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    In praise of #Kia / #BMW

    I thought I would share a couple of anecdotes with you which may be of interest after your help on my 5 Series Touring suspension issue a few months back. Just so you know, no issues since then.

    My family has now expanded to three kids so we need to change my wife’s VW Jetta for something more practical – a seven-seater. Given I already run a 5 Series Touring we focused on the budget options and as we know some friends who have a Kia Carens and have been impressed with it we went to have a look and test drive one.

    Despite being the budget option the cabin didn’t feel downmarket and was pretty well equipped. We arranged the appointment with the Kia dealer and he had the car waiting outside the front ready for us to take a test drive and within five minutes of arrival he had handed us the keys and we were off on an unaccompanied test drive. Although it was a little on the sluggish side the practicality of it, the price, its equipment and the big plus of a seven- year warranty on a one-year-old car (Kia offers a full seven-year warranty on its approved cars) it looked like a very attractive proposition.


    I ummed and ahhed about it and reviewed my BMW Car magazines and thought it worth checking out the BMW equivalent – the #BMW-2-Series-Gran-Tourer . I made a call to my local dealer to have a look at one and arrange a test drive. When I arrived the sales assistant wasn’t in the dealership at the agreed time so we had to wait 15 minutes for him to return. When he did arrive he had no idea where said car was (despite ringing him that morning) and when he did locate the car it turned out to be right at the back of the lot blocked in by another vehicle. We had a good look over the car and although it has a quality feel it is just flawed.

    The middle seat is very narrow and not a proper seat. It means that with a big car seat for the baby it would be very uncomfortable for my teenage son to sit in the middle seat. The only way forward would be for him to use one of the two rear seats which would mean losing a boot!

    So, again very disappointed by my experience with BMW and really, whilst BMW sales seem to be very strong, it needs to up its game. Is it this poor everywhere?

    So we will now shortly be the (proud?!) owners of a Kia but safe in the knowledge that we have seven years worry-free motoring versus what would have been two years with a one-year-old BMW that didn’t actually seem big enough for our needs.

    In addition, now my wife has a practical sevenseater I am scouring the market for something a little more interesting to replace my 5 Series Touring – a #BMW-640d GC looks particularly attractive. If I do buy a 640d what do you reckon to a remap? How much do they cost? Do they work? Do you have to tell your insurance company? Are there any horror stories with remaps causing other issues? What’s the effect on economy?
    • Thanks for getting in touch Jon, and sorry to hear you were disappointed with the #BMW-2-Series-Gran-Tourer and the dealership experience. Having loThanks for getting in touch Jon, and sorry to hear you were disappointed with the #BMW-2-Series-Gran-Tourer and the dealership experience. Having looked at the vehicle’s exterior dimensions it does seem odd that the Kia seems to have better accommodation as the #Kia is only five millimetres wider than the 2 Series. Clearly making three separate seats in the rear compartment suits your needs better. One does wonder how much longer the European manufacturers can stick with their shorter warranties these days when the likes of Kia and Hyundai now offer seven- and five-year warranties respectively.

      With regards to the #BMW-640d – it’s a cracking machine and we doubt you would feel disappointed with that #BMW offering. Remaps can unleash significantly more power – DMS reckon to extract around 390hp (77 more than standard) and around another 100lb ft of torque – pretty sizeable gains.

      Costs obviously range from company to company and we would recommend speaking to a few different companies to see who you are confident in using. We’ve certainly never heard of a problem with a DMS remap, and having driven a few over the years we reckon they’re pretty good. Economy can actually improve but we’d reckon on checking with your insurance company before you have the work done to be on the safe side.
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    Cheap Sixes / #BMW-F12 / #BMW / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-F12 / #BMW-640d-Sport / #BMW-640d-Sport-F12 / #BMW-640d-F12 / #BMW-640d /

    I had to do a double take when I saw how cheap (well, inexpensive!) the current BMW F12 6 Series has become as a used car. Based on the F10 5 Series and thus an excellent machine, the F12 seems to depreciate more than the Five and I can’t understand why. After all, they’re a stunning looking machine and somewhat prettier than the previous model – another car that never really took off.

    As I type this, the cheapest example for sale within the BMW dealer network (why buy anywhere else?) is an unmarked 76,000-mile 640d Sport in Imola red from Sytner Sheffield. The price for this #2011 car is £23,000. Mileage a bit salty? Okay, how about a 22,000-mile 640i SE with the lovely petrol straight-six turbocharged unit?

    Yours for a grand more than Sytner’s 640d and finished in Orion silver (not dissimilar from the old Bronzit E24 colour) with glorious Cinnamon leather. For sale at Dick Lovett in Hungerford, it’s absolutely stacked with options (glass sunroof, sports seats, park assist, adaptive xenons, stitched leather dash, DAB radio, HUD, reverse camera, 19-inch alloys) which makes me think this was either an ex- #BMW-UK car or a wealthy ‘tick every box’ purchase. And it could be yours for a derisory £23,995.

    The colour’s nice and subtle and being a bit of an SE man myself it just strikes me as being the perfect car to keep in the garage so you can just take off somewhere at the drop of a hat. Okay, in terms of what it does it’s often hard to justify a 6 Series as a new car – the same size as a Five but with less room and dynamically outpointed by a 430d – but there’s an inner sybarite in all of us. What a staggering thing for the price of a base 118d!
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    Behind the Wheel The face-lifted #BMW-640d Cabrio / #BMW-F12 640d M Sport Convertible / #BMW-640d-F12 M Sport Convertible / #BMW-640d-M-Sport-Convertible / #BMW-640d-M-Sport-Convertible-F12 / #BMW-640d-Convertible

    There may not be a wealth of changes when it comes to the new face-lifted 6 Series, but a series of smaller improvements certainly seem to have done the trick... A Little on Top. Words: Simon Holmes. Photos: BMW.

    It’s a beautiful, sunny morning and there’s blue sky for as far as the eye can see. The birds are singing and the roads are free from slow moving traffic. It’s going to be a good day. But then it was always going to be, because today is the day I get behind the wheel of the new face-lifted 640d Convertible. Driving any Six tends to be a joyous occasion but what, if anything, should I expect from the new and improved LCI version? As we’ve touched on before, BMW’s Life Cycle Impulse for the 6 Series hasn’t exactly been graced with what you might describe as substantial changes. In fact, on the outside there’s very little to distinguish it from a pre-LCI car to the untrained eye. It seems a shame really, especially as the face-lifted 1 Series received much bigger changes.

    Perhaps that could be seen as a compliment to the car’s original design, as the LCI receives little more than a couple of smaller trim changes. It starts off with kidney grilles that now feature nine vertical bars each side, rather than the previous 10. Finished in black for the six-cylinder models, they also feature a slightly sharper looking slant design, and are joined by re-sculptured front and rear bumpers. The latter incorporates larger cut-outs to house the 10mm wider tailpipe trims fitted to six-cylinder cars.

    Elsewhere, the side repeaters now reside in the wing mirrors, but the main difference otherwise is the addition of LED headlights as standard across the entire range. To make the most of the subtle changes there are also new alloy wheel designs and five new metallic paint finishes.

    Inside, the differences are still small, but more easily distinguishable. For a start, the stitched leather trim now extends up the dashboard, which was previously an option, or standard only on M Sport models. To further add to the luxurious feel, there’s also a high-gloss, piano black finish to the centre console surround. Other even smaller changes include LED lighting for the footwells, glovebox and door openings but the big change is the instrument clusters. These have now changed to become a fully digital display with realistic graphics in place for both the dials and needles. To add to the improved technology, more ConnectedDrive services are also included as standard for all models.

    Mechanically, the range is virtually unchanged and the 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel still produces 313hp and 465lb ft of torque, which equates to hearty performance, even when laden with the Convertible’s extra weight. The 62mph from rest sprint is covered in 5.5 seconds and it tops out at 155mph. Everyone will be pleased to know the excellent eight-speed auto’ also remains, which means fuel economy and emissions figures are kept to a respectable 55.3mpg and 144g/km.

    With that out of the way, it’s time to gauge what the differences are first hand and the first thing that has to be said is that the car’s exterior changes are just as small and subtle as they sound on paper. It does have a slightly sharper look about it though, and the LED lights do make it seem a touch more modern. It’s a similar story on the inside, in that it’s all as you remember a 6 Series to be, except a little classier and a little nicer. The extended leather and black trim do lift the fit and feel of the interior whilst the huge 10.2-inch screen dominates the dashboard and overall it all gives an unrivalled sense of luxury. Once the ignition is on, the electronic dials come to life and they look pretty nifty. They seem easy to read and can also change background colour to suit which mode the car is in, such as Comfort or Sport.

    Out on the road, the powerful 640d has, thankfully, changed even less than the outside changes, and so far it seems mightily impressive. There’s now a notably throaty engine note as the revs rise and although most of it is synthetic, it still sounds pleasing to the ear. The engine happily makes its way to the 5000rpm limit without fuss and comes on song as low down as 2000rpm. The biggest kick is delivered around the 3000rpm mark and that’s where things really start happening as the car lunges forward in a huge fluid motion.

    It’s all too easy to build pace, and smoothly too, whilst the big brakes provide an overriding sense of reassuring comfort. They seem to be able to slice huge chunks of speed from the car’s momentum without ever feeling like you’re jumping on them, thanks to a smooth operation and a not particularly over-servo’d feeling. You soon learn this is a good thing, as you tend to need them a lot with this car. It’s easy to get carried away and forget just how big, bold and heavy the car is. The gearbox makes light work of engine’s huge powerband and endless torque, always ensuring the correct gear is selected and that upshifts are seamlessly undetectable. It hides its vast mass well, although you can feel it peek through if you pull up to an abrupt stop from speed. And on some of these UK roads, it does feel like a big car, so clipping hedgerows is always on your mind down the narrower roads. The car still feels super stable, and not in the slightest bit unsure of itself at any corner, climb or depression you care to throw at it. Instead, it simply consumes the road before you with ease.

    The way the car effortlessly gathers pace does mean there’s often a bit too much wind in your hair motoring at times, and without the wind deflector in place things can quickly get a little chilly, even on beautiful days like this. It only takes a second to reach back and deploy the wind deflector, which does an ample job of reducing wind levels down to more manageable gusts. The heated seats also help if need be, warming with a ferocity similar to a small open fire beneath the seat. But if it all gets too much, the roof can be raised in a few seconds. With the hood up engine noise is also improved, funnelled further into the cabin.

    It’s a joy to drive in any guise and feels every inch the quality car that it is. However, I did notice an annoying creak from beside the driver’s seat with the roof up, which is not what I would want from my new £71,000 purchase. But aside from that the car is smooth, planted and will while away the miles with ease, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do, and with a graceful sense of occasion to boot. It also managed 36mpg on the test run, which wasn’t too bad considering a lot of the extended test drive wasn’t exactly what you might call slow motoring. However, even so, BMW’s figure of nigh-on 50mpg seems a distant challenge to say the least.

    In summary, not a whole lot has changed on the big Six really, but then not a lot needed to. The car looks slightly neater, feels notably classier and drives with the same great gusto expected of a big #BMW diesel. Ultimately, driving the LCI 640d proves to an utterly joyous occasion.

    TECH DATA #2015 / #2016 #BMW-F12 640d M Sport Convertible
    ENGINE: Six-cylinder, twin-turbo #N57
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 313hp @ 4400rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 465lb ft @ 1500-2500rpm
    0-62MPH: 5.5 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph
    ECONOMY: 48.7mpg
    EMISSIONS: 153g/km
    PRICE: £71,530
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    The Ultimate GT? The #BMW-640d Gran Coupé is put to the test to see if it can be the perfect Grand Tourer. Mark Williams takes a #BMW-640d-Gran-Coupé for a spin to see if it might turn out to be his ultimate Grand Tourer Words & photography: Mark Williams

    Most new cars on sale in the UK today can be categorised by a list of parameters. A set of attributes which ultimately define their type and usage. Hot hatchbacks for example, exceptions such as the M135i and Golf R32 aside, are resolutely front-wheel drive, normally three doors in configuration but occasionally five, replete with split fold rear seats and a good useable boot. There’s likely to be some body kit tacked on to the outside of the ‘cooking’ version and inside, tarted up interior trim with seats ‘blessed’ with side bolsters reminding us of 1980s shoulder pads. Underneath, we find modified (and lowered) suspension and maybe a bespoke differential or other unique appendage dedicated to the art of going faster. Fail to equip your offering thus and it will sell in tiny numbers (although perversely, go too far and the sales performance will be even worse. When was the last time you saw a Renault Megane R27?).

    Sports saloons? Easy. Four-doors, five-seats, a big boot (but not necessarily a saloon), loads of toys, a surfeit of power and oodles of torque. And a two tonne kerb weight. Fancy the same but don’t have children? Buy a performance coupé in the shape of the new M4 and join the ranks of those queuing up to buy something which is not quite as practical, but which looks good and tickles your trousers. Oh I know all this sounds quite cynical, but even with the relentless niche creation-’n’-fill of recent years, all the resultant products fall into these and other bandings.


    And then Mercedes went and made the CLS. What is it? A coupé? A saloon? Well it seats four and has a boot. But it can’t seat five as that would be too practical and they wanted to market it as a four-door coupé. I don’t want to get into the subjective discussion over the styling other than to say the rakish profile resulting from slicing the traditional saloon roofline is clearly one of the segment’s attributes and a key reason why there are thousands of them about. So naturally enough, Audi got in on the act and more recently, BMW has also joined the fray with this, the 6 Series Gran Coupé.

    But first, let’s address how to categorise the Gran Coupé and its peers. They’re not saloons, nor coupés. They’re not even four-door coupés. To my mind, these are the modern interpretation of the Grand Tourer. But how do you pigeonhole a Grand Tourer? What defines a GT these days? Do they even still exist, at least when viewed through rose-tinted spectacles which remind us of what a GT used to be (front-engined, rear-drive, generally quite exotic but temperamental two-seaters)?

    You need something which covers distance with ease and minimal strain. You need comfort, a hushed cabin, a smooth ride at speed and a generally quite tranquil demeanour. I owned a Ferrari 550 Maranello many years ago, which was the perfect companion for the first two or three hours of a long drive, but thereafter became somewhat tiring, especially in traffic. And you need luxury through space, not only for luggage but oddments space too, plus space for passengers. If you’re covering distance, there’s nothing to say that you can only do it in the company of one companion. But here’s the killer fact: you need range. There’s nothing worse than stopping to brim the tank on something like the aforementioned Ferrari, only to have to stop to do the same again barely three hours later.


    So what we have here, I believe, is the best Grand Tourer on sale today. Space enough for four passengers, ample power (313hp) plus a long-legged range afforded by near 40mpg economy. And a big boot. To my eyes at least, it looks simultaneously elegant yet imposing (even in white… trust me the colour grows on you after a while) and goes down the road with a relaxed gait. A real gentleman’s express, a cut-price Aston Rapide if you will. So the plan was to take one for a drive, long enough to get a feel for the car and thoroughly understand it.


    It’s late on a Friday afternoon when I finally pull up at Cooper Reading’s showroom, and after a few pleasantries I’m shown ‘my’ Alpine white 640d Gran Coupé and I reckon that as a piece of automotive sculpture this thing cuts quite a dash. It actually appears to grow shorter in height the closer you are to it and, in M Sport guise as tested, manages to land on just the right side of visual aggression. Once installed, the interior immediately puts one at ease, the sweeping lines of the dashboard combined with the contrast stitching lending the environment an upper-class air which isn’t affected by the 3.0-litre straight-six diesel rumbling into life up front.

    But crumbs, it’s wide. Heading out of Reading and back out into the countryside in the general direction of Oxford, it feels like it’s filling the lane, and there’s the occasional thump-thump-thump of offside tyres pummelling the cats eyes. It soon becomes clear though that I’m over-compensating and once I start to relax, the affect is less pronounced. Other early impressions focus on the ride quality, which exhibits similar levels of fidget to the X6 (but which I increasingly failed to notice the longer I drove the car) and the noise, which is very pleasant. There’s a delicious half moan, half rumble under power from around 1500rpm out to 3000rpm on the rev counter and you seldom need to go any higher than this, peak torque of 465lb ft being available from 1500rpm to 2500rpm. Something else which doesn’t go unnoticed is the way the seat belt gently tightens its grip across your shoulders as you move off from rest, which is a new experience for me (although personally, I’d also appreciate a small mechanical arm or similar device presenting the belt to me, as it’s quite a stretch to reach). Oh and another early impression – the superb (standard) stereo system, with excellent bass reproduction and more power than anybody could reasonably need.


    Next morning, the boot swallows all the luggage my wife and her friend evidently require for their weekend cruise break (40th birthday present, when did chocolates stop being acceptable?), and once we’re loaded up, we hit the A40 towards Oxford and are soon whistling south down the A34, Southampton drawing near. The Gran Coupé is a relaxing drive at a cruise-controlled 80mph and after a comfort break at some services (during which the Gran Coupé draws several admiring glances) my passengers are dropped at the cruise terminal and I retrace my steps home.

    Cruising back up the A34, left arm resting on the shift lever for the eight-speed auto, right hand lightly gripping the smooth leather-trimmed M Sport wheel (I’m still not sure about the new design, seems a bit minimalist to me) the Gran Coupé’s charms start to work their magic. It’s very quiet in here, even with the 275 section 20-inch rears, and the high waist, low roof architecture combined with low-slung seats and substantial dashboard design lend the interior a snug and cosy ambience. I’d wondered (and worried) whether it would be like driving a pillar box, but the visibility was generally excellent (forward as well as aft) and after several days driving the Gran Coupé the view through my F30 Three’s windscreen didn’t seem any more ‘open’ upon reacquaintance.


    Baulked by traffic around Newbury, I flick-flick to sixth and squeeze the throttle. There’s a hardening of engine note and a slight squat as I’m pushed down the road, I flick to seventh, another to eighth and our 80mph cruise is regained. We’re soon around Oxford and back out into the Cotswolds, whereupon I simply keep going in the general direction of Gloucester and South Wales beyond.

    Now you may think this is madness. After all, I’d already crossed the M4 motorway, why not just hang a left and make for the Severn Bridge? Because it’s more fun to take the Heads Of The Valley road, which is basically the A40 later morphing into the A465 and is a stretch of dual-carriageway interspersed with roundabouts every few miles. In other words, 60mph SPECS zone aside, it’s jolly good fun.

    So, with a roundabout fast approaching at the end of a particular stretch of dual-carriageway, I thumb the drive control switch into Sport, and click the gear lever to the left on approach, giving me control over the gears and engine braking. I then start to squeeze the left pedal and click twice down to sixth. Hearing the faint V8-esque rumble from up front and with the brakes nicely loaded up, I squeeze a little more. Fine for road work, the big discs bite back and wash off speed with disdain. I then click down to fourth and as the roundabout opens up in the windscreen, I shift down into third before entering the fray.

    Moseying round in third, I signal for the exit, then give the throttle a good prod as the A40 once again opens up to reveal a gentle descent into the middle distance. The Gran Coupé feels like it could do this all day, as I grab fourth, then fifth, the speedo inexorably advancing northwards, that rumble from up front once again in evidence, and the annoying Audi A4 which was filling my mirrors is now noticeably falling back. I slide the lever back into ‘D’ as the speedo settles at 80mph and then realise I’m surrounded by nothing. The accompanying traffic has been cast aside and I’ve effortlessly sprinted ahead into open space.

    Arriving in Swansea, there are appreciative comments and plaudits from family and friends who admire the design and the interior. It’s a flying visit though and I’m soon heading off again, straight down the M4 this time then up the M5 before completing the loop and heading on to the A40 via Birdlip and back home. Darkness is coming and the interior is soon bathed in a soft ambient light, set off brilliantly by the dashboard switching to a similar relaxing hue. The A40 under darkness can unpredictable, with vehicles suddenly appearing out of hidden dips. I’m relaxed behind the Gran Coupé’s wheel however and am content to glide along in serenity.

    All told, I covered 740 miles in the Gran Coupé at an average of 39.2mpg. There was no back ache and despite the time spent behind the wheel, there was no tiredness either. The only faults I could identify, other than the already mentioned seat belt arrangement, are the awful reflections in the windscreen due to the leather-covered dash and the strange panel gaps visible around the point where the front bumper panel meets the bonnet (a common affliction with many BMWs these days). Design items not identifiable as faults as such include the updated sat-nav, which seems reluctant to show true topographical 3D as easily as it once did (although maybe I was just doing it wrong) and the aluminium interior trim, which looks too cheap given the price.

    Considering the general quality of the experience however, that’s a bit like an art collector moaning at not having anywhere to hang their latest Picasso. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these, then please look after it because at some point over the next year or so, once depreciation has done its thing, I’ll be knocking on your door looking for a used buy.

    THANKS TO: Cooper Reading #BMW Tel: 0118 914 5934 Website: www.cooperreadingbmw.co.uk

    TECH DATA #BMW-640d-M-Sport-Gran-Coupé-F06 / #BMW-640d-F06 / #BMW-F06
    ENGINE: Six-cylinder, twin-turbo diesel BMW #N57 / #N57D30T1
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 313hp @ 4400rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 465lb ft @ 1500-2500rpm
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    0-62MPH: 5.4 seconds
    ECONOMY: 51.4 (claimed), 39.2mpg (on test)
    EMISSIONS: 149g/km
    PRICE (OTR): £69,995

    It looks elegant yet imposing and goes down the road with a relaxed gait.
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    Buying Guide

    It looks a million dollars and offers a blend of performance and economy… it can only be the #BMW-F13 640d.

    The 640d encapsulated everything great about a modern diesel. Hailed as one of the most complete packages in the BMW line-up, used prices are now better than ever… Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: BMW.

    The 640d was a game changer. This was firmly noted in the press when the car was first introduced and the recent drop in secondhand prices which has now made them more accessible to the masses, has cemented its place in the history books The 640d first arrived in the UK back in 2011 as part of the newly released F13 6 Series platform. The range-topping diesel was the successor to the previous 635d model, although the badging was a little misleading. Powering the 640d was the same 2993cc, six-cylinder, twin-turbo diesel carried over from the previous generation. The combination provided a wholesome 313hp at its 4400rpm peak but more impressive was the huge wave of torque that accompanied it: 465lb ft at just 1500rpm. This equated to more than ample performance that would have worried most M cars ten years ago; a 0-62mph time of just 5.5 seconds and a 155mph top speed ensured that. But whilst it was able to decimate Tarmac with ease, its real ability came with the accompanying fuel economy and emissions, with a more than respectable 51.4mpg combined figure and emissions of just 145g/km. It was helped hugely by the new eight-speed automatic gearbox, (the only option available) and, coupled with the huge torque, ensured the car was never caught off guard when it came to performance or economy.

    Aside from the hugely capable running gear, the new 6 Series platform it was fitted in was longer, lower, wider and notably prettier than the previous 6 Series. It appeared to have matured into its larger proportions with grace, having gained a more slender look to its design. There was also more boot space although the fuel tank was the same 70-litre size carried over from its predecessor.

    Inside was more lavish than ever, too. The overall design was more pleasing to the eye. There was a touch of elegance to its design, which now incorporated a more driver and passenger friendly fit and feel. The large centre console dominated the main cabin space and also housed the standard fit iDrive controller and a large 10.2-inch screen.

    There was plenty else to be happy about as a new 6 Series owner, too, as standard specification was on another level of luxury. The Dakota leather trim was standard, as was the Professional Media Package with sat nav, ambient lighting, heated seats, electric folding mirrors, 18-inch alloys, xenon headlights, Bluetooth, cruise control with brake function, parking sensors (front and rear) and a sport multi-function steering wheel.

    However, all of this came at a substantial cost. The range-topping diesel cost a mighty £62,080 new and trim levels were limited to just the SE and M Sport models – the latter costing an extra £4665. Unlike the half-hearted M Sport offering available on the previous 6 Series models, this time BMW did things properly and introduced a comprehensive package. As well as larger 19-inch M alloys there were also Sports seats, an M Aero kit, a different steering wheel, anthracite headlining and various smaller trim parts inside and out finished in dark chrome and Shadlowline.

    By 2012 the official 62mph figure had dropped to just 5.3 seconds, although power and torque remained the same. Drive Performance Control also became standard, giving the option of Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport modes, and in 2013 standard specification increased to include DAB. The 640d model still continues to run in the current range and the F13 Six has just received a mild face-lift, which means prices of earlier cars may well be due a further drop in the near future. However, there are already plenty to choose from, as good deals on finance and company car tax, due to the lower emissions, made them a popular choice. And best of all, they have shed most of their deprecation already.

    Buying one

    How does a 2011 640d for less than £24,000 sound to you? We found a 2011 example, an M Sport no less, for sale at £23,995, although the mileage at 118,000 might make you think twice. Admittedly, the cars with 40,000 or so less miles for just £2000 more in similar M Sport guise do make more sense in the long run. Better still, we found a 2012 M Sport model with 40,000 miles on it for £27,000 or, if you were less fussy about the spec and more fussy about the mileage, then we also found a more basic SE model with just 20,000 miles under its belt for the same price. A majority of cars sit below the £30,000 mark and for that budget there’s a huge wealth of cars to choose from. After that sort of money you can get yourself a car that is less than a year old with less than 10,000 miles on it for £40,000 and above. You might also be surprised to learn that BMW’s own approved used cars are some of the cheapest on offer, with cars starting at £27,000. All have a one-year warranty and there are currently more than 100 available to choose from on its website.

    There are a couple of things to bear in mind when trawling through the various examples on offer for sale. For a start, M Sport models are far more common but the ride is a little harsher on the larger wheels, so consider a test-drive in cars with and without the optional Variable Damper Control as you may well find it crucial. Plenty of models were fitted out with other handy options worth looking out for, such as Adaptive LED headlights, a Head-Up Display and Comfort Seats, so compare cars you come across carefully.

    Otherwise, you should be aware of the general running costs; it’s probably a lot cheaper then you might be expecting! Thanks to the low emissions, road tax is only £145 a year for all 640d models, whilst servicing costs shouldn’t be enough to scare you off either. At a BMW main dealer, an oil change is £152, whilst a full service will cost around £450. A set of front brake pads are £283. These prices are not much more expensive than a high performance 3 Series of a similar year. However, other running costs should be considered. Fuel is the main one, and although it can be very frugal, it’s hard to get BMW’s claimed figures. You should still see an mpg figure well into the 40s on a run, which will drop to an average overall figure nearer the mid-30 mark when driven with some gusto, or around town. Tyres are another thing to consider, as the 6 Series likes to run on big boots and it does tend to wear through them thanks to its performance and weight. Other than that, there are actually very few things to look out for, which we will cover here.

    Wheels, tyres and brakes

    All of the wheel options fitted to the 640d were big, starting with the 18s on the SE ranging to the 20- inch items on the later M Sport Plus package. Unfortunately, all of the wheels seem susceptible to damage from potholes, so inspect wheels for signs of serious damage or repairs, ideally from behind. Run-flat tyres were standard on all 640d models but, as with other BMWs, there is much debate as to how much they affect road holding and ride comfort. As a result, many owners have swapped to non-run-flat tyres, which is fine except there is no spare wheel, so make sure you know what is fitted. Run-flat tyres should have ‘RSC’ written on them, which stands for ‘Run-flat System Component’. Brakes wise, the 6 Series likes to go through a set of pads, particularly at the rear as the traction control system applies the rear brakes to maintain control. Check using the iDrive screen to see when they next need doing.
    Engine

    The N57 six-pot diesel under the bonnet isn’t actually a particularly new engine, having first been introduced back in 2008. However, that works massively in the 640d’s favour. Earlier N57 engines fitted to other models were known to suffer from the odd fault but by the time the 640d came around in 2011, virtually every issue had been thoroughly ironed out, making these engines nighon bulletproof. Whether that will change as these cars get older remains to be seen, as older N57s are known for the odd turbo or injector failure, but right now these don’t seem to be an issue.

    You should be aware that these cars do use a lot of battery power and due to the smart charging system that only charges the battery when it needs to, it is possible to get caught out with a flat battery if the car is only used for short journeys and then parked up for some time. A faulty battery will often cause all kinds of strange faults and error code messages to appear, so if the car does show any peculiar behaviour, always check the battery’s health first of all.

    Bodywork

    There should be very little to look out for here, so just give the body a good going over for signs it’s been well looked after in the past. Parking dents, smashed foglights, scraped paint and stone chips are all signs the car may well have endured a harder life than perhaps other examples have, and considering there are so many to choose from, you should try and avoid these kinds of cars unless the price makes it worth it. Check to make sure the panel gaps look even all-round and look for signs of broken clips and bits of trim that may indicate the car has been involved in a crash of any kind. It’s always worth HPI checking the car for peace of mind, unless the car is coming from an established dealer who has the paperwork present.

    Also, if the car is fitted with the Park Assist option then check that the external cameras work as they should, as they have been known to fail. They are located in the bootlid, door mirrors and front bumper and if the screen comes up with a ‘camera malfunction’ notice, then it’s likely part of the camera’s wiring loom has corroded rather than the camera itself being at fault. It’s relatively easy to replace though.

    Transmission and drivetrain

    The automatic gearbox, along with the rest of the running gear, is very strong but faults have been known to occur with the shifting mechanism of the eight-speed. If it displays any trouble shifting between modes then expect to replace the shifter mechanism soon. Any hesitation or jerky gear changes at low speed are likely to be related to the adaptive throttle’s selflearning program, which is designed to work with the gearbox to learn your personal driving traits. It’s wise to reset this, which is done by turning the ignition on, pressing the throttle to the floor for 5-10 seconds or so and then releasing the pedal. You should then wait a couple of minutes before going for a drive.

    Steering and suspension

    Fundamentally, there’s little to worry about here, although some 6 Series owners have complained of a strange oscillating vibration through the car after encountering bumps at speed. Often this can be related to worn tyres, bent wheels or out of alignment suspension, but if the vibration persists the front wheel bearing assemblies have been known to be the cause. Other than that, the optional Active Roll Stabilization system can cause a groaning noise or even a light grinding that can be felt through the steering wheel and it seems to happen at any speed and regardless of direction. It’s usually due to a valve blocked but it can sometimes be the pump, which becomes more costly.
    Interior

    Whilst the build quality is generally good, there may be the odd unwelcome squeak or rattle, and the front seats are particularly prone to this. If there’s a light rattle from the passenger side then check for the simple solution first: that the belt buckle is not the cause. It should be covered in a soft material but this can wear off and cause a rattle. If the rattle sounds like it is coming from underneath the driver or passenger seat, and/or the seat feels in anyway loose with slight side-to-side movement, then it’s more serious. You might get away with greasing the front section of the underside of the seat, as this is likely the cause. If not, then the only other solution seems to be replacing the seat track itself, so prepare for a trip to the dealer. Electrical issues can also be a problem, although the Six doesn’t share nearly as many faults as its 5 Series F10 brother. It’s mainly the iDrive system that can cause issues, so watch out for a system that keeps rebooting or freezing, as although a software update might cure it, if you’re unlucky it will need replacing.

    Verdict

    If you happen to have the best part of £30,000 ready and waiting to buy your next #BMW , then there aren’t many reasons why you wouldn’t want to choose a 640d. Other than the physical size of the car, there’s very little holding it back. What other three-year-old car looks this good, goes this well, offers this level of luxury with such reasonable day-to-day running costs all for less than half its original price?

    Of course, depreciation is something to consider but the car has obviously done a vast majority of its value-shedding already, and considering you can be driving around in a current shape #BMW-640d for the same price as a diesel 3 Series, it’s certainly worth thinking about…

    TECH DATA #BMW-640d-F13
    ENGINE: Straight-six, twin-turbo #N57
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 313hp
    MAX TORQUE: 465lb ft
    0-62MPH: 5.5 seconds (5.3)
    TOP SPEED: 155mph
    EMISSIONS: 145g/km
    ECONOMY: 51.4mpg
    PRICE NEW: £65,680 (£73,430) (figure in brackets for post 2012 model)
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