Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $17,000 – $65,000*


2004 BMW 6-Series


2004 BMW 6-Series


2004 BMW 6-Series


2004 BMW 6-Series

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Seat comfort
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat room

BMW’s 6-Series suffers all the typical coupe/convertible compromises, along with daunting new-car prices and a firmer-than-necessary ride. That said, any version is a joy to drive: surprisingly fast, supremely capable, and very sophisticated. Secondhand prices aren’t likely to be moderate.

Overview

BMW launched a 6-Series coupe and companion convertible during the 2004 model year. This was the first 6-Series model since 1989. BMW competed against the Cadillac XLR, Lexus SC 430, and Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class.

Both rear-wheel-drive 6-Series versions used a 325-horsepower V8, with a choice of three six-speed transmissions: an automatic, a conventional manual, and BMW’s sequential manual (SMT). The SMT was a clutchless manual transmission operated via console lever or steering-wheel paddles; it could be set to shift like an automatic when desired.

ABS and traction/antiskid controlwere standard, as was BMW’s Active Roll Stabilization to counteract body lean. Dynamic Drive Control firmed the suspension, quickened throttle response, and adjusted shift points on the automatic transmission and SMT. BMW’s Active Steering option varied steering ratio and assist.

Front torso side airbags and front knee airbags were standard; the coupe added front head-protecting tubular side airbags. Convertibles had a power soft top and a heated glass rear window that lowered for roof-up ventilation or raised to deflect top-down cabin drafts.

Standard equipment included leather and metal interior trim, a navigation system, and steering-linked headlights. BMW’s iDrive that used a console “joystick” to adjust major climate, audio, and navigation functions. Optional was adaptive cruise control, designed to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead. Other options included 19-inch wheels (versus standard 18s), and a head-up instrument display.

Yearly Updates

2005 6-Series
A longer list of standard features marked 2005 for BMW’s 4-seat coupe and convertible. Newly standard were front and rear obstacle detection.
2006 6-Series
A more powerful, bigger V8 engine transformed the 645Ci model into a 650Ci. The new 360-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 replaced the 645’s 325-hp 4.4-liter. During 2006, BMW launched a super-performing M6 coupe with a V10 engine that could switch between 400 and 500 horsepower at the touch of a button. A new seven-speed automatic transmission went into the M6 coupe.
2007 6-Series
For 2007, the M6s were available in convertible as well as coupe form.
2008 6-Series
Only minor trim changes distinguished the 2008 BMW 6-Series.
2009 6-Series
The 2009 BMW 6-Series was largely unchanged.
2010 6-Series
The 2009 BMW 6-Series was largely unchanged.
2011 6-Series
The 2011 BMW 6-Series has been discontinued pending a redesigned version due in calendar 2011 as a 2012 model.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

BMW’s 6-Series comes with a 325-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 engine and a choice of three six-speed transmissions: manual, sequential manual (SMT) or full automatic. A bigger 360-horsepower V8 went into 2006 models. In spring of 2006, BMW issued a high-performance M6 coupe with a 500-horsepower V10 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission. A console button reduced output to 400 horsepower when desired.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 325
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 330
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
SMT manual
6-speed automatic
17/25
17/24
18/24
16.7

16.7

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.8/293
Engine HP 360
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 360
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
SMT manual
6-speed automatic
16/23
16/22
17/25
dohc V10
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.0/305
Engine HP 500
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 383
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
SMT manual

12/18

Road Test

Plenty of ready power and impressive passing punch greet the 6-Series driver. BMW said the 6-Series could accelerate to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds with the SMT or conventional manual transmission. A test convertible with automatic clocked 5.7 seconds. The SMT unit is harsh shifting and cantankerous around town, in stark contrast to the smooth and responsive automatic.

Fuel economy is so-so. With the conventional manual transmission, a coupe averaged 17.5 mpg, convertibles 13.7 to 19.6 mpg. With automatic, test convertibles averaged 15.8 mpg, coupes 17.5. Premium-grade fuel is required.

Unforgiving run-flat tires and a firm suspension make the 6-Series ride much stiffer than BMW’s 5-Series sedans, and tauter than many coupe and convertible rivals. These coupes are always stable and never jarring, but some testers said the ride grew tiresome on rough-surface freeways.

Well-balanced and agile, 6-Series is the benchmark for handling among coupes in this class. Active Steering sharpens low-speed maneuverability, but some testers found it intrusive and inconsistent. Active Roll Stabilization eliminates most body lean in fast turns. There’s little perceived roadholding gain with the Sport Package. Braking is strong, stable, and straight.

Modest wind rush has been noticed in coupes. Convertible tops are well-insulated for marginally greater wind noise than in the coupe. Minimal top-down buffeting is scarcely different with the rear window deployed, though exhaust rumble is noticeable. Plenty of tire noise is evident on rough roads. Both body styles are impressively solid in structure. Minimal body flex is evident on convertibles.

Confounding iDrive adds delay and complication to most control functions; worse, it diverts driver attention. The control layout itself is simple and convenient. Elegant interior decor makes use of top-notch materials. The thick steering-wheel rim interferes with clear view of main instruments and turn-signal arrows. Pressing the keyfob’s trunk release on one test coupe regularly set off the alarm system.

All but the very tall get good head and leg room on firm, supportive front seats. Power adjustments and a tilt/telescope steering wheel help dial in driving position after some trial and error. Long doors are a parking lot inconvenience. The coupe’s large sunroof does not slide open, merely tilting for more ventilation. Aft visibility is restricted in coupes, and worse in convertibles with the top up. Rear seats are comfortable, but leg room is very tight. Front seats power forward slowly, and entry/exit is a typical coupe chore.

Trunk volume is par for the class–coupe or convertible. The lid powers up but not down. Hinges are covered to prevent crushing packages, but they gobble space. Interior storage is minimal. Single cupholders are installed, front and rear; the front is an odd clip-on device.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 BMW 645Ci coupe w/ Sport Pkg., SMT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 8
80%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 53

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.4 190.2 73.0 54.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.0 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 35.5 42.0 28.8
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.4 190.2 73.0 54.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.4 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 36.7 42.0 28.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Coolant leak
Description: Coolant may leak near the 4.4L engine timing cover due to a failed seal. (2004-09)
Dashboard lights
Description: A “rollover protection fault” message may appear on the driver’s information center due to a problem in wiring or connectors. (2005)
Poor transmission shift
Description: The paddle shifters on the steering wheel may quit working due to loss of electrical signal often caused by loose connectors. (2004-07)
Tail/brake lights
Description: The lens for the center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) may crack at the sides. (2005)
Valve cover leaks
Description: The right side (cylinders 1-4) valve cover or oil filler cap on the 4.8L V8 may break in cold weather due to ice buildup in the vent hose or valve. (2004-06)
Headlights
Description: Automatic headlights may not go off when exiting a tunnel or parking garage due to miscommunication between rain sensor and headlight module. (2005-06)
Convertible top
Description: The convertible top may not lower because a sensor in the rear window may not be reporting that the window is down. (2004)
Electrical problem
Description: The electronic steering lock warning light may illuminate and/or the vehicle will not start if battery was low when starting. (2006)
Electrical problem
Description: Night vision display malfunctions due to wiring harness damage near headlights. (2006-07)
Electrical problem
Description: The convertible top warning light is illuminated, indicating the top not fully open or closed, due to faulty sensor switch. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: The paddle shifters on the steering wheel may quit working due to loss of electrical signal often caused by loose connectors. (2004-07)
None
Description: The universal garage door opener in the vehicle may not accept a code from a different (new transmitter or new owner) if the batteries in the transmitter are low. (2004-07)
None
Description: The right side (cylinders 1-4) valve cover or oil filler cap on the 4.8L V8 may break in cold weather due to ice buildup in the vent hose or valve. (2004-06)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate accompanied by rattling sound from front of engine due to leak in oil line for variable valve timing system. (2004-07)
Check-engine light
Description: Engine may run rough accompanied by check engine light due to failure of camshaft position sensors. (2005-06)

Recall History

2004 6-Series V8
Description: On certain cars, engine stalling may occur after short period of operation; engine may be unable to restart.
2004 6-Series V8
Description: Retention clip along fuel supply line may have been omitted; in a severe frontal crash, the quick-release coupling could separate, causing fuel leakage.
2004-2010 6-Series
Description: A check valve of the brake vacuum pump may leak a small amount of lubricating oil. Over time this could result in contamination of the brake booster. Power assist braking performance could be adversely affected. In extreme cases there could be a complete loss of power assist braking. An unexpected reduction or loss in power braking assist may increase the risk of a crash.
2004-2010 6-Series and M6
Description: A battery cable may work loose and cause the cable connection to overheat, which could cause a fire.
2005-06 6-Series
Description: Incorrectly-manufactured automatic transmission parking pawl guide plate could cause parking lock system not to engage, with the lever in “P” position.
2006 6-Series
Description: Certain nuts may not have been tightened to specification. This could eventually result poor vehicle handling. Dealers will retighten the front axle control arm and tension strut nuts to the correct specifications free of charge.
2006-2007 BMW 650i coupe and convertible with V8 engine
Description: The engine can stall in conditions of below-freezing temperatures combined with low humidity, due to electrostatic discharge. Dealers will attach two ground cables in the engine compartment.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.