M Sport Gran Turismo

Alpine Observer - - North East Motor Guide - EWAN KENNEDY

fea­tures around them – or giv­ing mock royal waves along the Gov­ern­ment House drive­way – our two rear seat oc­cu­pants loved the space and com­fort pro­vided to them.

There’s a 610-litre boot, ex­tend­able with 40:20:40 rear seat­backs down. Au­to­matic tail­gate op­er­a­tion is al­ways fun. IN­FO­TAIN­MENT Both vari­ants use BMW’s iDrive6 in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem dis­played on a 10.25inch touch­screen in the cen­tre of the dash­board which can also be con­trolled by ei­ther the tra­di­tional ro­tary dial mounted on the cen­tre con­sole or by voice con­trol.

Di­rectly in front of the driver is a 12.3-inch multi-func­tion in­stru­ment dis­play screen that can be cus­tomised to the driver’s pref­er­ences.

The sound sys­tem is a 16-speaker Har­mon/Kar­don unit, there are two USB sock­ets, ex­tended Blue­tooth func­tion­al­ity, DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio and a wire­less smart­phone charg­ing pad. SAFETY In ad­di­tion to the stan­dard range of safety equip­ment the 6 Se­ries sedans have a pack­age of ad­vanced fea­tures called Driv­ing As­sis­tant Plus that in­clude ac­tive cruise con­trol; steer­ing and lane con­trol as­sist; lane keep­ing as­sist and de­par­ture warn­ing; ac­tive side col­li­sion pro­tec­tion; front and rear cross-traf­fic warn­ing; cross­roads warn­ing; eva­sion aid; and rear col­li­sion pre­ven­tion.

Both vari­ants also get en­hanced M Sport brakes.

Also stan­dard is Park­ing As­sis­tant Plus which in­cludes au­to­mated park­ing; front and rear park dis­tance con­trol; and front, rear and top view cam­eras.

There’s also a head-up dis­play to re­duce the amount of time the driver’s eyes are di­verted from the road ahead. DRIV­ING The BMW 630i is a nat­u­ral grand tourer – our down and back cruise along the M1 be­tween the Cen­tral Coast and Syd­ney was smooth and re­laxed both for the car and its oc­cu­pants. The in­te­rior is ex­tremely quiet.

Although there’s good vis­i­bil­ity to the front and sides the larger A-pil­lar can cause prob­lems around town and like­wise the slop­ing an­gle of the hatch also re­stricts rear­ward vis­i­bil­ity.

Once back to driv­ing solo we took off into our nor­mal semi-ru­ral route to try out the BMW Adap­tive 2-axle air-sus­pen­sion sys­tem. There are three modes the names of which ef­fec­tively ex­plain their pur­pose: EcoPro, Com­fort and Sport. Switch­ing to Sport mode al­lows the car to lower it­self by 10 mm and raise the rear spoiler for im­proved grip and trac­tion.

Al­ter­na­tively, the height can be raised by up to 20 mm to pro­vide ex­tra ground clear­ance for low-speed driv­ing on un­even roads.

The eight-speed gear­box is smooth and fast with shift pad­dles for DIY chang­ing.

While it’s un­likely that many buy­ers will be throw­ing the big Beemer around cor­ners it’s re­as­sur­ing to know that be­cause it sits rel­a­tively low it can be done safely.

At the end of our week with a blend of ur­ban, high­way and coun­try driv­ing fuel con­sump­tion av­er­aged out at a very ac­cept­able 8.1 L/100 km for such a large ve­hi­cle. SUM­MING UP It’s dif­fi­cult to cat­e­gorise the BMW 630i Gran Turismo. It looks like a coupe, but with the con­ve­nience of four pas­sen­ger doors, a load area that’s al­most to the level of a wagon and with its air sus­pen­sion raised to its highest level isn’t that far short of an SUV.

With its high qual­ity in­te­rior fin­ish, com­fort­able seats, large wind­screen and side win­dows and panoramic sun­roof it’s a lovely ve­hi­cle to just sit in. Although its nat­u­ral habi­tat is the Ger­man au­to­bahn it cruises smoothly, al­most silently and eco­nom­i­cally on our much slower mo­tor­ways.

All in all a very im­pres­sive and ver­sa­tile ve­hi­cle.

BIG BEEMER: BMW 630i GT looked right at home in the grounds of NSW Gov­ern­ment House.

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