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2012 BMW 6 Series

Posted: 12/01/2011 - 9:04 PM ET

The engine lineup of BMW in the U.S. is known for being a collection of flexible engines that still maintain a simplistic feeling even in all their glory. The regular production models are all fitted with a natural inline-six, a turbo-charged version of that, or a twin turbocharged V-8. (Beginning this year though, the primary six is moving over as a turbocharged four-cylinder steps in, or there's a 12 pot for the 760Li.)

For 2012, the BMW 6-series is available in three models, the 640, 645, and 650, in either a coupe or soft-top variation. There's also a 640i, which has the inline turbo engine. Shared features include a body style that is three inches longer and an inch and a half wider than the previous model, as well as being a bit shorter at roof level. Still present are the distinctive front overhang and overall low-slung look to the car, which BMW's designers claim was inspired by the movement of ocean waves.

Inside the 2012 BMW 6-series, there's a classic 2 front/2 back seating arrangement, and while the back seats are pretty small, BMW asserts that they provide more legroom than prior generations of the series. Headroom has been increased for all passengers, and so has the trunk volume in the coupe, which is about 30% greater than that of the convertible (with its top up - increase the gap to 44% when it's down). Options include a pass-through to the car's cabin that is fitted with a ski-bag, as part of the Cold Weather package, which also adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Power seats in the front are adjustable 20 different ways, and also have an optional seat ventilation feature. BMW's own iDrive system to control navigation is standard, and the on-dash view screen gives you 10.2 inches of high-resolution.

You might expect safety features to be slim in a ragtop, but you'd be wrong, if so, because both the convertible and the coupe have front and combination torso/head side-impact airbags in the front seats. As per legal requirements for all 2012 (and later) U.S.-built models, the 6-series has antilock brakes and an electronic stability system as standard features, as well, and there are also active head restraints and active roll bars, which rise to provide protection if the car's computer senses a sideways lean.

LED headlights with special adaptive technology for corners are standard, while optional safety features include warning systems for blind spots and lane departures, and night-vision with pedestrian detection. Backup cameras come as a standard feature, but side- and top-view cameras are optional.

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