BMW 6 Series
(2011 - 2018)

  • Superb driving experience.
  • Interior fit and finish is excellent.
  • Great levels of tech, equipment and safety.
  • Genuinely practical for this genre of car.
  • Huge question mark over reliability.
  • Requires a truly faultless service and maintenance history.
  • Expensive parts and labour costs.
  • Will the genuinely insane levels of depreciation ever stop?
Overview

The third-gen 6 Series existed from around 2011 to 2018 which was available in three body styles with a few different mechanical packages.

There’s the car we’re reviewing, the 4-door Gran Coupe in 4.4-litre V8 650i form, and in M Sport trim however if you have no need for the practicality of back doors you can have the 6 Series as a 2-door coupe or if you’d rather spend your life topless, as a 2-door convertible.

Engine wise, you could have the 6 Series as a V8, which received a boost in power for the LCI update, as well as a less powerful, 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line 6-cyl in the 640i, an even more powerful twin-turbo V8 in the M6 and twin-turbo straight 6-cyl in the diesel-powered 640d.

All 6 series here in Australia are rear-wheel drive only but some countries do have the option of all-wheel drive or xDrive as BMW calls it.

In terms of updates, the 6 Series received a host of various additions almost every year of its lifecycle but the biggest change came in 2015 with the LCI update, featuring a subtle facelift, improvements and updates to the tech and features and a few minor mechanical changes.

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What goes wrong

Exterior:

  • The Electric windows are becoming known to glitch out and either be faulty occasionally or just stop working altogether. Be sure to check that the windows go up and down.
  • There are some reports that the reversing camera harness and the camera itself can be faulty or glitchy or just not work at all.

Interior:

  • There are some reports that the seat frames can become lose, moving around on their base through corners.
  • This can also result in the front seats becoming rattly or squeaky.

Mechanically:

  • Firstly, the 6-cylinder petrol or diesel options make far more sense than the V8 and we’ll explain why shortly.
    We need to note, all the engine options in this generation of 6 Series do have their fair share of problems and all of them will benefit from 10,000km or even 5000km service intervals.
  • The petrol 6 cylinder (the N55) is a bit of a BMW work horse that is fitted to many different BMW models.
  • Some common and semi-serious problems are oil leaks from the valve cover & oil filter housings. Water pump, expansion tank & thermostat failures. Cam timing solenoid issues. Engine misfires from crook injectors or ignition issues.
  • Because of emissions & efficiency reasons they have direct fuel injection and combined with a problematic breather system, they tend to clog up their inlet ports & coke up valves. Due to this clogging, the engine becomes far less efficient. It can be cleaned out with something like a walnut blasting process and all resulting repairs should take no more than a day that shouldn’t send you broke.
  • In terms of the (N57) diesel, it is fairly reliable but there are some issues with the timing chain which is actually located at the back of the engine and was never really designed to be a serviceable part. They do stretch and, in some cases, in higher milage engines can fail and thus destroy the engine. More frequent services will significantly lower the risk of that catastrophic failure happening. Also those more frequent services will also help with some EGR & DPF complications that these engines are prone to.
  • In regards to the (N63) V8, the engineers here have done a great job with the engine’s efficiency & packaging, its capable of generating immense horsepower, and who doesn’t love a twin turbo V8. Well, this V8, the hot V is a hot mess! In the pursuit of excellence, they’ve created something unnecessarily complicated. There is just so much that goes wrong with these engines from timing chain and variable cam gear complications to oil consumption problems from dodgy valve guides, to PCV system complications and coolant pump & heat exchanger issues, the list goes on and on.
  • Electronically, in a car that’ has more than 30 plus control modules its hardly surprising that the engine has 2 separate DMEs (that’s the engine computers) to run it which can equate to twice as many things (in terms of the DME’s) to potentially go wrong.
  • BMW know they’re a bit shit because there’s extra factory support available to repair them. But that support will not last forever and even well serviced examples can have these problems.
  • A potentially larger issue is when something goes wrong, it will most likely be off the road for considerable amount of time and is going to be eye wateringly expensive to repair.
Model range, pricing & features

640d

  • Price when new: $184,800 - $192,900
  • Price used: $40,000 - $65,000

The 640d was only available on the GranSport sedan variant of the 6-series and featured the same equipment as the 640i.

Key difference was the power plant – featuring a 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged inline six cylinder diesel engine versus a petrol engine for the 640i.

June 2015 brought along a life cycle update for the 640d (termed “LCI”) and added a new heads up display, active safety features, surround view camera, adaptive LEDs, and DAB+ digital radio.

As with most BMWs, the options list can be extensive, so it’s worth asking the owner of what potential options might be fitted to the vehicle. Some options included: M Sport package, 20-inch alloy wheels, Harmon/Kardon sound system, active seat ventilation, various interior trim and BMW individual packages and Nappa leather.

Standard features include:

19-inch alloy wheels
Run flat tyres
Electric sunroof
Stop/start system
Selectable drive modes
Electric sterring system
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and front curtain airbags,
3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for all occupants
Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver and front passenger
ISOFIX points for rear outboard seats
Child seat anchor points
Seatbelt reminder for driver and front passenger’s seat
Headrests for all occupants
Active head restraints for driver and front passenger
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Traction control
Concerning brake control (CBC)
Front and rear parking sensors
Reversing camera with grid lines
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Heated side mirrors
Electrically folding side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down function for all windows
Adaptive cruise control
LED headlights
LED front fog lights
Automatic headlights
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Remote central locking
Proximity entry
Push button start
Engine immobiliser
Alarm
Electromechnical handbrake
Handbrake auto hold function
Power steering
Steering wheel – tilt (up/down) and telescopic (reach) adjust
Multi-functional leather sterring wheel
Head-up display (colour)
Dual-zone climate control (4-zone for GranCoupe)
Rear air vents
Leather upholstery
Electrically adjustable driver and front passenger’s seat
Driver’s seat memory function
Front passenger’s seat memory function
Seat heating: driver and front passenger
10.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with iDrive
9-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
CD player
MP3 compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity – phone and audio streaming
Satellite navigation
AUX (3.5mm) input
iPod connectivity
USB connectivity
DVD player
12GB hard drive
12V power outlets x3
Front cup holders
Centre console storage
Glovebox
Vanity mirror for driver and front passenger
60:40 rear folding seats
Cargo net

June 2015 “LCI” update:
New head-up display
Revised interior design
Forward collision warning (FCW)
Pedestrian warning system
Lane departure warning
Adaptive cruise control with stop & go function
BMW parking assistant
Surround view camera
Adaptive LED headlights
Soft-close doors
Sun blind for rear window
DAB+ digital radio

640i

  • Price when new: $176,975 - $201,529
  • Price used: $32,000 - $85,500

The 640i was equipped the same as the 640d, but with the turbocharged inline six cylinder petrol engine.

As with the 640d, the June 2015 LCI update brought additional active safety features, new heads up display, some additional comfort features and DAB+ digital radio.

Standard features include:

19-inch alloy wheels
Run flat tyres
Electric sunroof
Stop/start system
Selectable drive modes
Electric sterring system
6 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side impact and front curtain airbags,
3-point (lap sash) seatbelt for all occupants
Seat pretensioners and load limiters for for driver and front passenger
ISOFIX points for rear outboard seats
Child seat anchor points
Seatbelt reminder for driver and front passenger’s seat
Headrests for all occupants
Active head restraints for driver and front passenger
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Brake assist
Traction control
Concerning brake control (CBC)
Front and rear parking sensors
Reversing camera with grid lines
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Heated side mirrors
Electrically folding side mirrors
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down function for all windows
Adaptive cruise control
LED headlights
LED front fog lights
Automatic headlights
Rain sensing (auto) wipers
Remote central locking
Proximity entry
Push button start
Engine immobiliser
Alarm
Electromechnical handbrake
Handbrake auto hold function
Power steering
Steering wheel – tilt (up/down) and telescopic (reach) adjust
Multi-functional leather sterring wheel
Head-up display (colour)
Dual-zone climate control (4-zone for GranCoupe)
Rear air vents
Leather upholstery
Electrically adjustable driver and front passenger’s seat
Driver’s seat memory function
Front passenger’s seat memory function
Seat heating: driver and front passenger
10.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with iDrive
9-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
CD player
MP3 compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity – phone and audio streaming
Satellite navigation
AUX (3.5mm) input
iPod connectivity
USB connectivity
DVD player
12GB hard drive
12V power outlets x3
Front cup holders
Centre console storage
Glovebox
Vanity mirror for driver and front passenger
60:40 rear folding seats
Cargo net

June 2015 “LCI” update:

New head-up display
Revised interior design
Forward collision warning (FCW)
Pedestrian warning system
Lane departure warning
Adaptive cruise control with stop & go function
BMW parking assistant
Surround view camera
Adaptive LED headlights
Soft-close doors
Sun blind for rear window
DAB+ digital radio

650i

  • Price when new: $230,975 - $252,210
  • Price used: $45,000 - $90,000

The 650i was the top-of-the-range model and was fitted with a twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine.

Additional features included front and side-view cameras, soft-close door function, seat ventilation, TV tuner, 12-speaker BMW Professional sound system and a 500-watt multi-channel amplifier.

In addition to the LCI updates and added features across the range, the LCI face-lifted model also gained 20-inch alloy wheels.

Additional features:

Dynamic Drive active roll stabilisation (coupé and convertible)
Electronically controlled dampers
Front and side-view cameras
Keyless start
Soft-close door function
Seat ventilation: driver and front passenger
TV tuner
12-speaker “”Professional”” Hi-Fi sound system
500-watt multi-channel amplifier

June 2015 “LCI” update:
20-inch alloy wheels
New head-up display
Revised interior design
Forward collision warning (FCW)
Pedestrian warning system
Lane departure warning
Adaptive cruise control with stop & go function
BMW parking assistant
Surround view camera
Adaptive LED headlights
DAB+ digital radio

Should you buy it?

If buying a 6 Series is putting you at the outer limits of your finances, then absolutely not.

Yes these are utterly exquisite cars but they are also immensely complex and thanks to a long list of common faults and a high potential for mechanical issues, IF anything were to go wrong, chances are, it will result in an expensive repair bill.

However, if you have the money and time to maintain it, are happy to shift some cash out of your investment portfolio to pay for any repair bills and you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into, and you maybe also own a Toyota Yaris or Mazda 2 for when the 6 Series is visiting the mechanic, it’s a cautious yes, you should buy one.

But it is critical that it has an absolutely faultless service history, has been cared for like the previous owners first born and has been given the tick of approval from a thorough pre purchase inspection,

If it checks out on all accounts, we’re not sure if any other car offers so much car for the money, but still, please be very very careful.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 year/unlimited kms

Servicing:

12 months/10,000kms

Tech specs

Body style:

2-door coupé (640i, 650i)
2-door convertible (640i, 650i)
4-door sedan/Gran-Coupe (640d, 640i, 650i)

Engines:

3.0 litre twin-turbocharged petrol inline six (640d)
3.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline six (640i)
4.4 litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 (650i)

Power:

230kW – 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged petrol inline six
235kW – 3.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline six
300kW – 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8
330kW – 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 – from 2012

Torque:

630Nm – 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged petrol inline six
450Nm – 3.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline six
600Nm – 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8
650Nm – 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 – from 2012

Transmission & drivetrains:

8-speed automatic

Fuel consumption:

5.5 – 10.7L/100km

Length:

4894mm (coupé & convertible)
5007mm (sedan/Gran Coupe)

Width:

1894mm

Height:

1365mm (coupé & convertible)
1392mm (sedan/Gran Coupe)

Kerb weight:

1825 – 2055kg

Disclaimer

Information correct as of August 26, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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