The ultimate summer drive

 
Ryan Borroff
Big, brash and brutal: BMW’s 6 Series convertible has always been a fabulous grand tourer for executive wind-in-the-hair motoring. But this third generation 6 is longer, lower and wider than ever. It’s also bigger inside and more luxurious too. But the real treat is that, unlike its predecessor, it’s elegant as well. In fact, this is certainly the most beautiful Beamer currently in production.

This 6 Series looks far more svelte than its predecessor. Thanks to its long sweeping bonnet and shark-like nose, it manages to look elegant and muscular all at once. Which is a clever trick because BMW is obviously targeting both men and women with the car, and though the 650i is more powerful than this 640i version, this is the model which will sell in greater numbers in the UK.

Inside, the interior is a blend of comfort, craftsmanship and advanced technology. The inside of the BMW 640i communicates excellence with cold efficiency. Yet, despite greater headroom in the back and the ability to raise the front seats higher than before, it is still very much a 2+2 seater. Something you’ll notice from the rear. So a comfortable, powerful tourer for four adults it is not.

The head-up display is a marvel to behold. The graphics are bright, safe and brilliantly conceived. Even the navigation system is clearly reduced to simplistic pointers projected onto the windscreen. This must be the simplest and safest HUD system on a production car thus far. Such clever design means that you could drive the car without ever having to look down at the dashboard instruments if you chose too.

Powered by a turbo-charged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, producing 320hp, it’s enough to push BMW’s fanciest rag top to 62mph from rest in just 5.7 seconds and on to 155mph. Thanks to its new chassis you can choose how responsive you want the gearbox, steering and throttle to be and tweak it to your mood. And the excellent eight-speed Sport automatic gearbox – which adds to so much refinement under normal driving – can be operated by the paddle shifters. Use them in sports mode with the car’s chassis dynamics adjusted too and the 640i can provide a thrilling drive indeed.

LIKE BATMAN’S MASK
During spirited driving the car is surprisingly agile in the corners and under hard acceleration, the engine makes a lovely howling sound. Automatic start-stop technology combined with active aerodynamics (where air vents in the car’s nose open automatically to help engine cooling when required) improve the car’s fuel economy which comes in at a respectable 35.8mpg.

The cabrio roof on this car is particularly elegant – refined and taut, it slopes past the small rear windscreen which is spirited away when the roof is towed. In top down mode the folding of the roof is a sight to behold. A rear panel opens up to stow away the fabric roof which first raises its two pointed “ears” out of the way before it folds underneath the rear body panel like Batman’s mask being put into storage. Elect to close the roof and the slim frame of black fabricemerges from the boot, like a bat unfurling then stretching its wings.

Driving the 640i leaves one with an enduring sense of class because the car is so smooth and refined. Yet its split personality means you can unleash your wicked side too whenever the mood takes you. The BMW 640i is a great GT.

THE FACTS:
BMW 640I CONVERTIBLE

Price: £65,695
0-62mph: 5.7 secs
Top speed: 155mph
CO2 g/km: 185g/km
MPG Combined: 35.8 mpg

THE VERDICT:

DESIGN
PERFORMANCE
PRACTICALITY
VALUE FOR MONEY