BMW 6-Series GT
The best of the 5-Series and 7-Series, in one great package
BMW has been trying to find the right niche in its model line up for the GT range and it seems it has hit the sweet spot with the 640i Gran Turismo as we discover on
driving the car in Lisbon
BMW has been the constant innovator as far as new designs and body styles go. BMW was actually the originator of the SUV when it first launched the X5 and then followed it up with the cross between an SUV and a coupe in the form of the X6. Similarly BMW had also taken the comfort of a luxury sedan and merged it to the attractive body-style of a coupe to form a modern day Gran Turismo and it did it first with a vehicle that was called the 5GT. With 7-Series under-pinnings, not only was the 5GT larger than the 5-Series, it also had more characteristics of the 7-Series than it had of the 5. Of course, the next car in this experiment was the 3GT and its reception gave BMW the incentive to rework the 5GT into an all new car, the 6-Series Gran Turismo.
In the words of Ian Robertson, member of the board of management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Brand BMW - “The BMW 6
Series Gran Turismo offers a unique combination of luxurious interior comfort and flexible practicality, packaged within a truly elegant design. Coupled with the sporty, dynamic driving characteristics our customers enjoy, this car is an outstanding vehicle which further enhances the upper end of our BMW model line up”.
Compared to the earlier 5GT, the 6GT is longer and lower while keeping the same width and this adds beauty to its side profile that already has doors with frameless windows both at the front and rear. While from the front the 6GT has a more distinctive presence with all LED headlamps and DRLs, the more sharply raked A-pillars also give it a planted look. The highest point of the car is now over the B-pillars from where the roofline looks even more coupe-like as it flows into the rear which sits much lower than on the previous iteration of the GT.
On the inside, it is like a coming together of the more driver-oriented 5-Series and the more luxurious 7-Series. The cockpit takes a lot from the 5-Series and incorporates the entire tech that we recently saw on the new car while the rear has lots of space to seat three without too much discomfort despite the heavily sloping roofline. The rear seat-backs are 40:20:40
INSIDE THE CAR, IT’S LIKE A COMING TOGETHER OF THE DRIVER-ORIENTED 5-SERIES AND THE MORE LUXURIOUSLY APPOINTED 7-SERIES
split and can also be electrically reclined for comfort. Rear seat entertainment was fitted on the test cars and should come standard on the India cars. And that brings us to the boot, which at 610 litres is spacious by itself but with the rear-seat-backs folded over increases to a cavernous 1,600 litres.
The car we drove was the 640i that comes with the straight-six TwinPower turbo engine that is good for 340bhp and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. And with 150kg of weight loss over the earlier GT, the car was expected to be sprightly, a larger version of the 5-Series. The car has the BMW EfficientDynamics technologies built in and with energy recuperation and an co-efficient of drag as low as 0.25, this is one of the more efficient BMWs.
Here is where the 6GT surprised us. With air suspension standard on the rear axle (2-axle air suspension with active roll stabilization and dynamic damper control is optional in Europe but may come standard in India) being selected to the comfort mode, the car has a ride quality that would challenge that of even the 7-Series. The engine responds enthusiastically to the throttle and the twinpower turbo does not feel any lag at all but the car even in the sport mode is not reminiscent of BMW of yore. Gone is the sporty machine and in comes the glider, very much in keeping with the character that the company has tried to build up of this car. What is missing though is the BMW flavor of sportiness even when the Sport setting is selected.
On the inside the car is comfortable with all the driver assistance systems seen on the 5-Series now present on the car. For the rear seat passengers, in addition to the rear seat entertainment is the electrically reclining rear seat-back. And if that is not all, the rear seat-back is split 40:20:40 and each part can be folded over to increase boot space from 610 litres all the way upto 1800 litres.
The 6GT also gets the BMW display key and like with the 7-Series, the 6GT too can be remotely parked using the display key.
But where the 6GT make a giant leap forward is for the audiophile. Not only are two systems available to choose from: a Harman Kardon system with 16 speakers as well as an active 10-channel 16-speaker Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system which sounds even better because of the acoustic glass being used in the car.
WHAT SURPRISED US WAS THAT THE 6GT HAS RIDE QUALITY THAT WOULD CHALLENGE THAT OF EVEN THE
1. BMW TwinPower turbo engine features a twinscroll turbocharger, direct injecion, fully-variable valve control and variable camshaft timing producing 340bhp of max power and 450Nm of peak torque. 2.
610 litres of boot space can be increased to 1,800 litres by folding the rear seat-backs. There is flexibility too with a 40:20:40 split rear seat-back. 3. Frameless front and rear windows. 4. An active rear spoiler
on the boot-lid can also be deployed manually
Ride quality, infotainment system, performance, space & rear seat comfort, features & equipment
Ground clearance, loss of BMW character
All the tech first seen on the 7-Series and the 5-Series finds its way to the 6 GT: 1. Gesture control for the infotainment system. 2. The M-line comes with the M-badge on the steering wheel. 3. A larger 10.25in customisable touchscreen is combined with a 70 per cent larger heads-up display. 4. New gen iDrive also
makes its debut
1 & 2. The rear seat-backs
are reclinable and it is easy to arrive at a comfortable seat position at the rear as well. 3 & 4. The sound system is one
of the key highlights on the 6 GT. One can choose from either a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround
Sound system featuring 16 speakers and an output of 1400W or a 16 speaker Harman Kardon system
with 600W output
BMW finally seems to have found its feet with its Gran Turismo strategy after having cut its teeth trying out the 5GT. The 6GT is all that both the 5 and the 7-Series are and a whole lot more. Not only does it offer the cutting-edge tech and features BMW just unveiled on its 5-Series but also the comfort and languid ease that comes with the 7-Series and is probably the only car that can take it to the 7 with its ride quality. Somewhat missing is the sporty dynamics one associates with a
BMW but that is nearly all made up by the crisp engine and its sporty tone as well as a dynamic design. There is nothing quite like the 6GT in the Indian market yet and in a package that is practical to both buy and own.