There’s a replacement due for the 6 Series soon. The BMW 8 Series will be taking on the mantle, moving up-market in the process. But while there’s still time, the BMW 6 Series Convertible might be well worth a look as the only viable alternative to the Mercedes-Benz E Class convertible. It may ride on an aged platform – it shares a platform with the previous generation BMW 5 Series rather than the new one – but an old BMW is still a BMW. In theory at least, that should make the 6 Series phenomenal to drive, despite its age.
Though based on a platform shared with the spacious 5 Series, in its conversion to the grand touring convertible 6er, it’s lost something in the way of spaciousness. Though it offers rear seats, they’re best left for those not well endowed in the height department – or for those with no legs. Head room is not really an issue though, as the folding soft top retracts in 19 seconds for a full open-sky experience. With the roof up, the 6 Series’ trunk capacity is a decent 10.6 cubic feet – in a class with no real competitors – though this drops by a few cubes with the roof down. Thankfully the back seats can be used for cargo unlike perhaps a Mercedes-Benz SL.
Up front though, there’s plenty of space and luxury accommodation. The typical BMW trait of a low seating position is maintained with high sills and a high center stack leaving the driver feeling cosseted, if a little lacking in visibility.
The 6 Series is a big car, even in coupe format. But as a convertible it tends to feel even bigger. It’s likely the way it fails to shrink around the driver combined with iffy visibility, but it feels as large as a S Class Cabrio does. It’s also heavy – perhaps far heavier than it should be. This results in a ride that’s overly firm on any road that isn’t mirror-smooth. Over particularly broken tarmac, the ride is jittery and prone to sudden shunts. There’s also plenty of body flex – which counters steering that feels incredibly solid and communicative.
Rear drive models feel grippy, though can be pushed to oversteer with a dab of extra throttle, though all-wheel drive models feel secure and tied down. However, the rear-drive models are heavy enough already, so cold-weather notwithstanding, you might want to choose a RWD model for slightly more athletic handling.
BMW offers two engine variants on the 6 Series Convertible. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter 6 cylinder does duty in the base 640i, developing 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. The 650i utilizes a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, producing a throaty noise and a handful more power – 445hp and 480 lb-ft. All models make use of an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox as standard, driving the rear wheels, though xDrive models are available for an extra $3 000. In a body this size, the 50i is the derivative most suited to the 6 Series grand touring demeanor.
All 6 Series Convertibles can be had with an enormous amount of options, color combinations, and interior trimmings. An M-Sport package adds aerodynamic exterior bits, M-Sport wheels, an M-Sport specific steering wheel, and black accents. Items like park distance control front and rear, a WiFi hotspot, and wireless charging are all standard, though a Driver Assistance Package adds safety features such as blind spot monitoring, frontal collision warning, and a heads-up display. The 6 Series has not been crash tested by local authorities, but has scored highly in Europe.
It may be facing a replacement soon, but in a class with few rivals, the BMW 6 Series is still excellent. More practicality than the likes of a Mercedes-Benz SL, and more refinement than the likes of a Mustang convertible, the 6 stands proudly on its own. The pick of the lot has to be the 650i sDrive.