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Home » BMW 6 Series [E63/E64](2003-2010) Problems, Review, Faults and Information

BMW 6 Series [E63/E64](2003-2010) Problems, Review, Faults and Information

BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is the second generation of the model and it hit the market in 2003 together with its sister BMW 5 Series E60 on the basis of which it was built. Code E63 is used for the Coupé version and code E64 for the Cabriolet version. In 2007 it underwent a restyling that brought small changes to the design and some modernizations on a technical level and in the interior. In 2010 it was replaced by the next generation BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06. Let’s see the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 review with the most important information, faults and common problems.

Table of Contents

Review of the BMW 6 Series E63 Coupe with all the information, defects, issues, faults, weaknesses, problems and maintenance costs.
BMW 6 Series Coupé E63

Impressions, Interior and Comfort

BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is a high-end car. It is a premium model that tends to be more exclusive and refined than the BMW 5 Series on which it is based. Basically it is a series that contains the Coupé and Cabriolet that compete with the Mercedes-Benz CLK.

Even the most equipped specimens of the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 can be found nowadays at low prices on the second-hand market and therefore the desire to buy this premium model arises within many car enthusiasts. But here you have to be careful, the high cost that the car had when new, offers rich equipment and modern technologies, but does not promise reliability and long life.

In this article we will see if the maintenance costs will not be exaggerated to use a similar car.

Platform and Body

The BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is based on a shortened platform version of the BMW 5 Series E60. It has a longitudinally installed engine and rear-wheel drive. Optionally you could have all-wheel drive.

The front suspensions feature a MacPherson system, the rear suspension is multilink.

The body design is very beautiful, expressive and attractive. There is a certain brutality that is accentuated by the elongated and wide silhouette, the almost flat bonnet, the aggressive headlights and the dual exhaust (typical of BMW’s top models). It is immediately clear that the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is a premium and prestigious car.

What we have described above is the impression that the car creates today, but it was not like that right from the start. At the time of the BMW 6 Series E63/E64’s debut, its design was much criticized by journalists and customers. It practically shared the same fate as its sister BMW 5 Series E60 and the top model BMW 7 Series E65/E66. After a couple of years though, people got used to it and started loving the new style.

Review of the BMW 6 Series E64 Cabriolet with all the information, defects, issues, faults, weaknesses, problems and maintenance costs.
BMW 6 Series Cabriolet E64

Aesthetically, the car is attractive, both before and after the restyling, especially in the more equipped versions.

The sporty versions M6 and Alpina are particularly attractive. Be careful though, these are also much more expensive to maintain.

The second generation BMW 6 Series is available in two body styles: 2-door Coupé (E63) and Soft-top Cabriolet (E64).

This 6 Series complies with BMW’s nomenclature rules which identify with even numbers Coupé-Cabrio based on the sedan/hatchback identified with the previous odd number.

So it was decided to separate the Coupé and Cabriolet of the 5 Series E60 to create the second generation of the 6 Series. The same happened with the later 5 Series F10 Coupes and Cabriolets separated into the third generation 6 Series F12/F13/F06. The same thing can be seen with the 2 Series F22 which identifies the coupé/cabrio versions of the 1 Series F20 and with the 4 Series F32 which identifies the coupé/cabrio versions of the 3 Series F30.

BMW 6 Series E63/E64 has a length of 4820 mm, a width of 1855 mm and a height of 1374 mm. The wheelbase is 2780 mm. The weight of the car varies from 1490 to 1860 kg depending on the version.

Comfort and Practicality

Despite the large dimensions of the car, due to the particular shape, the internal space is not really that much. Up front anyone will be able to position themselves comfortably, but in the back seats passengers will feel a lack of space (especially in the head area).

Trunk/boot volume is 450 l on the Coupé (E63) and narrows to 300 l on the convertible (E64) with the roof open.

The strong points of the model are handling and driving pleasure, but it does not lose even in the quality of the interior and comfort. These features are typical for all premium models of the German brand. The pleasure is increased on the sportier versions, with powerful engines and M Sport trims. The weight distribution is perfectly balanced.

The suspensions are very well adjusted in order to offer both good stability on the road and a good level of ride comfort. BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is not a track car. Its great weight and suspension oriented towards relaxing driving make it a typical GT (Gran Turismo) class car, perfect for extra-urban roads and touring.

It’s a good car for traveling and thanks to its features you don’t get very tired even on longer journeys.

Interior and Equipment

in this photo you can see the interior compartment of the BMW 6 Series E63 E64 with the steering wheel, the stereo radio, idrive multimedia, the seats and the dashboard central panel cockpit

The interior also conveys the impression of prestige and luxury. The interior design is severe as on all premium German cars. In the center of the central panel is the large display of the revolutionary iDrive system. Below is the climate control center and below that is the radio.

BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is very well assembled. The interior materials are of high quality. Even on cars with more than 200,000 km (125 k miles), the interior is still in an acceptable state. The leather is very resistant and the plastics do not scratch easily.

Anyway, on some elements, serious signs of wear may appear at high mileage. First of all, of course, the most used elements wear out: the steering wheel trim, the gear knob, the climate control buttons and more. At high mileages, wear and tear on the seat upholstery is also unavoidable.

The good part is that all traces of wear and tear present in the cabin can be eliminated if desired. Some pieces can be replaced, others can be repainted or restored.

The soundproofing is very good and the interior remains silent in any situation.

Despite its age, the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 has a very complex electronic system which allowed for the installation of many interesting systems and options. Already at that time the car could have optional adaptive headlights, projection of data onto the glass using the Head-Up system, adaptive cruise control and the Keyless Go keyless access system. Of course, all the other typical options for premium cars are present.

The iDrive multimedia system deserves special attention. Obviously the system was at the beginning of its life and is not comparable to what is encountered on modern cars today. It can be complicated and not logical in some situations. Sometimes it may crash or not be fast enough. Behind it there is not only the multimedia system, but a complex data transmission network that offers the possibility of having numerous modern options and numerous information on the status of the car.

The audio system is also very respectable and can have a very high sound quality.

Safety

It is hard to find crash tests of BMW 6 Series E63/E64. Seeing as it’s based on the 5 Series E60/E61, we can assume it has a similar level of safety. The BMW 5 Series E60/E61 got 4 out of 5 stars in the EuroNCAP safety test. Crash safety is quite good, but to decrease the risk you need good tyres. Tires are almost the most important thing for safety on the road.

Reliability and Issues

As we have already said several times, BMW 6 Series E63/E64 and BMW 5 Series E60 are very similar from a technical point of view and share many characteristics and problems. The cars of the first years of production (2003-2004) can be called particularly capricious. The situation improved slightly in 2005 with the introduction of some technical upgrades and then improved further in 2007 during the restyling.

Gearbox and Transmission

On the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 you can find the 6-speed manual gearbox or the 6-speed automatic gearbox. Only the BMW M6 sports version was equipped with the GS7S47BG 7-speed SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox).

Manual transmission

The manual transmission is rare on the BMW 6 Series E63/E64. It is pleasant and reliable. The dual mass flywheel can start to get noisy already after 100,000 km (60 k miles), but generally it needs to be changed only around 200,000 km (125 k miles) and only in case of aggressive use of the car. The price of a new flywheel is high, but fortunately some mechanics can fix the old one.

Clutch life depends on driving style. Generally it lasts relatively little (especially with powerful engines) because you tend to have a not exactly calm drive.

ZF 6HP automatic gearbox

The automatic transmission is a ZF 6HP. We also talked about these gearboxes in the articles on the BMW X3 E83 and BMW 7 Series E65/66. It is a very interesting and widespread automatic transmission.

The ZF 6HP automatic gearbox is present in various versions: the ZF 6HP19 version was mounted with the weaker engines and the reinforced 6HP26 version with the more powerful engines.

After 150,000 km (95 k miles) you may start to feel rough gearbox operation and you will also encounter oil leaks. The bottom of the automatic gearbox is made of plastic and deforms over time. Consequently, to solve the problem of oil leaks, it is not enough to change the gaskets, but the bottom must be completely changed. The new part will cost relatively much.

After 200,000 km (125 k miles), more serious problems with automatic gearboxes may appear. The mechatronic, the torque converter and its lockup clutch may fail. The blocking system almost always works in partial attack mode. In addition to wearing the clutch, this also leads to rapid fouling of the oil with wear fragments. The likelihood of having problems is greater on pre-facelifted cars and those subjected to aggressive driving.

Dirty or degraded oil will lead to rapid wear of the solenoids and gearbox hydraulics which in turn will lead to rough running and accelerated wear of the entire unit.

In general it can be said that these gearboxes live at least 100,000 km (60 k miles) without problems, even under stress. If treated correctly, in the best cases they can reach around 250 – 300,000 km (155 – 185 k miles) without major investments. The automatic transmission loves a quiet ride and frequent oil changes (at least every 60,000 km or 35 k miles).

SMG gearbox

The SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox) is more capricious than the classic automatic gearbox. The owners complain of too fast wear of the clutch and the dual mass flywheel. Also these gearboxes have a fairly aggressive operation with knocks during shifts. If the knocks are too strong, the fault lies with the misconfigured or malfunctioning gearbox control unit.

Drivetrain and Transmission System

On BMW 6 Series E63/E64 with rear wheel drive there are not too many problems with the drivetrain. After 150 – 200,000 km (95 – 125 k miles) the rear differential start to leak oil and it may be necessary to replace the cardan shaft support.

Cars equipped with xDrive all-wheel drive can be more expensive to maintain. You can have problems already after 100,000 km or 60 k miles (if you have an aggressive driving style). The ATC 300 and ATC 500 transfer cases are similar to those used on the BMW X5 E53 and the problems are exactly the same.

The splines on the front drive shaft wear over time, the electric drive mechanism has a weak reduction gear, the locking mechanism of the clutches has a very important roller bearing which can fail due to infrequent oil changes or in case of overheating.

Suspensions, Steering and Brakes

The suspensions are relatively complex and expensive, but at the same time they are quite reliable and long-lasting if you ride on good quality roads. Most of the components are made of aluminum.

Among the first elements to give way there will be adaptive stabilizers, springs, hubs and shock absorbers. The front stabilizers give no problems before 60 – 100,000 km (35 – 60 k miles). The hub bearings last more than 150,000 km (95 k miles) under normal conditions. A new hub has a rational price. The life of a hub bearing also depends a lot on the diameter of the rims – the bigger they are, the less durable the bearing is.

The aluminum arms with ball bearing can last a very long time if they are not put under stress. Only the silentblocks give way over time. The main drawback here is the fact that aluminum does not dampen shock well and the arm can crack. If the bearings wear out, beyond just replacing them, there are many repair options.

The front shock absorbers last around 150,000 km (95 k miles), the rear ones around 200,000 km (125 k miles). A complete set of original shock absorbers can cost a lot.

When it comes time to change suspension elements, it is better to choose original parts because they last longer. The negative part is that they cost more than those of other manufacturers.

Steering system

The steering system of the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is not too reliable. In most cases the dynamic rack is fitted which starts rattling already at relatively low mileages. As long as it only makes noises, you can still move around, but if it starts to leak, death is near. Repair costs are very high and some owners decide to fit the simple rack to save money.

Even the simple steering rack may start rattling already after 100 – 150,000 km (60 – 95 k miles). The cost of a new rack is big. You can also try to fix the rattling rack for a more reasonable price.

Racks are short-lived due to the great stress caused by wide tires, bad roads and aggressive driving. Even their position is not too good, they tend to overheat and always come into contact with water and dirt.

Steering tie rods last more than 100 – 120,000 km (60 – 75 k miles).

Brakes system

The brakes on the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 are nice and effective, but they are not without problems. The brake booster body corrodes on most cars. Luckily also the original unit is cheap and you can find the updated version in steel.

To ensure good system operation, it is advisable to use original spare parts, however these are relatively expensive.

Electronics and Electrical System

The electronic system is very complex, there is a huge number of control units connected with different transmission channels (some of optical type). Literally electronics expand into every element of the car.

Despite the great complexity of the system, this works well if no third-party factors intervene. Serious problems are caused by contact of the electronics with water, interventions by unqualified persons and damage to the system caused by accidents, age or other reasons.

The most serious electronics problems are those related to the iDrive system. In addition to possible problems with various sensors, there can be problems with the cables of the complex network. There could be problems with data transmission and due to this an incorrect functioning of the control units which leads to various malfunctions.

Electronics can sometimes give small but annoying problems. There are occasional malfunctions in almost every system.

Over time, the seat heating may stop working. Handles and the central locking system can also “go crazy”, this usually happens on cars equipped with keyless entry.

The air conditioner fans are not very long-lived. There may be errors in the airbag control system and the light sensor.

Parking sensors may stop working after 100,000 km (60 k miles) and may malfunction in winter at low temperatures. A new original sensor costs relatively much, but there are also sensors from alternative manufacturers that cost much less.

The alternator could become noisy around 150,000 km (95 k miles). Luckily it doesn’t cost too much. Even if the alternator pulley breaks there won’t be too much money to spend.

Other

BMW 6 Series E63/E64 has good corrosion resistance and the paint quality is good. Small traces of rust are acceptable if the car is used in places with a severe climate. If, on the other hand, the traces of rust are large, the car probably suffered some accidents and then was badly repaired.

The front of the car is mostly made of aluminum. This is undoubtedly an excellent choice in terms of weight distribution and allows you to install large engines without ruining road stability. On the other hand this can play a bad joke in the event of an accident. Repairing aluminum is complex and expensive. Furthermore, not all workshops are capable of carrying out this type of work. Because of all this you can find BMW 6 Series E63/E64s that are in very bad condition due to bad repairs after accidents. Best to avoid these specimens.

Engines and their Problems

Diesel engines list :

Version Engine Power Top Speed Acceleration Fuel Consumption
635d 3.0 l M57TU2D30TOP 286 hp 260 km/h or 161 mph 6.3 s 6,9 l/100 km

US: 34 mpg

UK: 40,9 mpg

Petrol/Gasoline engines list :

Version Engine Power Top Speed Acceleration Fuel Consumption
630i 3.0 l N52B30 258 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.5 s 9 l/100 km

US: 26,1 mpg

UK: 31,3 mpg

630i 3.0 l N53B30 272 hp 250 km/h or 155 mph 6.2 s 7,9 l/100 km

US: 29,7 mpg

UK: 35,7 mpg

645 Ci 4.4 l N62B44 333 hp 260 km/h or 161 mph 5.6 s 11,7 l/100 km

US: 20,1 mpg

UK: 24,1 mpg

650i 4.8 l N62B48 367 hp 260 km/h or 161 mph 5.4 s 11,9 l/100 km

US: 19,7 mpg

UK: 23,7 mpg

M6 5.0 l S85B50 507 hp 330 km/h or 205 mph 4.6 s 14,8 l/100 km

US: 15,8 mpg

UK: 19 mpg

problems and issues with petrol, gasoline, LPG, CNG, methane and diesel engines mounted on BMW 6 Series E63 E64

The list of engines featured in the BMW 6 Series E63/E64 is more limited than its sibling BMW 5 Series E60.

Diesel Engines

There is only one diesel engine and it is the M57 series.

3.0 l M57D30 diesel Engine

The 3.0 l M57D30 6-cylinder diesel engine is very popular and interesting.

On M57 series engines, there may be leaks from the intake manifold gaskets after 100 – 120,000 km (60 – 75 k miles). Leaks can cause damage to the glow plug control unit. There are also cases of breakage of the swirl flaps in the intake manifold. Another problem is the possible cracks on the steel exhaust manifold.

Problems with the exhaust manifolds usually occur after 200,000 km (125 k miles). Both the exhaust and intake manifold cost a lot. The problem is most often encountered on cars from the first years of production. We recommend mounting a cast iron manifold (like the one on the previous BMW 5 Series E39).

It happens to find the cooler of the EGR valve burnt out. The turbochargers live for at least 150 – 200,000 km (95 – 125 k miles). The crankshaft pulley lasts approximately 100 – 150,000 km (60 – 95 k miles).

The thermostat and the coolant pump should not cause problems before 120 – 150,000 km (75 – 95 k miles). At around the same mileage, the radiator could also fail.

With diesel engines that have reached high mileage, there are problems with the injectors (especially on the more modern versions with piezoelectric injectors), with the particulate filters and their sensors and the EGR valve.

For the rest, the mechanical part of the engines is very resistant and their maintenance has acceptable costs. In most cases they exceed 300,000 km (185 k miles) without major problems. They don’t tend to overheat, they don’t tend to consume oil, they have good torque and acceptable fuel economy.

Petrol/Gasoline Engines

We can say that petrol engines are very pleasant if they are in good condition. The BMW 6 Series E63/E64 performs particularly well with V8 engines and is very interesting in its M6 version with a V10 engine. Unfortunately these engines consume a lot and could be expensive to maintain. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for these engines to have been treated badly and therefore require expensive repairs.

N62 series V8 Engines

The 8-cylinder engines are from the N62 series. Here they are present in the displacements: 4.4 l and 4.8 l.

The most common weak points are the Vanos and Valvetronic systems. If used incorrectly, these systems can malfunction and cause various problems. The unstable idle speed can also be caused by the ignition system in bad condition (for example the failure of the coils).

Oil consumption on these engines often appears on cars mainly used in heavy traffic and is generally caused by the wear of the piston rings, but there could also be other reasons given the great complexity of the V8s. Engine oil leaks also happen due to a clogged (or frozen in winter) crankcase ventilation system.

Oil consumption can easily reach 1 l every 1000 km (600 miles) after relatively few miles. If consumption is still small, the valve stem seals can be replaced, you can try to use a better oil and lower the engine operating temperature. This will also extend the life of the engine.

For various reasons, scratches may appear on the cylinder walls. It can happen at low mileage for these reasons: overheating, infrequent oil changes or use of low quality gasoline. At high mileage the catalytic converters can begin to destroy themselves and small fragments of these can end up in the engine scratching the cylinder walls.

Large oil consumption is often accompanied by blue smoke from the exhaust.

Over time, the pipes of the cooling system can fail. In the case of V8 engines, the pipes can be positioned in an awkward manner and other elements must be disassembled to replace them.

If the idle is irregular, the cause may be the bad sealing of the intake system, the broken flowmeter or other sensors.

6-cylinder Engines

Most often BMW 6 Series E63/E64s are found with 6-cylinder engines. The 6-cylinder engines built before 2007 are of the N52 series. After 2007 those of the N53 series were mounted.

3.0 l N52B30 Engine

N52 series engines are afraid of overheating which could deform the engine block made of aluminum and magnesium alloy. Problems with the cooling system are frequent – the electric pump does not last too long and the plastic pipes are damaged due to the high operating temperatures of the engines. Furthermore, these engines are equipped with a Valvetronic system.

Due to the high operating temperatures, various gaskets and oil seals are also damaged and therefore oil leaks begin. Generally rubber and plastic elements need replacement every 3 years. To solve temperature problems, you can change the thermostat with a more effective one and adjust the settings on the control unit.

It is important to keep the cooling system in good working order. This must not leak, the radiators must be clean and the fans must work well. It is also useful to change the oil often (at least every 10,000 km or 6000 miles) to lengthen the life of this and other petrol engines fitted to the BMW 6 Series E63/E64.

Some owners of these engines complain of exaggerated vibration at idle. In addition, the exhaust camshaft may start rattling. There may be problems with the crankcase ventilation valve. This becomes clogged and can lead to increased oil consumption. Generally this problem occurs every 80 – 120,000 km (50 – 75 k miles).

If there is exaggerated oil consumption on your car, it is very likely that the catalytic converter will be ruined as a result. The risk usually increases when consumption exceeds 300 ml per 1000 km (600 miles). If oil consumption is around 1 l every 1000 km (600 miles), the catalytic converter will die in less than a year.

On well treated 3.0 l N52 engines there is no exaggerated oil consumption. If you change the valve stem seals at the right moment and if you install a colder thermostat, the engine will not consume any oil. If you also use high-quality oil and change it often (at least every 10,000 km or 6000 miles), you will not have serious problems with Vanos and Valvetronic either. If, on the other hand, the engine is treated badly and is not taken care of properly, after 150,000 km (95 k miles) it could arrive in bad condition.

The Vanos phase variation system could cause problems in some cases already at 100 – 150,000 km (60 – 95 k miles). Symptoms of problems with Vanos are: unstable idle speed, erratic acceleration, difficult engine starting in cold times of the year, increased fuel consumption and noises in the front of the valve cover. In the official service centers they offer the complete replacement of the system and the price generally is very big. Third-party service centers can repair the system at much more reasonable prices.

N52В30 series 3.0 l engines may start rattling after 60 – 80,000 km or 35 – 50 k miles (generally when starting a cold engine). The sound comes from the HVA hydraulic compensator system. The problem mostly occurs on cars that are mainly used in town or for short journeys. Over time, the sound can be heard even when the engine is warm. The basic problem is the lubrication system not delivering enough oil to the hydraulic compensators. By changing the latter, the problem was solved for another 60 – 80,000 km (35 – 50 k miles). Since December 2008 the engine structure has been updated and the problem has been solved.

3.0 l N53B30 Engine

The engines of the N53 series are equipped with direct injection. They have brought problems with fragile high-pressure pumps (very sensitive to the quality of the petrol) and not very resistant injectors.

Due to the direct injection, spark plugs and ignition coils have short life.

If the cooling system is not cleaned regularly, overheating is possible. Vanos are not immortal and their lifespan decreases with improper maintenance.

When maintained properly, the engines shouldn’t disappoint. In terms of general vitality they can be compared with those of the N52 series.

5.0 l V8 S58B50 Engine

An impressive engine was mounted on the sporty BMW M6 E63/E64. For the first and last time a V10 was fitted to this model. The large engine with code S85B50 was designed from scratch and was taken as inspiration from the P84/5 engine used on the Williams FW27 F1 racing car.

The BMW S85 engine got a lightweight aluminum cylinder block with 10 cylinders. The cylinder heads are also made of aluminum, with 4 valves per cylinder, with hydraulic compensators and with Double-VANOS variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust shafts.

In general, it is a fairly complex naturally aspirated engine that manages to offer a power of 507 hp. This makes it sensitive and to keep it in good condition you need to be very careful.

The main problem with the M6 E63/E64 engine is premature wear of the bushings. These require replacement every 80 thousand km (50 k miles). It is best to do this work in advance to avoid fatal engine failure. The Vanos system also requires periodic, but not so frequent repairs.

For the rest, this unit can be defined as good for a sports engine. It doesn’t give any particular problems if it is treated properly, if it hasn’t been overheated, it has had regular services and a lot of attention. Unfortunately, in most cases the owners don’t realize how to maintain this engine and on many M6s it is in bad shape. Before buying a similar car, you need to do a very thorough check in a specialized service center.

Conclusions and Advice & Tips for buying used

BMW 6 Series E63/64 for some is a dream that can now come true thanks to relatively low prices. However, you have to be careful and find a car in good general condition. But even a good car will require large sums of money to maintain. In addition, there may be unforeseen breakdowns given the great age. For this reason it is not recommended to buy a BMW 6 Series E63/64 with the last available money in your pocket. It is good to have a good reserve of money to solve any problems.

We also remind you to read the article on the sister BMW 5 Series E60 which is very similar from a technical point of view.

Among the main competitors we can mention the Mercedes CL and the Mercedes CLK which are similar in style. Even if they are slightly different, the Audi A7 and the Mercedes CLS can be evaluated.

The most important thing is to find a car in good general condition.

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