have multi-adjustable suspension, and toggling between the three different settings bring noticeable differences in feel and response. Overall, the hardware underpinning the 6-Series does an impressive job of trying to be all things to all people, though it's still no sports car.

Style

The ride, handling, and powertrain no doubt seal the deal when it comes to buying a car like this, but it's style that gets people in the showroom to begin with. To that end, the 6-Series – at least in sedan form – delivers. It's long and low, with a purposeful stance and excellent proportions. The roofline will no doubt leave taller buyers wanting for rear headroom, but it is, after all, called a Gran Coupe. In terms of space, it's more an XL coupe than a bona fide four-door.

For those who would be willing to sacrifice style for room, BMW does make a hatchback variant called Gran Turismo. We think Quasimodo might be a better name; in turning the 6-Series into a five-door, the model loses all the mystique and sex appeal which is so crucial to its mission and plays out so successfully on the Gran Coupe.

All variants get a high quality interior, though it didn't feel as special or bespoke as we had hoped it would. It's not far off the mark to say that the Mercedes CLS or Audi A7 do a better job at imparting a sense of opulence. Still, buyers will appreciate that genuine Nappa leather is standard, as is a WiFi hotspot, 10-way power seats, and the brand's iDrive infotainment system housed in a 10.2-inch screen. While the iDrive is no longer the pain in the rear end it used to be, it can still be an intimidating system to use, especially with what seems at first like a labyrinth of menus. Most buyers should be alright after getting acclimated to it, but this process will be expedited if buyers take some time to read the user manual and noodle around with the software.

The Best and Worst Things

The styling of the Gran Coupe is sure to turn heads and elicit envy, be it at the country club or the valet stand. And buy a radar detector, because that lovely 4.4-liter V8 will make every interstate an autobahn.

It may have four doors, but don't be deceived: that Gran Coupe moniker is a rare bit of honest truth in this industry. It may be comfortable for two, but don't expect anyone beyond puberty to sit in the back for long stretches.

Right For? Wrong For?

BMW 6 Series

For those middle-aged professionals who primarily drive with no more than one passenger but want a stylish four-door, this is a good option.

Families, car-poolers, Uber drivers, or anyone else who needs usable space should look elsewhere – the Gran Coupe just won't cut it. The hunchbacked Gran Turismo is considerably roomier, but it's an expensive stylistic dud that's best avoided.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 BMW 6-Series is a high-style, little-practical vehicle whose main purpose is to make owners feel good about themselves while making others feel jealous. While the Gran Turismo may not impart these feelings, the Gran Coupe sure does. If this is what you're looking for, you won't be disappointed.