BMW 6 SE­RIES GRAN TURISMO

BMW’S NEW GRAN TURISMO RE­VEALED

Driven - - Contents - Re­port by FERDI DE VOS | Images © BMW AG

A Gran Turismo for the ages

Since its con­cep­tion in 2009, the Gran Turismo model in the pre­vi­ous F10 5 Se­ries was an od­dity in the line-up. As the first-ever 5 avail­able in a fast­back body style, the GT was a pe­cu­liar fit and not that well ac­cepted within the range.

IN CON­TRAST, THE SPEC­TAC­U­LAR SALES PER­FOR­MANCE OF THE GRAN COUPÉ IN THE CUR­RENT 6 SE­RIES – SELL­ING MORE THAN THE COUPÉ AND CON­VERT­IBLE DERIVATES COM­BINED – CON­VINCED MU­NICH TO MOVE THE GT UP­MAR­KET – TO AN EVEN NUM­BER RANGE.

In­ter­est­ingly, the GT was the first model in the sixth gen­er­a­tion 5 Se­ries to be in­tro­duced, and sim­i­larly the new Gran Turismo is the first of the fourth in­car­na­tion of the 6 Se­ries.

It’s also the fourth body style in the range, but highly likely also the last – as it is ru­moured that the new GT will be sold along­side the cur­rent coupé, con­vert­ible, and Gran Coupé un­til it is ul­ti­mately re­placed by a new 8 Se­ries range.

So, while still un­der­pinned by the plat­form of the lat­est 5 Se­ries, the tech­ni­cal ba­sis for the new 6 Se­ries Gran Turismo is the ex­tended wheel­base ver­sion sold ex­clu­sively in China.

With a wheel­base of 3,070 mm it is also 87mm longer than its 5 Se­ries pre­de­ces­sor and 21mm lower – giv­ing BMW’s ri­val for the newly re­leased Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS a more bal­anced look and bet­ter dy­namic pro­por­tions.

The grille treat­ment of the new GT is prom­i­nent, and the stan­dard LED head­light lenses ex­tend all the way to the large grille. Its de­sign, with a long bon­net, set­back po­si­tion of the cabin, elon­gated win­dow out­line and down­ward sweep­ing roofline is fa­mil­iar, yet more re­solved.

LIGHTER AND SPORTIER

Its low-slung sil­hou­ette, an ac­tive air flap con­trol, air cur­tains, air breathers, and an au­to­mat­i­cally-ex­tend­ing rear spoiler en­sures a drag co­ef­fi­cient as low as 0.25 CD, and lug­gage ca­pac­ity is now 610 litres – 110 litres more than that of its pre­de­ces­sor.

On av­er­age it is 150 kg lighter than the out­go­ing model, and the GT’s im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics and more ef­fi­cient engines gives it sportier per­for­mance and bet­ter fuel ef­fi­ciency. It is up to 0.7 sec­onds quicker in the 0-100km/h sprint than its equiv­a­lent pre­de­ces­sor, and con­sump­tion and emis­sions fig­ures are as much as 15 per­cent lower.

Three TwinPower Turbo engines, mated to an eight-speed Step­tronic trans­mis­sion, are avail­able; start­ing with a 2.0-litre, four-cylin­der petrol unit in the en­try-level 630i GT (190 kW and 400 Nm) is not mooted for South Africa.

How­ever, the 640i xDrive GT– avail­able for test runs on a route around Lis­bon – is set for lo­cal re­lease this month. Its 3.0-litre, six-cylin­der in­line petrol en­gine (250 kW and 450 Nm) gives the all-wheel drive model a 0-100km/h ac­cel­er­a­tion time of 5.3 sec­onds, and con­sump­tion of 7.7litres/100km.

The 630d GT, pow­ered by a 3.0-litre six-cylin­der diesel en­gine pro­duc­ing 195 kW and 620 Nm will be made avail­able here, but only in two-wheel drive guise. Per­for­mance fig­ures are stated as 6.1 sec­onds from 0 to 100 km/h with con­sump­tion and emis­sion fig­ures of 5.3 litres/100 km and 139 g/km.

With self-lev­el­ling air sus­pen­sion at the rear and op­tional adap­tive sus­pen­sion, the new­comer lit­er­ally glided over the smooth Por­tuguese high­ways.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Drive op­tion, of­fered in com­bi­na­tion with the In­te­gral Ac­tive Steer­ing sys­tem and in­clud­ing ac­tive roll sta­bil­i­sa­tion, gave it a sportier edge, au­to­mat­i­cally low­er­ing the ride height in Sport mode and with xDrive all-wheel drive its han­dling was sure­footed in even the trick­i­est con­di­tions.

ROOMY AND WELL-CON­NECTED

The in­te­rior is typ­i­cally BMW – with a driver-fo­cused cock­pit and an ex­tremely spa­cious pas­sen­ger com­part­ment. The slightly raised seat­ing po­si­tion op­ti­mises all-round view and even with the flat­ter roofline there is am­ple head­room in the rear. Im­proved sound­proof­ing makes the GT a very com­fort­able Tourer in ev­ery sense of the word.

The iDrive sys­tem dis­play is now on a free­stand­ing touch­screen (BMW claims it is the big­gest in class at 26 cm) and en­hanced voice con­trol and ges­ture con­trol is stan­dard, while a Heads-Up Dis­play is op­tional.

The GT is en­dowed with a host of ad­vanced driver as­sis­tance sys­tems, and the Steer­ing and Lane con­trol as­sis­tant rep­re­sents another step along the road to au­to­mated driv­ing.

LAST WORD

While the styling may not be to ev­ery­one’s taste, the sleeker coupé de­sign of­fers great func­tion­al­ity blended with the long-dis­tance com­fort of a lux­ury sedan, and the new GT also her­alds the 3 Se­ries GT’s mi­gra­tion to the 4 Se­ries.

With prices start­ing from R1,081,300 for the stan­dard 630d and R1,114,800 for the 640i xDrive, and the M Sport mod­els go­ing for R1,143,400 and R1,176,900 re­spec­tively, the ques­tion re­mains: Does the new 6 Se­ries GT of­fer enough to en­tice buy­ers out of a Gran Coupé?

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