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Driven: Refreshed BMW 6 Series plays it safe

Hot for 6: BMW has boosted the appeal of its flagship 6 Series range with the addition of more standard gear.

BMW has given its 6 Series range more road presence and a spec upgrade


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12 Jun 2015

BMW's lightly updated 6 Series has arrived in Australia, bringing price increases, while adding extra gear across the range to sweeten the deal.

In percentage terms the price increases are small – most are around $1000 – but BMW says the increase is more than offset by the $14,000 worth of additions to the equipment lists, as well as scope to further personalise within an extensive options catalogue.

The German car-maker has also beefed up the road presence of the 6 Series, tweaking the traditional kidney grille (the bars now number nine, not ten, and are spaced further apart) and re-sculpting the nose and tail.

BMW Group Australia chief executive officer Marc Werner said he believes the changes will ensure the 6 Series remains a strong performer for the brand in Australia, aiming to place it in competition with premium offerings that sit above traditional rivals, including Audi's A7 and the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

“We want to position it more on a higher level, not CLS and A7, but rather the (Porsche) Panamera or Maserati, from a price-point it is positioned differently and I think it deserves to be,” he said.

“Though the design changes are more evolutionary in nature, we are confident the updated fascia and significantly increased levels of specification will ensure the new 6 Series remains ever-present and expand its footprint.”

Adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beam, sports exhaust (on all petrol models), digital radio, parking assistance, soft close doors, surround view camera system and camera and radar-based active safety systems (including lane departure warning and collision warning) are now all among the standard features list, as are four BMW Individual specialist paint finishes.

The 6 Series line-up starts with the 640i Coupe, which has risen from $176,975 to $177,900, plus on-road costs, but now includes adaptive LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, digital radio reception, a rear sunblind, surround view cameras, lane-departure warning, BMW's Driving Assistant Plus, internet connectivity, the BMW Individual paint hues, six airbags, automatic parking and soft-close doors among the standard fare.

There's also a head-up display, parking sensors front and rear, climate control (dual zone in the two-doors and quad-zone in the four-door Gran Coupe). Going topless in a 6 Series is a $16,000 privilege, now demanding $193,900, a rise of $925. It also gets the same features upgrade as the hard-top as well as a wind deflector and an active rollover protection system.

Adding two rear doors to the 640i takes the price to $184,900 (previously the 640i Gran Coupe was $183,975) and its gains all of the aforementioned kit as well as sunblinds for the side rear windows, while the adaptive LED headlights are already standard on the four-door.

The 640d Gran Coupe has risen by $100 to wear an identical asking price to the 640i and stepping up to the 650i pushes the pricetag into the $200,000 range, with similar rises and equipment gains to the 640.

The 650i coupe now starts from $231,900, the Gran Coupe is priced from $238,900 and the convertible starts from $247,900 but these variants sit on 20-inch alloy wheels, and feature standard adaptive damping and active anti-roll bars.

Drivetrains for the 6 Series range are unchanged, leaving the 640i models propelled by a 235kW/450Nm turbocharged variable-valve direct-injection six-cylinder that uses a claimed 7.6 litre per 100km. Zero to 100km/h times vary from 5.3-5.5 seconds depending on the body style.

The twin-turbo direct-injection V8 powering the 650i variants delivers 330kW and 650Nm while claiming 8.9L/100km, with a 4.6-second 0-100km/h sprint time for all versions.

The 640d is a Gran Coupe-only proposition, powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel with a variable-geometry turbo, common rail direct fuel injection to deliver 230kW and 630Nm, while claiming a thirst of 5.5L/100km.

The performance king of the range, the fire-breathing M6, has also come in for some attention. Pricing has risen to $292,600 for the M6 Coupe, up by $725, with the M6 Convertible rising by $925 to $308,600.

The four-door M6 Gran Coupe is also up by $925 to $299,600.

All M6s are now being endowed with the Competition Package now as standard fare, which ups the power by 29kW to 441kW and torque of 700Nm, a 20Nm jump, on offer from 1500rpm to 6000rpm.

This is enough to push the M6 in hard-top guise from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds, or 4.0 seconds in the convertible, which the company says is a tenth of a second quicker than the version it replaces.

BMW Group Australia head of product and market planning Shawn Ticehurst said the M6 is one of the leading luxury performance vehicles on the market and an enduring concept.

“The inclusion of the Competition Package as standard provides further recognition of the M6 as one of the flagship performance vehicles in our range, improving its sporting capabilities and providing a more dramatic appearance,” he said.

The M6 features standard 20-inch M light alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system with M black chrome tailpipes, DAB+ digital radio, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, and a choice of four BMW Individual paint colours – Citrin Black, Ruby Black, Moonstone and Tanzanite Blue.

BMW 6 Series pricing*
640i Coupe (a)$177,900
640i Gran Coupe (a)$184,900
640d Gran Coupe (a)$184,900
640i Convertible (a)$193,900
650i Coupe (a)$231,900
650i Gran Coupe (a)$238,900
650i Convertible (a)$247,900
M6 Coupe (a)$292,600
M6 Gran Coupe(a)$299,600
M6 Convertible (a)$308,600
*Excludes on-road costs.

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