We’ve had a few months to get used to the new 6 Series design, after BMW launched it first as a Convertible at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January.

You will already have decided whether you like the new model’s more svelte looks, so let’s move on to the differences between the coupé and convertible, apart from the engineering of their roofs.

The most significant difference should be the lighter weight of the coupé, but BMW have thus far neglected to publish its unladen weight so we’ll have to update you on that later.

As you’d expect, BMW describe the new 6 Series Coupé as a 2+2 seater sports car, but if you are familiar with its predecessor then you’d realise that the Devil is in the details – just how accommodating are those ‘+2’ rear seats? Body length and wheelbase are 75 mm longer which is said to enhance seating comfort for rear passengers, whilst width has been increased by 39 mm with a 5 mm reduction in height.

As with the convertible, the coupé will be available with a choice of 2 engine options from launch – 650i Coupé with its 401 bhp, twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder powerplant and the 315 bhp 640i Coupé with its turbocharged six-cylinder engine.

Both engine variants come as standard with an eight-speed Sports automatic gearbox and a plethora of BMW EfficientDynamics measures including Auto Start-Stop function and ECO PRO mode in the BMW 640i Coupé.

Both models are limited to a maximum speed of 155 mph, whilst the 650i Coupé can accelerate from 0–62 mph in 4.9 seconds, compared to the 179 g/km which covers the same increment in 5.4 seconds.

Economy and emissions figures are impressive for the performance – 36.7 mpg (179 g/km) for the 640i Coupé and 27.2 mpg (243 g/km) for the 650i Coupé.

Coupé or Convertible

6 Series Coupe meets Convertible

If you’re looking for the most spacious of the two, then the Coupé is certainly the better bet with luggage capacity of 460 litres compared to the convertible’s 350 litres (or 300 litres with the roof down). Strangely it’s the convertible that appears to provide the most headroom – 5 mm more in the front and 18 mm in the rear, but in practice you’re unlikely to tell the difference.

If you’re a fan of BMW’s Hofmeister kink – the ‘counter-swing’ design at the foot of the C-pillar – then that’s another feature carried over to the new 6 Series Coupé, which differentiates it from its convertible sibling. Otherwise, apart from the decrease in unladen weight, the Coupé and Convertible are interchangeable in capability and specification.

The Coupé is just that little bit quicker than Convertible – 0.1 seconds quicker over the 0–62 mph increment in 650i guise and 0.3 seconds quicker in the 640i Coupé.

Pricing

The 640i Coupé is priced in the UK at £59,550 in standard SE specification, whilst the 650i Coupé will be available at £67,300 when both models go on sale on 15 October 2011.

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Steve Davies

Steve is an investor, private equity advisor and former Partner at KPMG, PwC and Bain.   Most importantly he's a life-long car enthusiast, mountain biker and active sports enthusiast. He designs and builds technology platforms and is the architect behind Transmission.

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