We have the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe in for review and road test in the guise of the 640d Gran Coupe M Sport. Is the Gran Coupe a niche too far?
Mercedes started the fad for the four-door coupe with the original CLS nearly a decade ago, since when most car makers have picked up the concept and are busy making hay with car lovers’ desire to drive a saloon with a bit more panache.
Audi caught up with the swoopy-coupe saloon a while back with the A7 – and even Porsche with the Panamera – but it’s taken BMW until this year to get their own version on sale – the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.
On paper, the 6 Series Gran Coupe seems an odd car. There’s already a BMW 6 Series Coupe and that’s based on the 5 Series, which also spawns the 5 Series GT with a swooping roofline. So where does the Gran Coupe fit?
Is the Gran Coupe an alternative to a 5 Series or a 7 Series. It offers four seats and four doors and space for five at a pinch, but is it just a step too far to see market place for a stretched 6 Series Coupe?
This week we have the Gran Coupe that’s likely to be the UK’s best seller – the BMW 640d M Sport Gran Coupe – to find out.
BMW 640d Gran Coupe – inside and out
Even though it may upset BMW anoraks, the truth is that Beemers are not always the best looking cars on the block. But the 6 Series Gran Coupe is probably the best looking BMW on sale today.
It keeps the same nose as the 6 Series Coupe but the roofline has been raised to accommodate the extra length (4″/113mm and all for back seat passengers) without wrecking the perspective, and the flanks are beautifully enhanced with a delicious scooped detail running from high on the front wing to the base of the rear wheel arch.
The roofline flows nicely down to the boot to a back end that is more appealing than any BMW for a long time. All this delightful shape is given extra aggression with the M Sport bits – darkened exhaust tips and detailing and a set of 20″ M Sport alloys. We’re sold.
We’re equally sold on the interior. The front feels just like the 6 Series Coupe with its very driver-focused architecture, with a big centre console wrapped in leather and with contrast stitching. The seats are comfy and supportive and heated, even if the attached seat belts are a bit irritating.
Back seat passengers fare well too with no shortage of headroom, although the long centre console means a fifth passenger is best just for short trips as they’ll site with legs splayed each side of the tunnel. But there’s no shortage of space and no feeling of being in a claustrophobic pseudo-coupe despite the small windows and swoopy roofline. Even the boot’s a big ‘un.
Equipment levels are, as you’d expect, comprehensive even in standard guise with everything from Climate and heated seats to a great big colour display screen that’s as big as a notepad or small laptop.
BMW has gone a bit bonkers on this particular 640d Gran Coupe with a whole heap of options fitted (£16.5k worth) so we also get ceramic finish for the controls, glass sunroof, heads-up display, extended leather and leather dash, Piano Black trim, reversing camera, surround view and much, much more.
There really is just about nothing to dislike and lots to love. Which is almost disappointing.
BMW 640d Gran Coupe – Performance on the road
However clever BMW has been with the design and equipment on the 6 Series Gran Coupe, it’s all for nothing if it doesn’t perform and handle like a proper BMW should. But the 640d Gran Coupe does – and then more.
Power comes from BMW’s 3.0 litre turbo diesel which offers a fulsome 313bhp (and 464lblb/ft of torque from just 1500rpm) for a swift attack at the horizon with a 0-62mph of just 5.4 seconds. It often feels even quicker and delivers the power in a sustained rush through the excellent eight-speed auto box to the back wheels, all the while emitting a sweet roar that sounds nothing like a diesel.
Take the 640d Grand Coupe through town and the choice of modes - ECO PRO, Comfort, Comfort+, Sport and Sport+ – means you can waft around and soak up the bumps with alacrity, but find a B-road blat beckoning and the Gran Coupe shows it’s not a bloaty marketing exercise, but a terrific sports coupe.
Frankly, despite its not inconsiderable size, the Gran Coupe feels like a GT, not a four door monster. It corners flat and sharp (thanks, no doubt in part, to the £3,400 Adaptive Drive fitted to our car) with hardly a hint of oversteer, no matter how hard you push on. And the torquey diesel eggs you on to push ever harder. And the harder you push the more the Gran Coupe rewards.
Not only does the Gran Coupe handle sublimely, it feels better than even the 5 Series. There’s a fluidity to the way it obliterates all before it; it has a balance that’s rare to find in anything, never mind a great big four door almost-saloon car. The damping options – even with the optional £1100 20″ M Sport alloys and run flat tyres – mean you can set the Gran Coupe up for a B road blat, motorway cruise or around town crawl with ease. And BMW seems to have got the settings for each absolutely right.
Fast, frugal and a joy to drive. We can’t find a single fault with the way the Gran Coupe drives. In fact, it’s an unalloyed joy. From a diesel-engined four door BMW. Astonishingly good.
BMW 640d Gran Coupe – Verdict
We came to the 640d Gran Coupe with its M Sport pack with a degree of cynicism. We thought it was a niche too far and couldn’t see what appeal a stretched 6 Series Coupe could have. And why would you want a 6 Series Gran Coupe when there’s already the very good 5 Series or, if you want something bigger, a 7 Series? But we were completely wrong.
The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is a joy, and the 640d M Sport Gran Coupe a simply astonishingly complete car; arguably the best car BMW make.
It looks better than just about any other BMW, its cabin is everything BMW do well – but to another level – and it rides and handles so well it almost defies belief.
BMW want us to compare the 6 Series Gran Coupe to the Porsche Panamera and not to the Mercedes CLS or Audi A7. And we thought that was just to justify the price. But a week and a lot of miles later we think the Gran Coupe has the measure of the Panamera – and then some – and is a far better car than the CLS or A7.
The only real gripe we have is the price – the 640d M Sport Gran Coupe starts at £68,565 and our car comes at a considerable £85,030 with the extras BMW has bolted on. That makes it much more expensive than the alternatives from Mercedes and Audi and more even – at least in M Sport guise – than the diesel Panamera.
But it’s better to look at than the Panamera, nicer to drive, much quicker (in fact, it’s as quick as the Panamera V8) and every bit as frugal. BMW quote 49.6mpg as the official combined figure, although the way the Gran coupe eggs you on meant we only got 35mpg. But 35mpg is an astonishing average, and there’s no doubt owners will see 40mpg on a regular basis.
But will buyers see the value the Gran Coupe offers, or just see the headline price?
A cynical neighbour of our Editor saw the Gran Coupe floating around and was intrigued. This is a guy who loves cars but who had the same cynicism about the Gran Coupe we had. He now runs round in high-end SUVs having done the usual Mercedes S Class and CLS route, and couldn’t see the point of the Gran Coupe. Neither fish nor fowl, was the pre-ride verdict.
But an extended blat in the Gran Coupe with the neighbour as a passenger saw him seduced by its looks and abilities to such a degree he went straight out and ordered one. With almost all the extras bolted on to our test car. His verdict? It’s a bargain for what it offers. And he’s right.
Now, about that commission…
BMW 640d M Sport Gran Coupe Specs
- Engine: 2993cc, 313bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 5.4 seconds / Top Speed 155mph
- Economy: 49.6mpg - Official / 35.6mpg - Test
- Emissions: 149g/km
- Price: £68,565 / Price as tested £85,030
- Test car supplied by BMW UK