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2012 BMW 6-Series

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2012 BMW 6-Series Review

Finally has the 'show' to go with the 'go'

Reviewed by Automotive on

The muscle car of BMW's lineup, the2012 BMW 6 Series looks nothing like anything else in the German automaker's fleet. Sized like a 5 Series sedan but lower, longer, and wider, the all-new BMW 6 Series is the third-generation personal luxury coupe to bear the name. Unlike the last model, which ran from 2003 to 2010, the new car eschews the controversial styling and snubbed rear end of the last model for smooth, flowing lines, front to back.

Powering the 2012 BMW 6 Series, a new 315-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 borrowed from the 535i enters as the BMW 640i. It will come with a start-stop ignition system as standard equipment that will automatically turn off the car at rest to conserve fuel. Moving up the range, buyers can get the 400-horsepower V-8 BMW 650i in either an 8-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual at no extra cost. The BMW 650i also comes available with xDrive all-wheel drive with the automatic.

Both quicker and more efficient than its predecessor, the 2012 BMW 6 Series is a leap forward with a blend of sportiness, luxury, and style. While BMW dropped the V-10 engine found in the discontinued M6 sports coupe, expect BMW will follow suit after its 560-horsepower, turbocharged V-8-powered M5 super sedan with a new M6 of similar output and performance.

The Range

Bodystyles: Coupe, convertible
Engines: 3.0-liter inline-6 turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 turbocharged
Transmissions: six-speed manual, eight-speed automatic
Models: 640i (coupe, convertible), 650i (coupe, convertible), 650i xDrive (coupe, convertible)

What's New

Although the 2012 BMW 6 Series is still new, BMW has already begun improving the vehicle. The biggest change is the cheaper 640i coupe and convertible with a 315-horsepower version of BMW's venerable turbocharged inline-6. The 6 Series also adds an M Sport package, available full LED headlights, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. For the first time in the 6 Series' history, xDrive all-wheel drive is available on 650i models.


With a new "shark nose" grille that is angled forward and low, flat body, the 2012 BMW 6 Series looks sleek with clean bodywork and an elegant design. BMW's common design cues -- twin headlights, split two-part taillights, and the famous "Hoffmeister" kink in the rear pillar sheetmetal -- are present, but the design is stretched and not as upright as BMWs typically are. On convertible models, buttresses flank the small, flat rear window. A cool feature of how it's set up is that the rear window can stay up without the top, allowing it to act as a wind buffer without having to be mounted in a place that cuts rear interior room.


Optimized for driver comfort, the 2012 BMW 6 Series' controls are all within reach and easy to scroll through. The lone exception may be BMW's iDrive multitasking entertainment and diagnostics system in the dash that runs through a 10.2-inch monitor. Although it has become progressively more intuitive as BMW has tweaked it, users may still have some trouble quickly scrolling between audio and climate controls, for instance. Otherwise, the interior is a sumptuous mix of wood, leather, and aluminum. It's filled with technology like a head-up display and a night view camera.

Performance & Handling

The 2012 BMW 6 Series is a big car, but it's also one of BMW's premier sporting vehicles. Expect it to handle like a smaller, nimbler vehicle than it is. With 315 horsepower in the base engine, it's a quick runner to 60 mph from standstill at 5.5 seconds. With the xDrive 650i coupe, the extra traction from having power routed through both the front and rear wheels pushes the car to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, 0.2 second quicker than the rear-wheel-drive model. BMW's acceleration estimates are often very conservative, though. New integral active steering with rear-wheel steering should help improve performance even more.


The 2012 BMW 6 Series comes standard with stability control, four-wheel antilock brakes, and front-seat side airbags. Coupe models have standard side airbags for head protection, and convertibles have pop-up roll hoops in the rear in the case of a rollover. Front and rear parking sensors are available in addition to a rear camera, side cameras, and active roll stabilization that keeps the car flat under hard turning.

EPA Fuel Economy

640i: Not yet rated
650i: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway (automatic); 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway (manual)
650i xDrive: Not yet rated

You'll Like

  • Powerful Engines
  • Sleek styling
  • Luxurious interior
  • Tons of tech

You Won't Like

  • Small rear seat
  • Expensive
  • iDrive still not perfect

Sum Up

Finally has the 'show' to go with the 'go'

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Jaguar XK
  • Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
  • Maserati GranTurismo
  • Porsche 911

See the New 2015 6-Series.

Front & Driver Side View

2012 BMW 6-Series Consumer Rating

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