BMW 645: Return of the Bavarian Grand Tourer
When BMW announced they were resurrecting the iconic 6-Series back in 2003 the news was met with high expectations. Were they really going to make a worthy successor to the beloved E24 that ended production sixteen years prior?
The result was a little controversial, but generally well received by enthusiasts and critics alike. It was introduced in 2003 as the 645 with chassis designation E63 for the coupe and E64 for the convertible.
The design was heavily based on the Z9 concept from the 1999 Frankfurt Auto Show. While the E63 didn’t get the wild gull-wing doors of the Z9, it did adopt much of its design.
It’s a bit of a departure from what the rest of the brand was doing design-wise. It remained distinctly BMW with its kidney shaped grill but didn’t quite share the same corporate face or rear end of the 3, 5, or 7 series at the time. The 645 was also blessed with big, bold rims very similar to the ones on the Z9 concept.
E63, A bit experimental for BMW
The new E63 was a bit experimental for BMW. They introduced liberal use of aluminum to save weight and ultimately improve handling and efficiency. It had a few things in common with the 5-Series at the time (E60) including a similar, shortened chassis. It was also an early adopter of BMW iDrive. The iDrive was one of the very early “infotainment” systems that are extremely common in modern cars. It had an LCD screen with a small joystick to control it. This system controlled climate, navigation, communication, and entertainment. Looking at it now it’s rather familiar since it’s generated so many copy-cats. When the system was new, however, it was one of the origins of the industry standard.
Power came from a 4.4 liter V8 making respectable 329 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. This motor could also be found in the 5-Series, 7-Series, and X5 SUV. It’s worth noting that this was the only coupe available with the venerable V8. Of course, it was available with either an automatic or manual transmission giving you the option for a more active driving experience. With only one excellent engine and two outstanding transmissions available, it’s impossible to find a bad configuration for this car.
The powerful engine, sleek styling, and luxurious interior made for a proper grand touring coupe. You have the prestige of a BMW, the V8 or a performance car, and style unlike anything else. These have become very sought-after cars in the used market. With depreciation, they’ve become one of the best values you can find in German performance cars. Having a convertible option for drivers who want the wind in their face have made these cars even more desirable. It’s hard to find more bang for your buck than a BMW 645.
A devoted following has created an enthusiastic community surrounding the E63 making it easy to find answers about the car online. Just about every fix has been solved and countless performance and aesthetic modifications have been attempted on this platform. Even purists who long admired the E24 approved of the return of the 6-Series. It was executed in a way that remained true to the original; a big, fancy touring car that’s built to handle the Autobahn.