|Grand Prix - BMW 645i
Harking back to one of the most revered of
all BMW cars, the new 6 Series was built to tug at the
heartstrings as well as the strings on the backs of your
driving gloves. The question is, does it also pull too
hard on your bank account? What price beauty?
Having two seemingly similar cars
in the test--BMW's 545i and this 645Ci--might seem
redundant, but we found them to be two very different
machines. While both are powered by the same 4.4-liter
V8, the 645Ci is faster off the line than its four-door
sibling, achieving 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 sec., 0.2 sec
sooner than the 5er. This is where the power-to-weight
ratio (4,619 vs. 4,905 lb) comes into play, as all felt
the 6 Series to be quicker than the 5.
That the 6er we tested was fitted with the
SMG and the 5er with the manual made no difference in
elapsed time: the 545i's 0 to 60 time is the same for
both gearboxes. Compared to the SMG on our long-term Z4,
the 645Ci's version was much improved. All agreed that
shifts were smoother and quicker, yet the sequential
gearbox still didn't make anyone's most-favored
Most everyone raved about the
5er's Active Steering System until they got behind the
wheel of the 645Ci and realized how much tighter and
more controlled it felt in the coupe. Handling
preferences were split fairly evenly between the two
vehicles, which led us to believe that the better
drivers preferred the 645 over the 545, as the coupe
offered a sportier driving experience.
The coupe also has more visual appeal than
the sedan. Most testers thought it was the superior
looking of the two, but that wasn't saying a whole lot
when you considered the caustic comment the 5er
elicited. The 6er's interior was also liked more. A key
point was that the coupe's sweeping dash wasn't
interrupted by pop-out cupholders the way the 5er's is.
And everyone was sorely tempted to abscond with the
645Ci's "work-of-art" console-mounted (and removable)
Where the 545 came out better was in price.
Our 645Ci rang in at $80,840. The base price is $69,995,
but our tester had a load of high-dollar options--Sport
package, $2,800; SMG, $1,500; heated front seats, $450.
The 645Ci was better liked than the 545i, but it still
wasn't a case of love.
"Freaky fast. Feels
quicker than the 5er for some reason."
"Much-improved SMG gearbox. Feels
well tuned to the V8's power curve. Shift at 4500 to
5500 in Sport mode, the only mode to use."
"Looks like an Aston wannabe but
with a butt that looks like an unfinished Continental
"However debatable the styling,
the ride and handling cannot be challenged. Sport
setting makes it a Z8."
"Maybe my favorite car, similar to
the 545i but feels better when cornering. Better
"Interior is elegant and modern.
Hands-down winner of the best cup holder award. A work
"A wonderful modern take on the
big coupe--from certain angles, it's downright
"Gnarly engine sound.