Like most car enthusiasts, when I see a car on the street that catches my attention, chances are I will end up going online to look at how much a second-hand one costs. So having recently seen a 'black-on-black' BMW 645ci (E63) with a rather nice-sounding aftermarket exhaust, I spent a good bit of time on used car websites trying to find out how much little money can get you one, and on YouTube to see which aftermarket exhaust makes it sound best.
The 2003-2010 6-Series was introduced when BMW’s design department was under Chris Bangle. It made use of a reincarnated version of BMW’s distinct ‘shark nose’ for the front, a rather odd-looking rear end, and a few Bangle-style creases here and there – making today’s pretty-looking F10 6-Series look rather conservative in comparison. Although it didn’t have the sharp lines of some of Bangle’s other designs, the E63 definitely had some visual impact.
The E63 was available as either a four seat coupe or convertible, and could be had with an automatic, SMG (BMW’s then single-clutch automated manual), or manual transmission – all of which had six speeds, except for the M6 which had a seven-speed SMG. Engine options included: a 3.0-litre inline-six in the 630ci (258hp and 300Nm of torque), a 4.4-litre V8 in the 645ci (333hp and 450Nm of torque), a 4.8-litre V8 in the 650ci (364hp and 487Nm of torque), and the high-revving 5.0-litre V10 found in the M6 (507hp and 520Nm of torque). The 635d was the only diesel option for the E63 6-Series, being equipped with a twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline-six producing 286hp and an M6-beating 580Nm of torque.
The motoring press loved the M6, and who wouldn’t with that V10 engine and handling sorted out by BMW’s M Division. While the M6 got most of the attention, the 645ci wasn’t that bad either. Sure, it didn’t have the handling or power of the M6, but for gathering speed and having fun at seven tenths, it wasn’t bad at all. Acceleration from 0-100km/h could be reached as fast as 5.4 seconds, depending on body type and transmission. Top speed was limited to 250km/h, while the average fuel consumption figure was 11.8l/100km, and its CO2 output was 283g/km.
YouTube shows that the 645ci’s V8 has no problem emitting a muscle car-like roar when fitted with an aftermarket exhaust system, and to me, a set up like in this video really makes it stand out even more. It isn’t so loud as to be obnoxious, but it gives just the right amount of rumble to keep you and everyone else happy – almost like the one I saw a few days back.
Prices? In the Euro zone, you can have a 645ci for less than 14,000 euros. However with a price like that, you’re looking at a car with over 150,000km. BMWs are fairly reliable, so if the previous owner took good care of their car, getting them fixed and serviced at a BMW dealer, you shouldn’t be too worried. If high mileage bothers you, then you can get a 645ci for around 17,000 euros for cars with less than 100,000km. In the UK, an example with less than 60,000 miles can be had for as little as £9,000, while US cars with similar mileage are in the $20,000 region.
Prices like those show how affordable good performance has become to us mere mortals, and that you’re never too far away from owning a fairly modern premium brand car. But, remember that these cars are cheap for a reason: costly insurance premiums and high servicing costs. If you’re ready to cough up above average money for those two aspects, then the 645ci is a great way to enjoy some premium brand performance.
By Alex Kisiri