BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 came on the market in 2011 when it replaced the previous BMW 6 Series E63 (Coupe) and BMW 6 Series E64 (Convertible). Code F12 is used for the Cabriolet version, F13 for the Coupé version and F06 for the Gran Coupé version (4-door). In 2015 it underwent a mid-life restyling which brought minor changes to the design and some modernizations on the technical side and in the interior. In 2018 it was replaced by the next generation BMW 8 Series (G15). Let’s see the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 review with the most important information, faults and common problems.
Table of Contents
- Impressions and Description
- Reliability and Issues
- Engines and their Problems
- Conclusions and Advice & Tips for buying used
Impressions, Interior and Comfort
BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 is a very interesting high-end car. It’s a premium model that tends to be more youthful and refined than the BMW 5 Series on which it’s based. Basically it is a series that contains the Coupé and Cabriolet that compete with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé/Cabriolet, but the 6 Series Gran Coupé version has also appeared which clearly aims to create great competition for the famous Mercedes-Benz CLS.
On the second-hand market you can already find cars with fairly low prices 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. We advise not to save money during the purchase and look for a car in good condition by following our advice.
Platform and Body
Technically, the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 is built on the same platform as its sister BMW 5 Series F10. This is a classic platform with a longitudinally installed engine and basic rear-wheel drive. Optionally you could have the xDrive all-wheel drive.
The xDrive all-wheel drive, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensures optimum driving stability, maximum wheel grip, as well as an additional dose of sporting thrills.
It must be admitted that with more powerful engines, all-wheel drive certainly comes in very handy (it ensures better acceleration dynamics). As in other BMWs, a center differential with multi-plate clutch is also used here. On cars equipped with all-wheel drive, the turning radius increases slightly.
The front suspensions of the 6 Series F12/F13/F06 are double joint with trailing arm and anti-pitch system, the rear ones are Integral V multi-link with swing arm plus three arms. Optionally, the Integral Active Steering system could be had, which provides for an auto-directional effect at the rear, in order to increase driving precision.
The BMW 6 Series has a traditional aesthetic that is captivating and brutal, but in parallel it manages to be refined and elegant. It’s clear at first glance that it’s a step up from the 5 Series. The low stance, the long bonnet, the frameless windows and the dynamically lengthening roofline that slopes gently to the rear reflect the character of the car.
Aesthetically, the car is attractive, both before and after the restyling, especially in the more equipped versions.
The third generation BMW 6 Series is available in three body styles: 2-door Coupé (F13), Soft-top Cabriolet (F12) and 4-door Gran Coupé (F06).
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 F10 to create the third generation of the 6 Series. 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 F12/F13 has a length of 4894 mm, a width of 1894 mm and a height of 1365 mm. The wheelbase is 2855 mm. The weight of the car varies from 1840 to 2055 kg depending on the version.
For the Gran Coupé F06 there are slightly different dimensions: length of 5007 mm, a width of 1894 mm and a height of 1392 mm. The wheelbase is 2968 mm and the weight varies from 1750 to 1940 kg.
Comfort and Practicality
Despite the large dimensions of the car, due to the particular shape, the internal space is not really that much. In front anyone will be able to position themselves comfortably, even in the rear seats there is enough space, but tall people may feel a little lack of space in the head area.
trunk/boot volume is 460 l on the Coupé and 560 l on the Gran Coupé. When the rear seats are folded down, the volume increases to around 1200 l on the Coupé and 1265 l on the Gran Coupé. The F12 convertible has a volume of 350 l with the roof closed and 300 l 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 suspension of the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 is soft and comfortable. Even on the destroyed roads, potholes and bumps are not felt too much. At the same time they manage to maintain good stability and in curves there will be no exaggerated inclinations of the body. The adaptive suspension can change its behavior and become harder in “Sport” mode or softer in “Comfort” mode.
All together it makes the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 an enjoyable car both in and out of town.
Interior and Equipment
The interior of the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 presents itself very well. It is welcoming and luxurious, the quality of the materials is high, the leather is pleasant to the touch. All this is normal for a car of this class. The design is also very beautiful, the ergonomics are well thought out, everything is comfortable.ù
The leather can be of different types. The most pleasant to the touch will be “Nappa” leather, but unfortunately this is the least resistant to wear. It can start showing annoying signs of wear after 50,000 km (30 k miles), especially if it is light in colour.
On other elements, serious signs of wear may appear after 150 – 200 thousand kilometers (95 – 125 k miles). 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.
The BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 can be well equipped with various options. Already on the basic version there is automatic climate control, DTC stabilization system, front and side airbags, cruise control, leather interior, electrically adjustable seats, xenon headlights and much more. It is clear that even the least gifted cars are quite rich and have everything necessary for comfortable use.
For an additional cost you can have other interesting options including: the M package (which contains various sporting elements including an excellent steering wheel), heated and ventilated seats, adaptive headlights, night vision, rear camera and much more. Well-endowed cars will be truly luxurious.
After the restyling you can have a completely digital cockpit. It is an interesting system that allows you to customize the cockpit. This can significantly increase the enjoyment of use.
The iDrive multimedia system is one of the best that can be found on modern cars. BMW has worked hard and created probably the most comfortable system. Obviously it depends on the set-up: on the poorer versions there will be reduced functionality and a small display, on the top versions there are more services and a larger display. The top versions will give a lot of satisfaction. The audio quality of the Hi-Fi system is already quite good, but you can find the optional Harman Kardon or even Bang & Olufsen system which will sound great.
In the EuroNCAP safety test, the BMW 6 Series got 5 out of 5 stars. 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
Gearbox and Transmission
On the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 you can find the manual gearbox and the 8-speed automatic gearbox. Only the BMW M6 sports version was equipped with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
The manual transmission is the Getrag GS6-53BZ. This 6-speed gearbox is very rarely encountered on the 6 Series.
To reduce noise during operation, the GS6-53BZ uses special gears with a modified bevel angle. In addition, sealed bearings were introduced into the gearbox, which can serve for a long time due to their structure: oil gets into them, but dirt deposits do not.
At a certain point, various operating problems may also appear: wear of the bearings, failure of the gears, the appearance of play in the shafts and more.
The occurrence of these breakdowns is usually associated with insufficient maintenance and infrequent oil changes. To avoid these problems, it is necessary to change the oil regularly.
If the symptoms of wear are still not very evident, it is worthwhile to intervene immediately in order to not make the situation worse. Intervening at the beginning will solve it with a lower cost.
The dual mass flywheel should live at least 100 – 150 thousand km (60 – 95 k miles). Its replacement will unfortunately be expensive. Obviously the duration of the flywheel and the clutch depend a lot on the driving style.
ZF 8HP automatic gearbox
The mounted automatic gearbox is an 8-speed ZF in its 8HP45 and 8HP70 versions. The only difference between the two is the resistance. The first version is designed to withstand a maximum of 450 Nm of torque and the second to a maximum of 700 Nm of torque. The gearbox can be adapted very well to the driving style of the driver and offers smooth, pleasant and fast operation. All of this is only valid if the gearbox is in good condition.
Its durability and reliability greatly depend on driving style. It works well and should last a long time if used and maintained correctly. It is important not to forget periodic oil replacement and not to overheat the gearbox.
Mechatronics do not like overheating and dirty oil and in some cases it can fail. On poorly treated gearboxes from the first production period, it could already give way at 80,000 km (50 k miles). Around 100 – 120,000 km (60 – 75 k miles) it may be necessary to replace the torque converter lockup clutches if you have an aggressive driving style. The planetary gears suffer from aggressive starts.
There have been cases of torque converter and hydraulic block failures.
After the restyling, the automatic transmission has become slightly more durable and manages to reach at least 140 – 180,000 km (85 – 110 k miles) without problems, even without changing the oil. If you change the oil, the service life increases significantly.
To have fewer problems with the ZF 8HP automatic transmission, it would be good to change the oil every 40 – 50,000 km (25 – 30 k miles) on pre-facelift gearboxes and at least every 50 – 70,000 km (30 – 45 k miles) on facelifts. Together with the oil, it is also necessary to change the plastic plate that contains the oil filter. Very often on BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 the gearbox plate is damaged and there are leaks. This is why it is important to be careful of any leaks from under the car.
In addition to frequent oil changes, lowering the operating temperature to 85 – 90 degrees (celsius) also helps to lengthen the life of the gearbox.
Drivetrain and Transmission System
You can meet both BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 with rear-wheel drive and with all-wheel drive.
Rear-wheel drive BMW 6 Series generally have no problems with the transmission for at least 200 thousand km (125 k miles). This obviously applies to cars used normally, without exaggerated stress. The silent blocks that support the rear differential suffer a lot on powerful versions and sooner or later they give way. This will cause a lean which in turn will lead to breakage of the cardan shaft (drive shaft). It is advisable to check it periodically.
At high mileage the rear differential can start to leak, its seals are not very good. The constant velocity joints and the cardan shaft are quite robust under normal conditions of use, but if drifting is practiced, these and other elements could show serious signs of wear (in the worst cases, they fail already at 50,000 km or 30 k miles).
The all-wheel drive system is sturdy enough, but not without its problems. There are cases of problems with the front cardan shaft (drive shaft): the splines are damaged at the intersection with the transfer case (with aggressive use this can happen even before 100,000 km or 60 k miles). Thankfully this is all fixable.
Transfer cases may have problems with clutch packs and bearings. This unit does not like dirty oil or a decrease in its level. Even if the manufacturer has not provided for an oil change, the mechanics recommend doing it in parallel with changing the fluid in the gearbox. It can’t handle aggressive driving well either. With calm driving it lasts a long time, but under stress it can wear out even before 100,000 km (60 k miles). If you feel knocking, play and uneven traction, it will be best to take action to repair it. If you intervene early, the costs will be lower.
Suspensions, Steering and Brakes
The suspensions aren’t too problematic in general, but obviously it depends a lot on the quality of the roads, the size of the rims and the driving style. The great comfort they are able to offer, often leads the owners to have too high a speed on the destroyed roads. Many think “if the suspension is soft and you don’t feel the bumps, it means they don’t suffer”, but this is wrong.
In the worst case, with incorrect use, already at about 50,000 kilometers (30 k miles) the front lower arms and part of the rear arms have to be replaced. The same goes for shock absorbers. EDC adaptive shock absorbers and DD active stabilizers are quite expensive
The steering is all electronic, the rear axle is steerable. The system usually works reliably, but failures lead to high repair costs.
Among the weakest elements we can mention the cardan shafts of the steering column. When worn, they create play and noises (beats) in motion. Tie rods and tie rod ends don’t last long if the tires are wide and the roads being ridden are in bad shape.
The brake system does not give any particular problems. It can handle even active driving with frequent braking. However, the durability of the discs and pads can disappoint. They can wear out quickly due to the many security and stability systems. Of course, the heavy weight of the car also has a big effect.
Spare parts have rational costs on weak versions of the car. Obviously the sports versions have more performing systems which are also more expensive.
The ABS system works stable and correctly.
Electronics and Electrical System
Electronics-wise, the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 proves to be quite reliable and if treated properly should have no fatal defects. However, these can happen due to external factors. Among these we can mention: penetration of water which comes into contact with cables and control units, accidents that damage the system and interventions by unqualified people on the electronic system.
Given the complexity of the electronic system, there are obviously some weak points that can lead to minor malfunctions.
For example, malfunctions of the multimedia system can occur. In some moments, the navigator or the display may stop working. This is usually solved by turning the car off and on again. To minimize the possibility of encountering this defect, it is advisable to update the management software.
The electric adjustment mechanism of the rear view mirrors can oxidize. Malfunctions occur in the automatic mirror dimming system, central locking system and immobilizer.
The battery and alternator are quite strained on the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06. For this reason, they can yield already after 3 – 5 years of life. The battery needs to be replaced, the generator can be repaired.
In general, the BMW 6 Series F12 is full of control units, cables, sensors and electric motors. This all works fine while the car is still young, but nothing is immortal. Sooner or later they will start to fail and parts prices are high.
The body has good corrosion resistance. 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.
It is also advisable to check from underneath, the exhaust system could turn out to be rusty. If the corrosion is only superficial, don’t worry, it’s normal. The paint is relatively good, but it’s not super strong. This leads to a rapid appearance of scratches and loss of initial shine. Chromed plastics wear out relatively quickly.
The headlight washer covers and parking sensor fixings can come off and fly off.
You can find cracks on the headlights and taillights. It doesn’t happen often and usually happens when temperatures are very low. The same goes for bumpers and other decorative elements made of plastic. In summer, these have good elasticity and resistance, but when the temperature is low, they can break easily.
On some older cars there may be problems with the operation of the door locks.
Engines and their Problems
Diesel engines list :
|Version||Engine||Power||Top Speed||Acceleration||Fuel Consumption|
|640d||3.0 l N57D30T0||313 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||5.5 s||5,5 l/100 km
US: 42,7 mpg
UK: 51,3 mpg
|640d xDrive||3.0 l N57D30T0||313 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||5.2 s||5,8 l/100 km
US: 40,5 mpg
UK: 48,7 mpg
Petrol/Gasoline engines list :
|Version||Engine||Power||Top Speed||Acceleration||Fuel Consumption|
|640i||3.0 l N55B30||320 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||5.4 s||7,6 l/100 km
US: 30,9 mpg
UK: 37,1 mpg
|650i||4.4 l N63B44||407 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||4.9 s||10,6 l/100 km
US: 22,2 mpg
UK: 26,6 mpg
|650i||4.4 l N63B44||450 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||4.6 s||8,7 l/100 km
US: 27 mpg
UK: 32,4 mpg
|650i xDrive||4.4 l N63B44||407 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||4.8 s||11,4 l/100 km
US: 20,6 mpg
UK: 24,7 mpg
|650i xDrive||4.4 l N63B44||450 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||4.4 s||9,2 l/100 km
US: 25,5 mpg
UK: 30,7 mpg
|M6||4.4 l S63TUB44A||560 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||4.2 s||9,9 l/100 km
US: 23,7 mpg
UK: 28,5 mpg
|M6 Competition||4.4 l S63TUB44A||575 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||4.1 s||9,9 l/100 km
US: 23,7 mpg
UK: 28,5 mpg
|M6 Competition||4.4 l S63TUB44A||600 hp||250 km/h or 155 mph||3.9 s||9,9 l/100 km
US: 23,7 mpg
UK: 28,5 mpg
3.0 l N57 diesel Engines
The 3.0 L N57 6-cylinder diesel engine can be called outstanding. In addition to being quite reliable, it has low fuel consumption and is able to offer great performance. In addition to the simple Monoturbo (one turbine) version, there are Biturbo (two turbines) and Triturbo (three turbines) versions.
On the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06, the N57D30 engine is only available with two turbines.
The 3-litre 6-cylinder N57 engine is very reliable and you rarely run into problems with it. On a well treated engine, only after 250 – 300,000 km (155 – 185 k miles) will there be major investments to be made.
After 150 – 200,000 km (95 – 125 k miles) there may be problems with the throttle valve (due to some plastic elements that wear out) and with the crankshaft pulley. Around 250,000 km (155 k miles) the high pressure pump which costs a lot could fail. Injectors aren’t immortal either. When they fail, it turns out that they are difficult to repair and cost a lot.
It’s better not to joke with the injection system. A high pressure pump in bad condition can produce metal shavings which spread throughout the system, damaging the injectors and other components. The final costs will be great for cleaning and replacing the spoiled pieces. To minimize the risk of having such problems, you need to use high quality fuel and change the diesel filter at every service.
After 200 – 250,000 km (125 – 155 k miles) the timing chains must be replaced, which generally stretch at these mileages. The chain is positioned in the rear part of the engine and to change it it is necessary to extract the engine (even if some mechanics manage to change it without extracting).
The turbines are long-lived, generally lasting at least 150 – 200 thousand km (95 – 125 k miles). However, malfunctions could occur due to the vacuum transducers or because of the vacuum tubes.
Common problems of diesel Engines
All diesel engines can have problems with the injection system at high mileage. Even the anti-pollution systems are not too reliable: the EGR valve gets dirty and stops working, the DPF filter clogs up and starts to hinder engine operation (especially if the car is mainly used in town).
3.0 l N55 series Engine
The 3.0 l N55 engine meets on the 640i version. It is a powerful, pleasant, widespread and interesting engine.
This is a modern high-tech BMW 6-cylinder engine. It is equipped with Vanos, Valvetronic and Twin-Scroll turbine technologies. It also has direct injection with complex injectors and many other technical choices that make it performing and pleasant. However, all of this can cause problems if not maintained properly.
The injectors and high-pressure pump can fail due to low-quality petrol. Due to the rare oil changes and the high operating temperatures (which can rise considerably if the cooling system is not cleaned) the turbine, Vanos, Valvetronic, various rubber and plastic elements can also fail. Accumulations of dirt can form in the intake which must be cleaned.
The ignition system (spark plugs and coils) must be monitored and kept in good condition. Over time, some sensors may fail which will not have very low costs.
A well treated engine shouldn’t disappoint.
4.4 l N63 Engine
The N63 engine series contains the first V8-type turbo-petrol engines from the German manufacturer. During the production period, the engines have undergone several modernizations and therefore the various versions can differ in terms of performance and reliability.
A new aluminum cylinder block with a lightweight crank mechanism was developed for the 4.4 l N63. The cylinder heads feature Bi-VANOS / Dual-VANOS variable valve timing system on the intake and exhaust shafts.
The supercharging system uses two Garrett MGT22S turbochargers operating in parallel and located in the central part of the block together with the exhaust.
In 2012, the engine was modernized and received the designation N63TU. Here are new pistons with modified bottoms, new connecting rods and an adapted crankshaft. The cylinder head was redesigned to use the Valvetronic III valve lift system (as on the N55), the direct fuel injection system was modified (now as TVDI).
There have also been modernizations for the VANOS system. The cooling system and the lubrication system have been improved, the intake has been improved, the exhaust has remained the same. The management system is Bosch MEVD17.2.8.
A further modernization took place in 2015 when the engine took the name N63TU2. This update also brought major changes: new pistons, new oil scraper rings, new oil injectors and oil pump, new intake and exhaust manifolds, adapted high pressure pump, new cooling system and much more. The turbines became twin-scroll MGT2256DSL. The control unit is a Bosch DME 8.8.0.
The N63TU3 version arrived in 2018, but this no longer applies to the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06.
Even after a simple description of these engines, it is clear that they are very complex. As a result they are capricious and troublesome. The amount of possible problems is really great.
The most famous problem is large oil consumption caused by worn valve stem seals and oil scraper rings. In the worst cases (use of low-quality fuel, infrequent oil changes, overheating), this problem can be pronounced already at 50 thousand km (30 k miles). At higher mileages the problem can also be caused by wear on the cylinder block which in this case will have to be replaced.
Due to the “soft” aluminum cylinder block, the cylinder head mountings can become weak and the cylinder head can lift slightly. Simple spark plugs here fail very quickly and misfire may appear. To solve this, you need to fit the spark plugs used on the M versions.
After a long stop it is possible to get a destruction of the pistons due to leaking piezo injectors. The injectors have been modernized several times and only the latest revisions have solved the problem.
The oil pipes going to the turbines gradually become clogged, so over time they are lubricated worse and fail. The problem is accentuated by the fact that the turbines get very hot due to their position and therefore also heat up the oil pipes. Precisely for this reason it is important to use only high quality oil, replace it often and let the turbines cool down after aggressive use.
Due to the high engine temperatures, the pipes of the cooling system also suffer. The timing mechanism and the dual-VANOS and Valvetronic systems do not last too long.
Only newer production (hence modernized) engines that have been treated very well will have relatively good reliability.
4.4 l S63 Engine
The S63 4.4 l V8 turbo petrol sports engine is installed in models of the M series. Here it is encountered in the BMW M6 and M6 Competition respectively. The unit is based on the weaker brother N63 we talked about above, but it also introduces many innovations necessary to support the greater power and the greater efforts.
Despite the fact that the S63 engine has been modified and strengthened, it has the same problems as its N63 sibling. In addition, it is much more often abused and overloaded, so the probability of finding it in bad condition is greater.
With such an engine you have to be careful and check it down to the smallest detail before a possible purchase.
Conclusions and Advice & Tips for buying used
BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06 is a very interesting car. It is a typical BMW with a sporty character that manages to guarantee very pleasant driving sensations (especially for those who appreciate rear-wheel drive). The well-equipped versions with powerful engines will be particularly interesting. By purchasing this model, you must be prepared to incur relatively large maintenance costs.
To spend less you can choose a simpler version that will still offer a great deal of luxury. If you choose the right version, it won’t disappoint from a reliability point of view either.
You can also evaluate the competitors of the BMW 6 Series F12/F13/F06. Obviously the direct competitors will be the other Germans of the same type: Mercedes-Benz E Coupé W212, Mercedes-Benz CLS C218 and Audi A7.
The most important thing is to find a car in good general condition.