Once upon a time a carmaker’s range would just include saloon, estate and coupé if you were lucky. But BMW has been in the forefront of extending customer choice, with an ever-widening range of models to suit every taste and need. The 6 Series Gran Turismo is one such model; a combination of coupé profile, hatchback practicality, SUV ride height and luxury saloon passenger accommodation, it’s ideal for the kind of long-distance, high-speed journeys that the name Gran Turismo evokes.
The predecessor to the 6 Series Gran Turismo was the 5 Series GT, which had a lot of great qualities but, some felt, a rather awkward shape. That’s all forgotten with the 6 Series Gran Turismo, which is based on the platform of the 7 Series saloon and is 8cm longer than the 5 GT. This gives the 6 Gran Turismo a more coupé-like profile, as well as a lower roofline and sleeker rear end treatment. To ensure that it still tracks arrow-straight and true at autobahn speeds, there’s an automatically extending rear spoiler. Active radiator grille flaps, a front air curtain and turbulence-calming air breathers for the front wheels contribute to an excellent 0.25 drag coefficient.
You’d expect a BMW 6 Series of any shape to be capable of
impressive acceleration and relaxed high-speed cruising and you won’t be
disappointed in the 6 Series Gran Turismo. The entry-level petrol 630i, which
is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, develops 258bhp and is capable
of 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds, while the six-cylinder 640i develops 340bhp and can
hit 62mph in just 5.3 seconds. There’s also a 265bhp 630d diesel which will appeal
to company car taxpayers thanks to a CO2 figure of 129 g/km and a
highly respectable 0-62mph time of 6.1s. The 630i is only offered with
two-wheel drive, while BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is standard on the
640i and optional on the 630d.
BMW’s 6 Series is a delight for technophiles but the proven iDrive system makes it easy even for ordinary mortals to command and communicate with the sophisticated infotainment system. To operate iDrive you can use the control knob, voice command, touchscreen or even BMW’s new gesture control – wave your finger in a circular direction and magically the hi-fi volume will increase or decrease (if you love to gesture while talking to your passengers, take care…) There’s a wide range of tech packages including Rear Comfort, M Sport Plus, Premium and Surround Sound packages. All models come with BMW Professional navigation and BMW ConnectedDrive, which includes BMW Emergency Call, BMW Online Services, BMW TeleServices and Real Time Traffic Information.
A large, strong and immensely stiff bodyshell makes the 6 Series Gran Turismo a secure citadel in which to travel, and there’s a wealth of high-technology to protect you in the event of an accident as well as to prevent it happening in the first place. These include all-round airbags including head protection airbags for rear-seat passengers as well as those in front; electronic chassis tech includes Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control and Active Guard, which primes the brakes if it senses a collision is imminent and can bring the car to a complete halt in city driving if it feels the driver hasn’t reacted in time.
Verdict: The 6 Series Gran Turismo feels like the answer to the person who wants a whole fleet of cars but only has room to park one. It’s sleek and aerodynamic for motorway cruising, has a handy hatchback for luggage and sports gear, is immensely spacious front and rear and gives the driver an elevated driving position – not quite SUV height, but not coupé low either. It’s a true all-rounder.