20 Aug 2015

Visiting Marseille, France with the new BMW 6 Series

To me, France is quickly turning into the 26 Bus of countries; you live most of your life just near the route, without giving it a secondary thought, then something comes up and you have to use said route twice in the space of as many months. In May I had the opportunity to join the BMW team, to spend two days driving around Marseille. The South of France was selected for its long winding roads, Instagram-able views and extra fancy foods. BMW offered us three brand new models of the 6 Series; The Coupé, the Gran Coupé and the Convertible – perfect for the expected sunny weather.

How could I say no?

I arrived in beautiful city of Marseille, with only one thought it mind - rest. But, we were straight out to dinner, to familiarise ourselves with our driving buddies for the next two days. The chaps from Cool Material, MenswearStyle + Ape To Gentleman were all ready to push the BMW 6 Series to the limits. We discussed our driving routes over steak + beers, before getting an early night.

The next day started with a short visit to the BMW test track. After a brief introduction we had to choose between the BMW 6 Series 650i Coupé in Individual Citrin Black, the BMW 6 Series 650i xDrive Gran Coupé in Space Grey, and the BMW 6 Series 640d Convertible in Mediterranean Blue.

The cars in front of us weren’t straight off the shelf, all there were custom-equipped for the trip, with each differing in terms of interior, exterior and technology. We went with the Coupé for its subtle colour, and the individual features, the interior was especially doing it for me, which was finished in Individual Piano Black, with full leather "Individual Merino" trim (these names hey...). 

The car utilises cooling technology which keeps the leather of your seats and steering wheel as cool as you fancy - bearing in mind the day’s soaring temperature we made sure “chilled” was our setting of choice. With all this in mind, we knew we made the right choice.

Our journey began on the outskirts of Marseille + Miramas, where we weaved our way through unfamiliar surroundings; steep inclines; ridiculously narrow roads and colourful vineyards. Expecting to visit Marseille city centre, we took direction to steered clear due to its infamous traffic jams, and enjoy some of the most beautiful views Europe has to offer.

We put the BMW Coupé through its paces, but it barely broke into a sweat, thanks to the cars Driving Dynamics. While driving from Miramas to a mountainous town of Le Tholonet we experienced top drawer road handling and high-precision steering. Am I sounding like a pro yet?!

Well here's some more details: There's a camera-based Approach Control Warning, which is part of the Lane Departure Warning System. It's a camera that captures the lane markings on the road, which immediately reminded us if we were leaving the lane by emitting a smooth vibration through the steering wheel. This makes an extremely comfy ride - especially for one which led us through the crazy busy, cobbled market town of Aix-en-Provence.

 Photo by MenswearStyle

One of the coolest features of this 6 Series Coupé was BMW ConnectedDrive, which provide the driver with a wide range of information, entertainment and service features while on the road. It gives advice on the best local attractions to visit, and direct access to 27/4 to Concierge Services (they can reroute your Sat Nav if needed!). For me this feature was a highlight, as much as I enjoy the freedom of being lost but I like the safety of knowing we have a contingency plan. We called our concierge, and a few minutes later we ended up at a quaint restaurant, just five minutes from where we called from. Success!

Another really handy function was the Head-up display; which displays the speedometer and SatNav in the driver's windshield – particularly nice in high resolution full colour mode. This means we were able to select which information to display in addition to the information we received from the Driver Assistance Systems. It appears as if the display is about 2 metres in front of you, which sounds distracting but I got used to it within minutes, and it quickly became second-nature; adjusting its positioning horizontally + vertically to suit our height, via the iDrive Touch Controller.

The brightness of the Head-Up displays automatically adjusts to suit the current light conditions, which came in handy when we took the motorway back to the hotel from dinner in Aix-en-Provence. This leads us to the Adaptive LED Headlights, which automatically takes care of any lighting worries. In the dark the movable headlights allowed us to see far into the distance, with then system sensing the presence of vehicles in front, adjusting the high-beam lights to avoid dazzling other cars. It's a lot to take in, but all super helpful stuff.

Having only previously handled compact cars I was a little nervous about being behind the wheel of something so powerful. My driving partner, Craig from MenswearStyle, had a little more experience than me, but for a car of this size it really didn't feel any more difficult to handle than a city car - albeit for the hairy mountain roads.

We stopped briefly to take some photos in front of a mountain range, which gave us a chance to take a look at the exterior of the 650i Coupé. The car was equipped with the Design Pure Experience; a package that underlines its athletic + sporty body type. It includes, for example, a high-gloss front Kidney grille. Soon after, we got chatting to some local French fellas, who seemed impressed we'd made it this far up the mountain - I'm not sure it was down to our driver skills though, rather the car's ability to cope with any environment.

With the other groups testing out the 6 Series Gran Coupé + Convertible for the day, we arranged to met up that evening for dinner, to discuss today's events (we ended up in a mountain range which had a prehistoric excavations, and circled the same roundabout 20 times to get a perfect photo - beat that!) and how we liked each car. We loved the Coupé for its power and sporty aesthetic  , but we couldn't wait to see what the Gran Coupé had to offer.

For a day that most definitely required heavy amounts of suncream + air con on full blast, we couldn't have asked for any more. Totally surreal. But how could it be topped? The last words we heard that evening were, "see you at 8am sharp at the track". Stay tuned for part two.

For more information on the BMW 6 Series click here.

This post is in partnership with BMW.


  1. James Brown08:52

    So jealous! Love the 6 series.


  2. I know nothing about BMWs but an adventure like this sounds awesome!

  3. Whaaat this sounds like such a fun time! I'm envious!

  4. Oh my gosh! This sounds like an incredible experience!!

  5. I remember seeing some of these shots on your instagram, but didn't really know what you were up to in France. Looks like a great little adventure, definitely a place to visit on my bucket list.

  6. Wow, this sounds like it was such a fun experience! Beautiful photos!

  7. Albert Wijaya07:58

    Such a wonderful photos! Seems you have a great time! :)

    Best, Albert | Palming Pebbles
    Palming Pebbles FB

  8. I did, thanks Albert. Love the photos.

  9. It was quite an exeprience yes, just wait for part 2!

  10. This is what i'm being up to, zooming about! France was lovely, it's so close to us too.

  11. It was a little nutsy, Jane! France was ace.

  12. I know very little too, but these chaps gave us a lot of info to work with! It was fun spending time in Marseille.

  13. We had a good time, but just wait for part 2!

  14. Gemma S22:10

    wowzer, such a super trip. Sounds like like you had a hoot x

  15. Such sleek design - must have been awesome to drive ;)


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