BMWBLOG Test Drive: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

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BMW is not the first premium car manufacturer to design a four door coupe, but the Bavarians’ response to the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7 …

BMW is not the first premium car manufacturer to design a four door coupe, but the Bavarians’ response to the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7 is here now and ready to make a statement. The new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe served us over the course of a weekend and at the end of a few hundred miles trip, we were left with one question: “Where have you been my whole life”?

Yes, it is that impressive and in our opinion, one of the most stylish and best looking bimmers in the current line-up. First previewed in concept car form at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, the niche four door coupe joins the 6 Series family while sitting, price wise, between the 5 Series sedan and the flagship 7 Series.

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Design – A blend of classic and avant garde

The 6er Gran Coupe offers the practicality of a four-door automobile with the sporty and elegant lines of a premium coupe. Adrian Van Hooydonk’s designing team has done an excellent job embedding the classic BMW design icons with the new design language seen across the 6er family. From the beginning the designers were concerned with proportions, just 4.5-inch longer than the 6-series coupe and convertible, yet the body gives the impression of long and lean lines, even when compared to the 7 Series. The long hood stretches out the front giving the car a road-focused look and “shark nose” with the top grill leaning forward gives the car an aggressive look. At the rear, the roof line is reminiscent of a two door coupe and the “Gran Coupe” badge in the Hoffmeister Kink reminds us of the idea behind this model.

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And what’s a better place to match that design with the proper surroundings than the beautiful and scenic roads around Santa Barbara. Surrounded by vineyards and wealthy customers, the 6 Series Gran Coupe feels at home. The exterior design quickly turns heads and sparks conversations with those around: “Good looking BMW but different than what I’ve seen so far,” said a Porsche Panamera owner that just parked his car in Solvang city.  “Looks like a 6 Series but with extra doors and curvy looks.” We couldn’t agree more.

Inside, luxury at its best. The sweeping dashboard from the 6 Series models wraps around the driver, providing the connection between the car and the driver as mentioned many times by the design gurus in Munich. The quality of materials is higher than ever, from the fine leather and wood to the premium plastic found on buttons and other accessories. Alcantara headliner and laser-straight double-stitching show the premium value of the Gran Coupe. Add to this the Bang & Olufsen system and gadgetry like surround-view front cameras and Head-Up display, and the package becomes even more compelling.

Up front, you sit low and with plenty of room, the seats are snug and wrapped around you, but in the back, the idea of three passengers falls short due to the extension of the center console. For those of you on the tall side, long trips may become slightly uncomfortable.

Engine – A balance between power and efficiency

With the V8–powered 650i Gran Coupe coming to market only in August, the model of choice was the entry-level, six-cylinder 640i. Carrying under the hood the N55 3.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged unit, the sleek 640i is propelled by 315 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 330 pound-feet of torque, which comes together at 1,400 rpm and it’s flat until 4,500 rpm.

While the power is adequate for a 535i model, we felt that the nearly 4,200 lbs four-door coupe could benefit from a slightly more powered engine to satisfy our cravings for agility. But the truth of the matter is that BMW is aiming to find the perfect balance between efficiency and performance, a compelling offering for the demographic of this car. Mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox, the inline-six takes the 640i Gran Coupe from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.4 seconds, a straight line figure that won’t matter much since its purpose is quite unique.

Driving – A mixture of joy and calm

The 640i really shines on curvy roads where the extremely well balanced chassis handles our aggressive driving style without a hiccup. The car is quick to get into corners and when in Sport or Sport+ driving mode, it plants itself well into the road even at higher than advised speeds. The joy of driving is enhanced by the shifting paddles that invite you to more aggressive driving by sawing up and down the revs.

As one expects by now from modern BMWs, you can alter the suspension’s settings, as well as the transmission’s shifting, power delivery and the ESP settings by simply playing with the adaptive drive button. The driving modes range from Eco Pro to Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ (our favorite on this trip).

Our test model came equipped with the optional adaptive antiroll bars (Active Roll Stabilization, $2,500) and Integral Active Steering ($1,750). The latter option offers variable-ratio at the front, plus a rear end that steers out of phase with the fronts at low speed and in phase at high speed. This takes some time to get used to it while driving, but the increased stability at high speeds is well worth the money.

On plain straight lines the car turns into a perfectly civilized cruiser and high speeds could be easily overlooked, leading to unnecessary speeding tickets that some of our automotive colleagues with a “Need for Speed” experienced first hand. The ride is smooth and the softer driving modes provide a relaxing ambiance.

Should I buy one?

In the last decade BMW has been entering new niche markets and even though the sales volume projection for the Gran Coupe is fairly conservative, we believe that the high-end four-door coupe will make its way every year into the hands of a few thousands extrovert drivers. Its looks help us forget about the 5 Series Gran Turismo and gives us the confidence to declare the Gran Coupe as the best-looking BMW in production. The market has already been validated by Mercedes CLS and Audi A7, so the idea of coupe with four doors is infinite easier to describe or explain to future customers.

Even at $76,895, the 640i Gran Coupe is the most desirable 6 Series on sale and we dare to say, well worth the premium.


20 responses to “BMWBLOG Test Drive: BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe”

  1. Alexfox says:

    It is rather silly that you compare this car’s looks with the 5 GT!!! I am not sure how much you know about BMWs and the BMW design thought. Let me explain in a simple way for you. the 5 GT and the 6 GC are two completely different types of car. To compare the designs is like to compare the 1 series with the 3 series.
    Other than this rather odd and ill-informed commment, the rest of your commentary is consistent with what everyone else has so far said about the 6 GC. It is without doubt the best BMW on the market at present and it is likely to remain to be for at least the next 2 years before they bring out the X7.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      No one compared the looks to the 5GT, I only said that I’m glad the Gran Coupe erases the memory of the Gran Touring.

      And not bragging, but I know quite a bit about BMW design.

  2. empower says:

    i hope the 4 series is more gc then gt

    • JRobUSC says:

      Unless something changes there’s going to be a 3GT and a 4GC, so there’ll be one of each (and according to magazines who’ve studied the spy photos, the 3GT will be less bulky in the rear than the 5GT)

    • JRobUSC says:

      Unless something changes there’s going to be a 3GT and a 4GC, so there’ll be one of each (and according to magazines who’ve studied the spy photos, the 3GT will be less bulky in the rear than the 5GT)

    • JRobUSC says:

      Unless something changes there’s going to be a 3GT and a 4GC, so there’ll be one of each (and according to magazines who’ve studied the spy photos, the 3GT will be less bulky in the rear than the 5GT)

  3. Catfighter says:

    I agree with Alexfox. To compare this car’s looks and design with the GT is really stupid. The GC is a sport like design whereas the GT is regular plus design of a saloon.

    I think the review is done for the American market and hence it’s strange ignorance.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Okay guys, please point out where the comparison was made cause I simply don’t see it.

      “Its looks help us forget about the 5 Series Gran Turismo and gives us the confidence to declare the Gran Coupe as the best-looking BMW in production.”
      Not a comparison, but simply an indication that this is how a “Gran car” should look like, classic lines with an avantgarde approach

      • Catfighter says:

        But with great respect, that is not what you say in your own quote from your report.

        Again, please note that the GT is a different concept of a car.

        • Carlos Perez says:

          Horatiu is just sayin that bmw screwed up with the looks in the 5 GT, but that the 6 GC is just so sexy it help you to overlook the mistake that the 5gt was, and to note that BMW still can desing sexy looking cars

          • Horatiu B. says:

            Thank you Carlos, exactly!

            I guess next time I will spell it out :)

          • Nightcruz says:

            Oh dear. Let’s not be stupid now. Why can’t you be objective? Don’t diss the 5GT just for reason that you do not understand its otherwise very clever and sophisticated design concept. Not all BMWs are intended to be made for the common people. BMW sometimes likes to make exclusive cars for the more sophisticated clientele and the GT is just that sort of a car.

          • Horatiu B. says:

            It drive well, but the design…sorry, I would love to defend it but just doesn’t fit in the line-up at all. While the front looks good, the back is just not appealing.

            I think GT was meant to be a great niche car but sales say otherwise. They sold plenty, but many to corporate fleets in Europe.

            If there will ever be another GT, I am pretty sure it won’t resemble this one.

          • Nightcruz says:

            What you are essentially saying is that it is all about taste. One thing we all agree on and that is that the GT is a great car to drive. On the looks, I agree with you that it does not appeal to everyone. However, I have come across many who have actually said they love the look of the car (from front and back).
            As someone who makes a living out of acting as broker for many car makers, I have to say that the GT has remained the most admired on our list which ranges from the 1 series to the M cars in the BMW range. For example, we take more orders of the GT for the VIP market sector than we do for the standard 5 series.
            All in all, lets allow the GT to be one of those classic cars which never appealed to all. I think most BMW officials are actually quite proud of this. This is so that they can claim to be more than a mere maker of boring everyday cars.
            On the other hand,the GC is very much what you say it is. It is a great sexy beast with power, looks and much much more.
            Interesting for me is the number of orders we have had since May this year. We now have out done the initial figures we achieved for the X5 when it first came out in 2000. This indicates that the GC is likely to be a real success for BMW.
            Stay cool and lucky!

  4. jbh727 says:

    Thanks HB for the excellent review!! Your expert opinion is confirming for me that this will be my next BMW!! But I will wait for the 650i GC!!!

  5. Shark 28-28 says:

    Mr horatiu this car doesn’t make u only forget the 5 gt but even the Benz cls and the five doors coupe a 7 Audi , BMW did amazing job with the gran coupe can’t wait for the m6 gran coupe

  6. Shark 28-28 says:

    Mr horatiu the gran coupe doesn’t only make u forget the 5 gt but also the a7 and cls , panamera they did an amazing job can’t wait for the m 6 gran coupe

  7. Liam Chang says:

    Man, I really want that car now! Thanks for the comprehensive review

  8. Does anyone can identify the color of the GC in the photo gallery? Deep sea blue metallic?

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