BMW's 6 Series has just grown in model numbers and size. The 6 Series two door Coupe and Convertible range has just been joined by the Gran Coupe, BMW's first four-door coupe.
The 155mph (limited) classically styled and elegant grand tourer is a shade over five metres in length and comes with the choice of three engines, two petrol and one diesel.
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Engines and prices
Prices start at £61,390 for the 3.0-litre, in-line, six cylinder 320hp petrol 640i rising to £70,650 for the 650i, twin turbo V8 450hp petrol model. In the middle is the main selling 3.0-litre, straight-six 640d, 313hp turbodiesel version priced at £63,900.
All models have as standard an eight-speed automatic transmission and of course being a BMW are rear wheel drive. They all have a full array of BMW's award winning EfficientDynamics technologies, including Auto Start-Stop, ECO-PRO which adjusts the accelerator and auto gearchange to softer fuel saving settings and the extensive use of weight-saving aluminium for the body construction.
For some retail customers, who traditionally cover less mileage, the two petrol powered options might appeal but all versions are restricted to 155mph top speed.
The 640d diesel powered version has the same zero to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds acceleration performance figure as the 640i petrol and its only 0.8 seconds slower in that comparison than the 650i direct injection, twin turbo 4.4-litre V8 petrol unit.
Of course the diesel unit beats them all for fuel economy and lower taxation, hence its popularity whether the customer is a business user or a retail buyer. The great thing about the 640d engine is its refinement and torquey response. You do not really notice it's a diesel, hardly any noise intrusion inside and it's quiet outside as well.
For drivers wanting a long distance tourer this BMW is possibly one of the world's most sporting yet luxurious diesels. The all-aluminium 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder unit in the 640d Gran Coupe records a combined fuel economy of 50.4mpg for the SE and 49.6mpg for the M Sport. With its 70-litre fuel tank it has a potential range of almost 800 miles.
My test car returned 40.2mpg covering all types of motoring conditions, motorways, stop/start commuting and winding country roads. In performance terms the 640d produces 313hp (309bhp) at 4,400rpm and 630Nm (465lb ft) of torque between 1,500 and 2,500rpm.
Another big advantage for a car of this quality, value and perception are the low CO2 emissions of just 148/149g/km. This brings the double benefits of a 23 per cent BIK for company car drivers and Vehicle Excise Duty of just £135 a year for all.
There is the choice of SE and M Sport trim and equipment grades and a long list of options. M Sport is expected to be chosen by 80 per cent of Gran Coupe UK customers.
These models will be comparatively rare with just 700 available in the Gran Coupe's first full year of UK sales. By comparison for the same period the 6 Series Coupe will have in the region of 1,000 UK sales and 400 for the Convertible.
The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe's fantastic proportions are truly those of a classic grand tourer. These are characterised by a long bonnet, a sweeping coupe roofline and a four door passenger compartment set towards the rear of the car.
Powerful, flared wheel arches and a three-part lower air intake grille emphasise the wide stance of the car. At the rear, bulging wheel arches and horizontal lines accentuate the wide track and again serve as pointers to the Gran Coupe's performance potential.
The M Sport version has even more body styling features such as lowered and sculptured sills with 19-inch wheels standard instead of the 18/19-inch fitted as standard for SE variants.
My test car, the 3.0d M Sport with standard sports suspension was fitted with the even larger 20-inch wheels which look good and fill the wheelarches but they were a real pain the backside - literally.
They just aggravated the firm ride even when the softest suspension setting was chosen, they didn't absorb any impacts from potholes and just driving over cats-eyes was very noticeable.
Poor road surfaces resulted in significant noise intrusion from these bigger wheels and run-flat tyres and not at all in keeping with a relaxed and refined long-legged grand tourer.
The big fat tyres also tended to stick in the now usual tram-lined motorway road surfaces giving the steering a significant strong straight ahead tendency. My advice is save £1,105 and stick with the standard size wheels.
Even better advice is to stick with the 640d SE version which costs £63,900 instead of £68,565 for the 640d M Sport, you get all the Gran Coupe's stunning good looks, all the extra interior space and most of the equipment you practically need.
Familiar BMW design features include a 'shark nose' with a large forward leaning double-kidney grille, broad air intakes and dual round Xenon or LED headlamps.
The Xenon headlights use BMW's familiar double corona units, while the optional Adaptive LED headlight units pivot in line with the car's speed, steering angle and lateral body movement during cornering.
The Gran Coupe is the most spacious and practical 6 Series ever. This has been made possible by stretching the wheelbase and overall length of the 6 Series Coupe on which it is based by 113mm to 5,007mm.
A wheelbase of 2,968mm gives impressive legroom for two rear seat adult passenger. Although there is ample headroom in the Coupe, the headroom getting into the car is restricted by the low door frame.
For added versatility for 'grand' touring the rear seat backs can be folded to expand a 460-litre luggage area to 1,265 litres. BMW says even with four seats in use the luggage compartment will accommodate two golf bags, while an optional through-loading hatch allows for two pairs of skis to be transported.
The front of the cabin is unmistakably BMW thanks to its driver-oriented layout. The automatic gear selector, electronic handbrake and iDrive controller are mounted in the centre console which runs through to the rear of the cabin which has two sculptured sports.
All models have Dakota leather upholstery, BMW Professional Navigation with 10.2-inch high-resolution display, front and rear Park Distance Control, which is a must for a car of this length, Keyless Go, two-zone climate control, electronic two-way steering adjustment and heated front seats.
There are lots more options. Just to showcase these the M Sport test car had £16,465 worth of them including DAB radio, electric glass sunroof, piano black trim, upgraded 16 loudspeaker system, reversing assist camera, the very useful head-up display and internet connection.
The 640d excels in so many areas, performance, low taxes, handling, styling, interior space and quality to list just a few. Hard to bear is the very firm ride and the price.
Although in luxury car terms the 6 Series Gran Coupe could be considered not that expensive it is many thousands of pounds costlier to buy than the equivalent four door coupe style Audi A7 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz CLS. But it is cheaper to run so it's really is down to the buyers choice. I'd go with the BM 640d Gran Coupe on its styling alone, but with SE spec and definitely the 640d engine.
BMW 640d M Sport 4-Door Gran Coupe
£68,565 without options.
3.0-litre, straight six, all-aluminium, turbodiesel, 309bhp, 465lb ft of torque from 1,500rpm, 8-speed automatic with additional sequential/paddle shift functions.
155mph restricted top speed, 0 to 62mph 5.4 seconds, 49.6mpg (40.2mpg on test), CO2 149g/km, VED road tax £135, BIK company car tax 23%.
Exquisite and yet stunning sports styling, roomy interior for four adults, superb engine and transmission, fuel efficient, low for tax.
Very firm ride, too much road noise intrusion from the 20-inch optional wheels, much more expensive to buy than its nearest competitors.