Time for two very different takes on the hot-hatch formula to face off
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The Top Gear car review:BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
For:Very good looking, very good to drive
Against:You could hardly call it cheap. Or a five-seater
640d SE 4dr Auto
“A grand and generous car” - Paul Horrell reports back on BMW’s first four door coupe
A luxury wafter and GT, not a sports coupe. Too conservative - we’ll pass and wait for the i8
What we say:
One of the most handsome new BMWs on sale is also one of the best to drive: not cheap, but worth it
What is it?
BMW has many different types of high-end car, but there is one sector that has eluded it – the four-door coupe market that Mercedes has had sewn up with the CLS since 2004. Finally though, those for whom the 5-Series is not stylish enough and the 7-Series is too dour have a sleek new option from BMW: the four-door, five-seat 6-Series Gran Coupe.
It’s a very stylish car, BMW choosing to go for pretty elegance rather than wilfully odd (Audi A7 Sportback), uglier-than-the-first- one (CLS MkII) or just plain ugly (Porsche Panamera). Of the storming engine range, the 313bhp 640d has most on-paper appeal, although the allure of the storming M6 Gran Coupe can’t be denied. A more genuine M car than the new M5? Discuss: whatever, it’s a great halo for the range.
It’s based on the 5-Series: it’s thus excellent. Ride and handling combine to make you feel very good indeed, proving not too sloppy but not too choppy either. Just right. It also feels appreciably more sporty than most saloons simply because the occupants sit so low – we also love the frameless doors and seatbelts snazzily integrated into the seats.
The storming V8 sounds a firebreather, the M6 is a venemous firecracker and the 3.0-litre petrol has sweet-spinning fleetness of foot, but the best is the snarling 3.0-litre diesel. Twin turbos mean minimal lag and the output is prodigious: it even sounds sweet. The eight-speed automatic is peachy too.
On the inside
Those rear doors aren’t just there for show. For two in the back, there’s fine room and comfort, so long as the front passengers don’t lower their seats too much and swallow up the footspace. Take BMW at its word when it calls the 6GC a ‘four-plus-one’ seater though. Yes, unlike in a CLS, there’s a third three-point belt, but that middle passenger will find neither legroom nor headroom. They’d have more space in the boot.
Otherwise, it’s as per regular 6-Series inside, and so boasts one of BMW’s best interiors. Stylish, accommodating and beautifully built, it’s a more interesting place to be than a 5-Series and makes you feel as good about the world as you’d hope a coupe would.
The 6GC’s sports-luxury aspirations are revealed by a list price starting at over £62,000. You can get a 5-Series for half that. It’s a premium product alright, and the bountiful equipment levels reflect this, while the options list means you can spend deep into six figures on it if you wish. If you buy the M6 GC, you’re spending almost that before you even start. Crazy.