By on January 26, 2016

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Who has two thumbs and loves the ’79 Eldorado? This guy. I’ve spent more time writing about it than I’ve spent writing about Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis … combined. What made the ’79 Eldorado great? Everything. It was styled with a crispness and strength of purpose never again seen on a Cadillac. It had a solid drivetrain as standard, although the optional engines and the later HT4100 tended to misbehave. The packaging was superb inside and out: trim yet spacious, small enough to be hassle-free in a parking lot but big enough to be recognizably Cadillac.

Most importantly, it was the last great coupe from a company that had a reputation for building brilliant luxury two-doors. (The CTS-V Coupe had pace but possessed neither space nor grace.) As a statement of personal wealth, taste, and maturity, no automobile truly satisfies like a full-sized luxury coo-pay. The man behind the wheel of an S-Class sedan or Cadillac XTS always risks being mistaken for a chauffeur, while the driver of a luxury SUV always risks being correctly identified as an imbecile. No, in order to convey the correct image to everyone from valets to unattached society ladies, it’s critical to drive a coupe.

Which leads me to this BMW 640i Convertible, rented by me this past weekend for the purpose of escaping Winter Catastrophe Jonas and relaxing in central Florida … but why am I talking about Eldorados in a review of what is intended to be a German sports coupe? And am I likely to quote Marcus Aurelius after the jump, seemingly to no purpose? You probably know the answer to both of these questions, dear reader.


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This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material? And what its causal nature [or form]? And what is it doing in the world? And how long does it subsist?

So sayeth Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-king of Rome. You probably know at least part of that quote from “The Silence Of The Lambs.” To be honest that’s where I heard it first. I didn’t get around to reading the “Meditations” until my late 20s.

Still, just because it’s in a movie doesn’t make it not true. So, what is the 640i, in itself? It’s a 4,255-pound convertible four-seater powered by BMW’s venerable, on-the-way-out, 3-liter single-turbo six. (This engine in a 4-series is badged a 435i, while the new B58 three-liter turbo in the 3-series is badged a 340i. Go figure.) You get 315 horsepower through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic to the rear wheels only. If you really feel the need to have an AWD convertible, however, xDrive is available. Base price is $87,400 without it.

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I’d like to take a moment to voice my nontrivial displeasure with the name of the thing. This car could be legitimately called 630CSi, which would pay tribute to that brilliant and gorgeous coupe brought here by BMW in 1977. It could also be called 635CSi, in line with the “335i” and “435i’ badging used elsewhere and previously. That, too, would be a nice touch. Instead, it’s just a 640i. Oh well.

Truly, it’s just as well that it’s not called a 630CSi. That old E24 Bimmer was an utterly stunning automobile, whether you encountered it in chrome-bumper Euro form or bespoiled M6 trim. Even the worst of all possible E24s, the impact-bumper, luxed-up L6, was a handsome and visually striking car. This one, by contrast, fades from my memory the minute I’m not looking at it. I understand that the company is trying to walk it back a bit from that ungainly Bangle 6-Series. Even I, Chris Bangle’s biggest fan, can’t bring myself to love that porky, round-shouldered Six. Still, a little visual drama wouldn’t go amiss. As it sits, this is an undifferentiated slab of a car that, once shorn of the Hofmeister kink that its coupe and sedan four-door coupe brethren have, looks like nothing so much as a fourth-gen LS1 Firebird Formula droptop.

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The interior is pleasant and laid out reasonably well, but a base Audi S5 does a better job of communicating an upscale ambiance. There’s a lot of plastic in here and much of it is rock-hard.

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Yet it’s the interior where this car truly begins to reveal its purpose and intent. “What is its substance and material?” asks Aurelius, and the answer is found once you open the 640i’s door and start experiencing its myriad of genuinely admirable features. The seats: handsome and comfortable, with heating elements that reach all the way up the driver’s back. The climate control offers the driver and passenger individual choices of air direction as well as temperature. This is a marriage-saving feature, assuming you’re married to a woman who is always cold but who also can’t stand hot air blowing in her face. This describes every woman I have ever met.

As is almost always the case with Bimmers, even in this degraded present day, the relative positioning of the seat, steering wheel, shift lever, and associated controls is more or less beyond reproach. If you cannot get comfortable in this car, the problem is most likely yours. I have nothing kind to say about the entirely electronic console shifter, which adds buttons and complexity where none is required, but few of BMW’s competitors are any better in this regard now.

Truthfully, the company’s electronic shifter was at its most honest and admirable when it was a little column stalk on the E65 Siebener lo these fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, the company’s marketing department has polluted that original idea’s purity because the average moron in the street cannot be content until he can ride around with his hand on the shifter for no purpose, like an awkward four-year-old holding his wee-wee in public because he’s frightened. So now there’s a console shifter for you to hold between shifts. But if you do that, you’re doing it wrong. Real racing drivers don’t touch the shifter unless they’re shifting. To do it any other way is to be a douchebag. STAHHHHP IT.

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The dashboard is a uniquely convincing video screen that imitates conventional BMW instrumentation. At night, it changes to a faux-orange-lit scheme, echoing what the driver of a 1984 325e might have seen.

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A remarkable amount of thought has been put into the presentation of the fake gauges, right down to the fact that the nearest number to the indicator “needle” swells a bit. It’s usable and readable in all lighting conditions. Good, also, is the center-stack multi-purpose display. BMW’s five-year headstart over its competitors with iDrive is fairly obvious from the ease with which one can navigate through the various features of the navigation and stereo system.

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The convertible top operates quickly and without fuss. There’s a nice additional feature in the form of a rear window that can be raised and lowered with a button on the driver’s door. When the top is up, lowering this window allows a bit of engine noise and wind to enter the cabin; when the top is down, raising the window acts as a windstop, permitting this car to be driven top-down in 40-degree weather without turbulence or excessive cockpit heat loss.

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How’s it drive? Well, your humble author has some experience with the mega-powered versions of this car, having been unimpressed with the M6 Comp Pack at the Motown Mile but charmed by a six-speed manual M6 Gran Coupe at Nelson Ledges. This ain’t either of those. Thrown into sport mode, the combination of the turbo six and the automatic is alert, briefly “brapping” between shifts like a DSG-equipped Volkswagen GTI, but it’s not particularly rapid. My impression was that it was no faster than my Accord coupe, an impression reinforced by C/D‘s instrumented testing which gives the Honda a 0.3-second edge in the quarter-mile.

The same impression, that of general competence without excitement, applies to this convertible’s handling. Cowl shake simply doesn’t happen, at least not on Florida roads, and the 640i can grip to well past twice the posted speed limit around any offramp you happen to encounter, but there’s not much joy in the proceedings. Steering feel is muted, to put it mildly. The ride, on the other hand, is simply outstanding. Admittedly, I might have been biased by the fact that my other vehicle for the weekend was an Indian Roadmaster touring motorcycle, a 100-mph paint-shaker for two that can outrun the 640i but not come close to outhandling it, but I was rather amazed by the BMW’s ability to smother bumps.

Let’s consider the last two questions given to us by Marcus Aurelius. “What is it doing in the world?” Well, it’s not doing sports-car things. If you charge nearly ninety thousand bucks for something that can’t outrun an Accord, it’s not a sports car. Sorry. No, I’m afraid this is a luxury car. This is a good thing, mind you. BMW used to make a habit out of charging luxury-car prices for vehicles that didn’t function well as either sporting or luxury cars. The Bangle Sixer was an example of that: it rode like a dogsled, accelerated like a sick dog, and looked like a dog’s ass. This 640i, by contrast, is pleasant and composed. It’s a brilliant Florida car, offering a smooth ride and thoughtful features galore.

That’s the kind of thing that Cadillac did so well with the Eldorado. There’s something bizarre about the fact that the current Cadillac ATS-V is a sort of E46 M3 imitator while this big convertible channels the best of the droptop American luxury cars. Everything an Eldorado could do, this BMW does as well or better. Even the market positioning is the same; BMW in 2016 is much like Cadillac was in 1979, setting sales records while at the same time disappointing many of its traditional customers.

So this is a BMW Eldorado. I’m glad. If Cadillac doesn’t have the guts to build one, I’ll take one from Bavaria. There’s just one little thing, and that is the final question of Aurelius: And how long does it subsist?

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Just ninety miles into my weekend, the driver’s side seatbelt system, a rather complicated affair that “pre-tensions” at the beginning of every drive, gave up and vomited its belt onto the floor. I didn’t do anything unusual to it; the motor that pulls it tight just died. I ended up feeding as much of the belt as I could back into the seat and hoping that I didn’t crash into anything. While I understand the rationale behind a motorized belt system located in the seat — it allows you to fold the seat forward and allow passengers into the (somewhat cramped) rear seats free of interference from a B-pillar-mounted belt — there are times I think that technical adventurism can be taken too far, even in service of an admirable idea.

The ’79 Eldorados, too, were creatures of the moment. Most of them were pretty well worn-out before they reached their 10th birthday. That’s part and parcel of being a mass-market luxury car. They’re great to own when they’re new and under warranty. So too will this 640i be. I wouldn’t look for them on the lawn of your local BMW Club show two decades from now. It’s an indulgence, a smooth-riding speedboat for good weather and good times. Marcus Aurelius would not agree with it; he famously wrote that “He who pursues pleasure as good, and avoids pain as evil, is guilty of impiety.” This two-thumbed Eldorado fan, on the other hand, can dig it.

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85 Comments on “2015 BMW 640i Convertible Rental Review...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Honestly, the 6-Series has always been one of my favorite cars—especially in cabriolet guise—although I’d go for the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the 650i version. I find it to be a very comfortable car for four people, and I’ve always liked big coupes. The earliest versions of the current F12/F13 version are in the mid-high $40K range at this point, which is great. Part of what I like about the 6-Series cabriolet *is* that it flies under the radar of most people. And don’t even mention the M6.

    As far as the column-mounted gear selector, that’s one of those things that—like it or not—is for cars that are less sporty than what the 6-Series tries to be. BMW still uses the column-mounted gear selector on the Rolls-Royce models. So does Mercedes-Benz, in most of its cars.

    Speaking of column-mounted gear selectors, I happen to have a 2016 Escalade ESV rental at the moment. Should I do a review?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wait, BMW still makes a 6-series convertible?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m glad they do, and the 6 is one of the only appealing things they make IMO, visually. The other thing is the bigger-than-should-be 4 Series coupe.

      Every time I see a 6 (I prefer the coupe, in white, with red leather) I think “Wow, that looks powerful, and expensive.”

      It really is like an old Cadillac!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Now THOSE are gauges!

    I don’t think it’s a matter of Caddy not having the guts; they’re just redirecting resources elsewhere.

    I’d argue it takes guts to build a legitimate M3/M4-fighter, but it doesn’t matter how good that fighter looks on paper if it doesn’t deliver the goods and cache, or nail the little details.

    I will say, the XTS wouldn’t make a bad convertible (2 or 4-door)…though its cab-forward design, tiny decklid, and rear overhang is a little problematic.

    Pic here:

    http://carzz.co/2013-cadillac-xts-convertible-the-need-for-speed-carzz_120438.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I don’t know if you’re referring to the presence of full LCD instrument cluster, or BMW’s creative implementation of one.

      If it’s the former, note that a Cadillac in this price range would also have the brand’s full LCD instrument cluster, as opposed to the bane of DeadWeight’s existence, the cheap-looking cluster in the ATS and SRX, and lower-spec versions of the CTS and XTS. The Escalade has the LCD instrument cluster as standard. I also have to assume that the CT6 would as well.

      There’s also the mid-line instrument cluster, which seems to be a large full-height screen in the center of the cluster, flanked by two large analog gauges. I’ve seen that one in the Yukon Denali, 2016 Camaro, Buick Envision and higher trims of the 2014-present Regal. It mirrors similar offerings from FoMoCo and FCA.

      EDIT: Never mind, I see you’re talking about Cadillac not building a large touring coupe. On one hand, you could argue that something with the Elmiraj’s styling and presence would be a great halo for the brand. On the other hand, you might say that Cadillac should focus on building cars people will actually buy. The brand seems to have done the latter. I don’t know how I feel about the CT6, but the XT5 will probably gain new customers, since it seems to be quite a bit better than the Lincoln MKS and at least on-par with the Lexus RX.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think it’s a matter of Cadillac having actually built Eldorados that didn’t sell, and not wanting to do that again. The “personal luxury coupe” thing is pretty much dead now…that’s a shame, but that’s the way it is.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        And now they build CTSs, ATSs, and ELRs that don’t sell.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, no, the ATS and CTS do sell, just not in the numbers they’d like – certainly better than the Eldorado did from the mid-’90s on.

          I have a feeling that has as much to do with the current market as anything – luxury sedans, particularly the large and mid-sized ones, are pretty much down in sales across the board. CUVs are where it’s at right now.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “certainly better than the Eldorado did from the mid-’90s on.”

            Not by as much as you might think. The Eldorado from ’92-’97 sold about 23k annually, about 14K from ’98-’00, and cratered down to around 5k for the final two years.

            The ATS sold 27K in 2015 and the CTS was just under 20K. Keep in mind that 2015 was a good year, and that the final Eldorado was basically just a Seville coupe so GM likely invested a lot more in the ATS and CTS.

            I’m not holding the final Eldorado as a grand beacon of greatness, but Cadillac’s current cars are failing in the marketplace.

  • avatar
    ajla

    LicolnMustangLincolnMustangLincolnMustang.

    Also Jack, Toronado > Eldorado

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I prefer the Riviera, myself.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I KNEW THIS STATEMENT WAS COMING!

        For the 79 generation, since the Riv and the Toronado looked exactly the same, I think I’d have to go with Eldorado. I like the upright tail lamps, and it’s neater looking than the horizontals on the other two.

        On the followup models, I switch back and prefer the Toronado (the long one from 90-92) and then the Riviera. The Riv is infinitely more find-able in that generation today.

        Did you know they did an Eldo Touring of this 79 generation? Cause they did.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf0o-Rj0wmQ

        It looked utterly ridiculous and had white letter tires.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Nope, I had no idea they did an Eldorado Touring. That thing is seriously awesome-looking.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t have audio at work, but I think it was something like ~$1200 at the time to add on as a package (to make it more uncomfortable and “sporty”) so I assume the take rate was extremely low. I also believe this was their first Touring package on anything.

            Would be extra-super rare to find one today.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I missed out on a first-gen ETC a couple of years ago.

            Eldorado > Toro > Riv.

            The waterfall front end of the Riv only really works as the droptop IMO. And the blanked-off front end of the Toro can’t hold a candle to the eggcrate ’79 Eldo grille.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Very much agree on that gen Riv in drop top format. The whole nautical wave the thing had works well that way.

            Toro blocked off grille is awkward like the front of the Griswold Wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It makes too much sense for Ford to do that. Why would they want another place to throw the 3.5TT or the 5.0L V8?

  • avatar
    JMII

    I knew BMWs were pricey but this is crazy money for what appears to be an oversized Volvo C70 with a bigger engine.

    “So now there’s a console shifter for you to hold between shift. But if you do that, you’re doing it wrong. Real racing drivers don’t touch the shifter unless they’re shifting.”
    Thanks for bringing this up. My first track instructor threaten that if I kept putting my hand on the 6 speed for no reason he would start holding my hand. Then he mentioned he was from Key West and gave me a wink (I think he was joking but it got the point across). So I kept my hand where it belonged… on the wheel.

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Kyree,
    We shall remain TTAC pals, but I for one don’t get the 6-Series, and after my last exposure to a 5-Series sedan loan car, I’m not impressed with those, either.

    I don’t feel I give anything up by staying with the 4-Series coupes. I like the size and the feel. It’s like clothes that feel right for me. I don’t need a couple extra inches width for the seat cushion(not that you do, either, Kyree). And if I wanted the Eldorado experience, I’d hunt for a nice ’67-’69 version of the real thing. And shifter? No knobs, please. Give me a lever in the console, whether autobox or manual, and I’m good to go.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, another reason I like the 6-Series is that I like cloth-top cabriolets more than hard-top ones…although I hear the next 4-Series convertible may use a cloth top once more.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I have it on inside information that Johann de Nysschen has absolutely demanded that Cadillac be allotted 1.4 billion USD from central command at GM in order to specifically & precisely target this 640i for a Cadillac build. This is part and parcel of JdN’s “Match BMW Move-For-Move 2020 Vision Plan.”

    They now have a plan in place to have the bodies styled by Pininfarina S.p.A. in Italy, the body & chassis built in Rüsselsheim, and the motor & transmission built in Modena, with final assembly taking place in Hamtramck with the bodies arriving via specialized air transport and then specialty truck carrier.

    Cadillac will build and sell/give away precisely 87 of these sloppily assembled, horrifically unreliable vehicles per month, at a net loss of $42,770 per vehicle, before ending the production cycle within 33 months.

    It is code named the Cadillac Uwewante.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I have some fond memories of Eldorados of a certain vintage, like my dad’s ’80. It was ordered custom, black on tan, with no vinyl roof, hand painted tan pinstripes and alloys. Imposing, dapper, and elegant – qualities this 6-series lacks.

    But to be charitable, it was less than perfect from a quality standpoint, so maybe it has more in common with this BMW than the folks in Munich would like you to believe. Seatbelts should not fail on any car, ever, much less one this expensive.

    Dad chucked the Eldo in less than a year later on a BMW 730i sedan. If he’d been able to fit comfortably in the 6 couple that’s the one I think he’d have bought. And, man, did I lust after that coupe.

  • avatar

    The thing that bothers me is watching “the homies” around here buying BMW 6 and M6 for 60% their original price and then later watching those cars sit in their yards waiting for repossession after a single part of the car fails.

    “The tune up’s gonna cost $10,000”

    “my seat sensor malfunctioned and the car wouldn’t start”

    I hear it all.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Payday usury and the like aside, bad fiscal policy creates bad behavior.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’d consider a lightly-owned 6-Series. But I could also afford to maintain it and to fix it if it broke…although I’d probably just get a really good warranty.

      Thing is, I’ve seen a disproportionate number of early (2013) current-gen M6 examples in all three body-styles as lemon/manufacturer-buyback titles. So maybe that’s one to avoid, for the time being…

      As far as people who buy cars on which they can’t afford the upkeep, I see that a lot. Yes, you were able to acquire that really nice Bimmer or Benz coupe for the same price you’d have paid for a new Challenger SRT. That doesn’t mean the cost-of-ownership will be the same.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      $90k price for an underpowered convertible coupe? That is kinda staggering, and reflective of how many Bimmers are leased – no wonder they depreciate like a rock across the board.

      24-36 months after a new BMW model, one has thousands of examples to choose from – all driven like a Hertz rental. What could possibly go wrong?

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Heh – the old man had a ’77 Fleetwood (it was YELLOW) that had motorized seat belts. And if the belt wasn’t pulled in all the way, the motor would run and run until the battery was drained. Nice. So one learned to stuff the belt all the way in when getting out of the car.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The 1979 Eldorado was what you drove if you were the inspiration for Goodfellas.

    This BMW on the other hand, caters to a very select crowd, mostly Chinese and Middle Eastern. I think just about every 6-Series I’ve ever seen was driven by one of the two even in the US.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Jack Baruth- often imitated but never equaled. Nice piece.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      This was a particularly good one. Useful information about the car itself, and finely punctuated with commentary on console shift levers (my kid’s 3, that line cracked me up) and seatbelt motors vomiting the belt. Good editing work placing the seatbelt picture adjacent to the description, it was an effective one-two punch.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    The 640i just reminds me of a boat. Infact a boat would have less mechanical issues over this 640i Convertible. I’ve known a few people to buy these cars brand new. Everyone of them were sold within the first two years. The just got tired of dropping it off at the BMW dealer for issues.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Jack, How can you appreciate the short lived joy of this car (admittedly in a rental agreement form) but feel the way you do about shoes and watches? To me, anyone who buys this is just advertising that he not only can, but does throw money away just so others can watch the trajectory. Things like that seatbelt keep me test driving L brand cars.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Is that in Orlando? Thanks for the heads up. I would’ve enjoyed a Kart challenge :-P We’ve got one good outdoor track and two indoor electric tracks.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I don’t get this car because the interior isn’t good enough.

    This car has one point, and only one: impress people with how much money you have. And the interior isn’t that impressive. The seats may be comfortable and the control relationships correct. But the leather dash looks like plastic, the parts not covered by leather look like cheap hard plastic, and the leather upholstery looks like what you’d find in a Hyundai.

    BMW is just not keeping up with either Mercedes-Benz or Audi in terms of interior materials or styling. That may not hurt the 3 (“California Civic”) too badly, but it’s going to take its toll on the more expensive stuff. And that’s before you get into the very bad reliability record that the various derivatives of this platform have been accumulating of late. Right now, I wouldn’t recommend any BMW more expensive than a lease-special 328i.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Jack, would you rather have a 500SL convertible or this and enough change left over to buy a used CJ? All three should result in PDI’s; where the panties are bought will vary widely.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Like, an R129 500SL or the current SL550?

      The answer to that has to be, uh, the last of the last-gen SL63s, with the boomerang-headlamp front ends, a Kawasaki ZX-14R, and a used Vacheron Constantin Overseas.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    BMW interiors really are a drab affair, no sense of luxury at all. Best part of $100K for this, that’s utterly absurd.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Am I the only person so see a little Toyota Solara DNA in the third photo? The crease that runs from the front fender to the tail lights looks awfully familiar…

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    I don’t know how the seat design has progressed in, say, the last 25 years, but I know that back then nobody who planned to be saved by the seat belt would attach it to the seat only. Something about being thrown out the car together with your seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Au contraire. How often do you actually *see* the seat detach from a car?

      Seats are bolted directly to the chassis, and it would take a severe chassis failure (probably rust-related) for the seat to detach in a collision. Also, the receiver for the seatbelt is sometimes bolted directly to the seat…so you’d have the same issue.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Also, from preliminary thought experiment, it is questionable if being sandwiched between seatbelt and tumbling 100+ lb projectile in collision is in anyway ‘better.’

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I can’t believe how slow this is, that’s a bit disappointing. I always assume a sporty BMW will be much faster than an Accord Coupe. Especially for THAT money.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If you’re rich enough to buy a 640i and you care about speed beyond just “fast enough to dispatch the plebes in their CR-Vs,” you’re probably also rich enough to buy a 650i.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Let’s be real – an Accord coupe with the v6 is a pretty darned fast car by any rational measure. This car will dispatch the average 4cyl automatic biegemobile with athor-i-tay. And if it is too slow for you, Mr. Footoflead, BMW will cheerfully sell you a couple of MUCH faster versions for not much more money.

      Or two M235is for the same price, which have more hp and almost 1000lbs less weight, but about the same interior room. Yeah, not a fan of the 6 in any way. Still more my style than a Kmart luxury ’79 Eldorado pimpmobile. Jack is really odd sometimes.

  • avatar
    BobbieBeeBooker

    hey there guys,
    as far as i have read ttac for the past 2 years, there are no other iranian commentators here . So to enlighten you, these bmws (Along with other german cars) are EXPENSIVE here. You can guess how new moneyed are those who buy them. Price? 15 billion rials. In dollars? Around 500,000$. Yes FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.

  • avatar
    Nick

    ‘while the driver of a luxury SUV always risks being correctly identified as an imbecile’

    Another shining example of why I love to read Baruth’s work.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” like an awkward four-year-old holding his wee-wee in public because he’s frightened. ”

    Made me laugh out loud as here in La La Land the same thing can be said of baggy pants 24 year olds….

    Of course they tend to carry guns and get *really* pissed off when I point this out to them .

    Seriously ~ if you walk down the street hunched over holding your dick , _NO_ONE_ is going to think you’re any sort of Man .

    Anyway , when do we get to read about the Indian and see some photos ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “like an awkward four-year-old holding his wee-wee in public because he’s frightened”

    C/D may have instrumented tests, but they don’t have writing like this. If Mr. Baruth was as ballsy as his writing, he wouldn’t fit in any thing *but* a luxury SUV.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, the regulah 640i with four doors weighs 4300 lbs. Assuming that a bit o’structural fettling to prevent door sag during the lease period has been added to the convertible, and a fiendishly complicated power top has been designed for the feckless owner, this is one fat Porky Pig. No doubt an Accord Coupe would slay it, what with a good half-ton less avoirdupois.

    It’s the same with the 650i xDrive. This year BMW slaved away adding lightness in the form of magnesium, carbon fiber, and aluminum to get that pregnant sow down from the 4950 lbs of road-hugging weight it used to weigh.

    And they succeeded!

    It now weighs 4883 lbs and handles like a slot track racer. Plus, as CR says, one other benefit is that the BMW V8 is 27 times more likely to drink oil than an average car.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/06/excessive-oil-consumption/index.htm

    The twin turbo V8 with turbos snuggled in the Vee apparently is even more likely to chug some synthetic for a quick morning gargle.

    I suppose as I grew older, hadn’t discovered a scam to get rich, and wondered if there was really any point in owning a tugboat on wheels, things like these top level German road-pounders hold little in the way of interest for me.

    The review is much more entertaining than the car!

  • avatar
    stuki

    The 6 ‘vert would be fine, if they could just stop raking the windshield back to the point you’re sitting under it unless you have ape arms. Every worth vile convertible, ever, has had a windshield rake more like a powerboat than a Bonneville streamliner.

  • avatar
    skor

    There’s this:

    “The man behind the wheel of an S-Class sedan or Cadillac XTS always risks being mistaken for a chauffeur, while the driver of a luxury SUV always risks being correctly identified as an imbecile.”

    And this:

    ” Truthfully, the company’s electronic shifter was at its most honest and admirable when it was a little column stalk on the E65 Siebener lo these fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, the company’s marketing department has polluted that original idea’s purity because the average moron in the street cannot be content until he can ride around with his hand on the shifter for no purpose, like an awkward four-year-old holding his wee-wee in public because he’s frightened. ”

    Jack, Jack, Jack….some days I hate you, other days I love you. Today I love you.

  • avatar
    BobbieBeeBooker

    @darkwing

    cant agree more. ~$300 billion dollars of oil money, achieved at the time of “the handsome president” has been lost without a trace. Booshehr nuclear reactor’s total estimate cost from the beginning of “the divine” revolution up to now? ~$100 billion. support of the chaos in the region and the world? check. taking diplomats hostage? check. bombing US marine barracks? check. attacking British and Saudi Arabian embassy? check. roadside bombing? check. underage execution? check. long range missile test right after the agreement with 5+1? check. still being able to get away with it – with all that said and done – and sign the deal with them and a get a good belly laugh? check.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Jack – serious question: This, or an S5 cabrio?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Too close to call, since all the S5 cabs came with the blown six.

      Now, an S5 V8 cabrio six-speed… wins going away.

      • 0 avatar
        ZCD2.7T

        Right – I remember that you have no love for the 3.0T motor, at least in comparison with the 4.2 V-8….

        “Too close to call” is similar to the way I see it too, which is all the more remarkable considering the $30K price difference…

        Looks: no comparison – S5 wins going away, regardless of motor.
        Handling: S5
        Acceleration: S5
        Sound: (it’s a convertible, so this matters!): S5
        Fuel economy: S5
        Toys/Amenities: 6-er has the advantage

  • avatar
    hurricanehole

    Ok, BoobieBB, with a sense of humor like that you’re on the right car site or maybe you should have been on the retired Jon Stewart show. Great writing Jack, thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      BobbieBeeBooker

      @hurricanehole

      boobie? really? Such a nice welcome. great, thanx.

      btw, there was no humor there. facts yes. for us in Iran (u dont get to choose were u r born, right?), the mentioned points r factors that affect our lives directly. If you had to pay $10,000 for a still-assembled-here 1986 ford festiva aka mazda 121 aka kia pride, then you too could have kept your pride hardly.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Ironic in that I was just down near Marco Island last week and on the way back to the airport in Fort Myers I happened to pass a 6 series convertible with the tell-tale barcode sticker on the window. Had to wonder out loud how much that little rental cost compared to my lowly Fusion…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Can we just stop with the whining about BMW model names already? The 633i was not 3.3l, and neither was the 635i 3.5l. A 745i was not 4.5l. So it is nothing new. Then as now, a bigger number means more power, and that is all, other than by coincidence.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    “… because the average moron in the street cannot be content until he can ride around with his hand on the shifter for no purpose, like an awkward four-year-old holding his wee-wee in public because he’s frightened.”

    While his left wrist is flopped at the top of the wheel and his body is in the Gangsta-Lean like it’s 1973.

  • avatar
    rjg

    The convertible and coupe version of the 6 don’t do much for me, but I want the 4 door version (GC) badly and am almost prepared to make bad financial decisions to get one. Once they hit 35k or so, I’ll get one.

    I think it is probably one of the best looking sedans (top 5) ever made. I agree that some of the switch gear BMW uses isn’t as solid as Audi’s, but overall I think the 6 interior is beautiful and very well done. Looks like what Maserati should’ve done with the Ghibli. I’ve sat in a few and don’t see much if any hard plastic other than the little compartment on the drivers side. The outgoing S4/5 interiors have that atrocious plastic aluminum trim around the instrument panel that you can bend with 1 finger. Audi slips a surprising amount of hard plastic into their interiors too.

    I’d gladly take the 640 version over the 650 too (BMW kind of sucks at making reliable V8s). I’m comfortable enough with my penis to accept that an Accord or Camry could beat me.

    As far as the shifter, I have no issues with it. It’s easy to use after spending a few minutes with it and BMW gets the manual mode right too (push up to down shift). Column mounted shifters just get in the way. For true gear lever idiocy look no further than Audi in the A4/5 and 6/7. Although they use the same ZF8, they use an old school, clunky, space-wasting traditional gear lever. Plus they manage to get the manual shift mode backwards as an added bonus!

    Also the 640 uses a slightly tuned version (315 vs 300 hp) of the same N55 in the 435 hence the bigger number. It’s probably too far along in its model cycle to get upgraded to the B58. As someone else mentioned above, BMW has long used model numbers that indicate a larger displacement when turbos were used (e23 745 for example). Now that all of their cars are turbo, they’re continuing that practice across the line.

  • avatar
    kollapop

    Good day gentlemen, I thought I’d try and weigh in with a couple thoughts about the Big Bimmer.

    I currently run a 2013 F13 640d coupe (I’m from the UK so it’s by far the most popular choice here) having come from a long history of Mercedes coupe patronage. I must say that while many of the points made are valid as an ownership proposition it has been surprisingly error free; I’ve racked up just over 70k miles and other than the usual servicing obligations the car has been flawless. I will qualify that my car had one previous owner (BMW themselves in fact) so was very well specced and evidently had a more than pampered service history. At the current exchange rate this car would have easily retailed at over $100k but depreciation is a wonderful thing and I picked it up for under $36k!

    To my surprise, I also receive many compliments about its look although I will say that personally I’m somewhat ambivalent toward its aesthetic both within and without; one the one had it’s certainly better looking than the previous 6-series but I still feel it lacks a certain ‘gravitas’. That being said, the N57D is a surprisingly characterful engine and frugal with it too; I average around 42mpg (imperial, not sure what the equivalent US figure would be) and can easily get 450 miles out of a full tank when not driving in a ‘spirited’ fashion! I also took the liberty to have the engine remapped and the performance is suitably rapid. As diesel cars are all about toque, the lower reaches of the rev range is rather muscular…

    Would I buy another one? Probably not. Do I think it’s a bad car? Not at all – I just don’t really ‘love’ it!


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