BMW 640d Gran Coupe vs. Mercedes CLS 350 CDI vs. Porsche Panamera

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AutoExpress magazine pits the all-new BMW 640d Gran Coupe against some of its segment competitors, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 CDI and Porsche’s four-door gran tourer, …

AutoExpress magazine pits the all-new BMW 640d Gran Coupe against some of its segment competitors, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 CDI and Porsche’s four-door gran tourer, Panamera.

The £63,900 640d Gran Coupe is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 313 horsepower and 630 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. 0 to 62 mph is said to come in 5.4 seconds. The segment creator, Mercedes CLS, in its 350 CDI variant is priced at £54,210. Under the hood, the 350 CDI packs a 3.0-liter V6 diesel which outputs 256 horsepower capable of the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in just 6.2 seconds. Closing the circle is the Porsche Panamera, a £62,134 diesel machine powered by 3.0-liter engine that develops 247 horsepower and 55. 0-60mph is covered in 6.5 seconds.

Out of the bunch, AutoExpress picks the Mercedes CLS 350 CDI as the winner, followed closely by the new 640d Gran Coupe. But let’s have a look at how the magazine came to this conclusion:

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2nd Place – BMW 640d Gran Coupe

Thankfully, one area of the Gran Coupe that didn’t divide opinion was the drivetrain. While the engine is based on the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel that appears in the 7 Series, in the 6 Series it offers 10bhp more. The car also features a newer transmission: an eight-speed auto borrowed from the 5 Series range.

Despite being such a mix and match, the 640d’s drivetrain works beautifully. With deep reserves of low-range pulling power and perfectly spaced ratios, the car punches out of corners with an eagerness that belies its 1,865kg kerbweight. Plus, the box has a manual function that allows shifts via a pair of neatly fashioned steering wheel paddles, and this ensured the BMW was the only car of our test trio that felt happy letting its driver make the choices.

Thanks to its 5 Series underpinnings, the Gran Coupe also delivers when it comes to driving dynamics. It strikes a fine balance between sportiness and refinement – soaking up surface imperfections without robbing the driver of feedback from the road surface. The front end is accurate and easy to place, while the car’s agility through twisting sections of tarmac speaks volumes for BMW’s chassis know-how.

But if we have a criticism of the Gran Coupe, it has to be value for money. With a basic price of £63,900, the 640d is the most expensive car in this test – it costs £1,766 more than the Panamera and £9,690 more than the CLS. Although the BMW does come with a generous kit list, it offers no more space or performance than its two rivals here. So while it’s an easy car to love, your devotion will be sorely tested when you’re asked to sign on the dotted line.

Full 640d Gran Coupe review

1st Place – Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 CDI

Unlike BMW, Mercedes doesn’t reserve special engine options solely for the CLS range. The 265bhp 3.0-litre CDI diesel and standard seven-speed automatic box will be familiar to owners of other Mercedes, and the car proves a fair match for the more powerful BMW, recording a 0-60mph time that’s only half-a-second slower. It also feels quicker and more eager to accelerate than the Gran Coupe, particularly from low speeds.

Away from the track, our CLS didn’t seem quite as sharp as its rivals. It’s composed and capable through a series of turns, but the steering feels over-assisted, particularly at low speeds. And despite our car’s £1,500 optional air-suspension, the ride wasn’t quite as supple as the smooth BMW’s.

However, the Mercedes looks something of a bargain against the competition here. Even after you’ve added creature comforts such as air-suspension, dynamic massage seats and upgraded leather trim, you’ll still be paying thousands less than you would for the BMW or Porsche.

So while the CLS isn’t perfect, with such a significant price advantage it’s easy to overlook the car’s few failings.

Full review

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10 responses to “BMW 640d Gran Coupe vs. Mercedes CLS 350 CDI vs. Porsche Panamera”

  1. Giom says:

    Second English mag with this outcome. Basically, it reads like this: the BMW Grand Coupe is the best car here! But the Merc is the Merc, so it wins!

    Boggles the mind!

  2. Alen Residovic says:

    Don’t agree. I always say BMW is BMW. In this review here the things go like this. Bmw gran coupe is the best, but the Merc is much cheaper, and isn’t that much worse. And it’s the founder of the class, so it gets extra credit…

  3. BMW The Best says:

    This is the case when I say that some reviewers are absolute idiots. To me, if one can afford paying about GBP60,000 for a car, they will undoubtedly pay GBP 5,000 more without a problem. The most important thing is that BMW wins in all aspects, especially it’s nice to see that BMW beats the Benz in comfort as well, and the price difference isn’t that big. So let them declare the Benz a winner solely by the price advantage, and we’ll drive the best car in its class: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.

    • says:

      Very true Mercedes does not sell as much they would like to and lowered the price , on most cases Mercedes is higher prices, and now the Posche VW , that is their new name for me ! since they have been bought fully by VW , now this great Co. will be dominated by a Board of people who are only interested in growing !!

  4. pimeto says:

    lol, what a stupid review… Mercedes is the best here because it’s cheaper ? What kind of a moron is this reviewer ?? Even thought he says the BMW is superior from technological poin, design wise he chooses the Merc ? Pure idiotism of a poor person.

  5. viper says:

    very interesting seeing how cheaper the cls is…..I didn’t know that , but the difference in that price range isn’t worth having a cheaper option in my opinion (the cls)

    although I find the cls the most stunning MB in quite some time and it’s a second generation I really belive that bmw somehow doesn’t look too special for this segment but delivers the best performance and overall lets be honest it is the best car here , best buy , the total package , the 640d costs more than rivals but really who cares , what a stupid magazine , every other time it is the Merc who is more expensive but also wins , I understand its reputation , but the ‘quality’ days of an ordinary benz are long gone..just look at the 65amg’s prices, they are unrachable . I havent driven any of these three cars , but I like how the Merc looks and also Id like to give it a shoot for a 6er because after a drive and day spent with these two I think Id go for the 6er , it is the best looking production bmw ever , it drives like a bmw , its more softy than a merc(?!) and has a really premium price , so the 6er there , make that in some frozen blue , the tri turbo diesel or a 50i and sport pack.

  6. BMW BEST says:

    LOL,Judge a car by its price?If the BMW 6 GC is not better than the CLS just because of its price is higher,then I think Bugatti Veyron,Rolls Royce,Koenigsegg and others are all piece of sh|ts due to its untouchable price.Am I right?How idiot this magazine is?

  7. come on the Engine alone can beat both the CLS And the Panamera not mentioning other aspects i think that review comes from a Bimmer hater

  8. avto says:

    BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe <3

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