RIP: BMW 6 Series

Admit it ⁠— when you think of the BMW 6 Series, it’s the long prow of the mid-80s 633 or 635 CSi nosing into your brain, not the oddly-shaped 2019 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. That sleek Reagan-era coupe can continue to roam throughout your mind for years to come, as it won’t have any competition.

For the 2020 model year, the last bearers of the 6 Series designation fade from the American landscape, joined in their vanishing act by an unloved 3 Series four-door with a liftback.

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Rare Rides: The Special 1988 Alpina B7S Turbo Coupe in Tartan Plaid

The glorious green Alpina coupe before your eyes nets three firsts for the Rare Rides series. It’s the first coupe coated in any shade of green paint, the first BMW, and indeed the first German vehicle in the series (I don’t count last week’s Rolls-Royce as German, though you might).

Time for some eye candy.

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The 2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo Is Less Unattractive Than the 5 Series Gran Turismo It's Kind of Replacing

It was rare enough that you may have only seen the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo in pictures. You’re all the better off if you weren’t forced to feast your eyes on the crime against automotive design that was the sixth-generation 5 Series’ hatchback.

With the new seventh-generation 5 Series, there is no Gran Turismo, at least not yet. But after suspending the coupe from the more expensive 6 Series range, BMW is once again expanding the 6 Series lineup with, that’s right, a Gran Turismo. Oddly, the 6 Series that’s least deserving of a GT tag now wears the badge, but fortunately this new BMW GT isn’t as offensive as the last.

Where is the 6 Series Gran Turismo positioned in the BMW hierarchy? Imagine, if you will, a buyer who wants more space than a regular BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (which is actually a sedan) but wants greater cargo flexibility than the BMW 7 Series affords; a buyer who doesn’t want a full-blown family friendly X5 “SAV” but requires a liftgate of some sort; a buyer who finds the X6 too tall. BMW now has a car for that buyer.

In America in the fall of 2017, that car will be the $68,895 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo, propelled by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.

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QOTD: With the 6 Series Coupe Dead, What Model Will BMW Kill Next?

A little piece of resurrected BMW history has again faded to black, leaving the automotive landscape missing yet another traditional two-door coupe. BMW confirmed to Road & Track the 6 Series coupe ended production in February, apparently unbeknownst to everyone, ending a model that harkened back to the glorious 633CSi and 635CSi of the 1980s.

Fear not, 6 Series fans — the four-door Gran Coupe and Convertible live on, though likely not for long. The boys from Bavaria are readying a potential successor to the 6 Series in the form of a new 8 Series lineup, the first of which could appear in late 2018. A grand tourer-style coupe and convertible positioned above the 7 Series (but below Rolls-Royce) is BMW’s plan to counter an ultra-luxury offensive from rival Mercedes-Benz.

BMW doesn’t want to spread its models too thin. Understandable. BMW isn’t a charity — if it was, there’d be a 440i coupe in my driveway with a trunk full of 18-year-old Glenfiddich for which I paid not a cent. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with the 6 Series Coupe, staying competitive and profitable sometimes means leading a doomed animal behind the barn. And these days the animal is never one with four doors or a voluminous cargo hold.

The tears fall like rain from motoring purists. Dread fills their hearts. More killing is on the way.

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2016 Models: What Vehicles Tanked, or Reached New Heights?

We already know what vehicles Americans love, and most of them are trucks. It’s expected that annual Ford F-Series sales will be astronomical, but will come in just shy of a million units. It’s as boring as it is patriotic and tells us nothing of the future; we already know the United States will keep buying trucks. An underdog tale is always much more interesting. So what are the less popular vehicles we’ve perpetually ignored that are suddenly beginning to worm their way into our hearts?

Bloomberg compiled sales data through this November to see which models posted the biggest swells in demand and which models have been cut the deepest by America’s changing tastes. While it is impossible to say with certainty which are a flash in the pan sensation, a genuine comeback or marketing blunder, the vehicles on this list are all pieces in the puzzle that shows us what the automotive industry should look like in the near future.

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The Original BMW "M3" - 1982 BMW 635CSi Observer Coupe

Mercedes-Benz has four convertibles now. As does Audi, with a fifth in a new R8 Spyder not far off. BMW has five ‘verts you can buy. And if you count the various configurations of Porsches from which you can choose, the German sportscar maker has nine — nine! — convertibles. (Heck, there are seven different versions of the 911 now with large sections of roof missing!)

But the story was quite different in 1982.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 BMW 633 CSi

The BMW E24 6-series is one of those cars with a vast, uncrossable gulf between the values assigned to it by Internet Car Experts and those assigned by Hardbitten Burned-By-Real-World-Purchases Car Experts. The Internet Car Expert has seen an ’87 635CSi in nice shape with an asking price of $25,000 on Craigslist, and therefore he knows that even a rough one is worth ten grand, minimum. The Hardbitten Burned-By-Real-World-Purchases Car Expert once paid $2,500 for a fairly solid E24, put $1,500 of parts into it, and sold it for $2,750. The junkyard doesn’t lie, and I see E24s in cheap self-service yards all the time, so often that I don’t photograph most of them. Today’s Junkyard Find, however, has just enough of that Late Malaise Era appeal, with its overtones of imminent Able-Archer 83-triggered nuclear annihilation (plus a manual transmission), that I decided to shoot it.

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Review: 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe (Video)

What do you get when you add two doors to a 6-Series coupé? Last year the answer was: a 7-Series. Of course that was last year, now BMW has an all-new answer: the Gran Coupe. Of course, calling your latest sexy sedan a “coupé” is nothing new ( Mercedes has done it since 2004), what is new is the process by which this “coupé” arrived. Normally manufacturers introduce a new sedan, then within a year they delete two doors, lop off some trunk, give it a sporty grille and launch it as a coupé and convertible. The 6-Series Gran Coupe (GC) on the other hand is what happens when you take a an expensive coupé and add doors. In BMW speak, this process created a four-door coupé. Confused yet? Allow me to explain: apparently all you have to do to create a coupé is remove the sashes from the windows. (This means that Subaru buyers have driven coupés all these years and didn’t know it.) Can the sexy 6-Series beat Mercedes at their own CLS game? Let’s find out.

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Geneva 2012: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Corners The "Looks Kind Of Like A 5…Maybe A 7…Sort Of" Market Segment

Despite looking very much like a sedan, BMW unveiled their 6 Series “Gran Coupe” at the Geneva Auto Show, as it engages in yet another asinine tit-for-tat response to competing product from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

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Capsule Review: 1987 BMW 635CSi

It seems unlikely that anyone in 2037 will be inclined to keep a 2012 BMW 650ci in such excellent condition as the 1987 635CSi pictured above -and even if such a thing happens, will said 650i make it that far into the future without a catastrophic electronics failure rendering it a two-ton paperweight? Although Jack and Steve have offered their own context on older cars, mine will be different. I’m still not yet legally able to rent a car on my own. This 635CSi was built before I was even born, so driving it gives me a glimpse into the past, but without the benefit (or handicap) of contemporaneous context.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird The hideaway headlamps on these and other Ford vehicles of the era could have issues mostly vacuum related. Usually the vacuum hoses that ran to the actuators would deteriorate. The “coffee can” reservoir which was mounted in the front header was rarely an issue because it was protected from the elements. The other coffee can reservoir used for the HVAC controls and actuators and mounted under the passenger side wheel well had a tendency to rot away. I once replaced one on my 70 Mustang when I noticed that the vents were acting janky. Later model Fords like Fox bodies used a durable plastic globe shaped one. The radio on these 69-70 full-size Fords mounted on the left side of aircraft style instrument cluster within the drivers touch probably disappointed many young people. “Mom will you change the station?” “Andy Williams is so square”.
  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.