How to buy the best bargain BMW GT car
BMW reintroduced the 6 Series GT car in late 2003. Derived from the 5 Series, it was a large two-door four-seat coupe with a luxurious, sporty attitude and one eye on challenging the Jaguar XK and Mercedes-Benz CL. Styling was, shall we, say, distinctive: it caused a stir at the time but has aged well and, today, represents something of a bargain: you can buy an early 645Ci from £5,000. Tempted?
Launch cars were all 645Ci coupe versions, featuring a 333hp 4.4-litre V8 engine. This was a 155mph car that could do 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds; the convertible that followed in 2004 was just a little slower. BMW introduced a 258hp 3.0-litre six-cylinder 630i in late 2004, which was about a second slower to 62mph but would do 30mpg rather than the mid-20s.
645i became 650i in 2005, with a power boost for the V8 to 367hp; a facelift in 2007 introduced a mild restyle at the front end (look out for the LED running lights) and fuel-saving EfficientDynamics tech that improved the 630i’s average economy to 35.8mpg. A 286hp 635d was also introduced: 40.9mpg, 155mph and 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds was a compelling mix.
Look to pay
645Ci – £5,000
630i – £6,000
650i – £9,000
635d – £11,000
And the 6 Series is a compelling used buy. It’s mechanically robust, with the 630i being dependable even beyond 200,000 miles. The diesel proves trustworthy, too, so long as the turbo is in good nick and there are no emissions warning lights illuminated on the dash (or excessive black smoke under acceleration). With the V8, watch for oil leaks, as they can be very expensive to repair. We’re talking several thousands here.
5 Series running gear is largely trustworthy, albeit expensive in upkeep: budget £1,000 for a new set of brakes alone. The bodywork seems completely free from rust issues, and even the fabric convertible roof doesn’t cause any issues. The only thing you need to look for here is evidence of crash damage or dodgy repairs – oh, and that the headlights work: bulbs are eye-wateringly pricey.
It’s lovely inside, all rich leather and solid integrity – it shares a dashboard with the 5 Series but many owners reckon the 6 Series is the better-built of the two. iDrive is looking dated these days, but should still work OK, although do note there’s no auxiliary socket as standard: you’ll have to get an aftermarket one, although the car does accept them easily. Also make sure sat nav is fitted – some early cars lacked it, and are worth less as a result.
Speaking of prices, budget from £5,000 for a 645Ci and around £1,000 more for the 630i; convertible models start from £6,500. The newer 650i is more appealing and costs from £9,000, with the 635d proving the most desirable 6 Series of all, with prices that reflect this – you’ll need from £11,000 to get into one that hasn’t been to the moon and back.
Overall, a used 6 Series is a canny buy. It’s a classy, sporty drive, with lovely engines and dynamic handling, and feels suitably special inside to step beyond its price ticket. It’s not quite the full-size GT car for those in the back, but for two people and their luggage, it’s fine. Go on, treat yourself.