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Review: BMW 6 series Gran Coupé

Driven February 2013

Review: BMW 6 series Gran Coupé

Evolution is a fact of life. Take the Mini, for instance. The Mini was developed to be a little runabout for the mass market, but over the years, it grew in size and in its largest avatar – the Countryman – it’s a full-size, four-door, family car that looks and behaves quite different from the car it evolved out of.

The BMW 6 series has a similar story in India.

It started off as a two-door convertible, then went on to acquire a hard top and now, in its latest type, has four doors and four proper seats. The extra doors have been accommodated by extending the wheelbase by 113mm over the two-door version. But the rest of the styling remains unchanged.

The only engine currently available is the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel – one of the most refined diesel engines we’ve seen so far – that churns out 313bhp and 630Nm. It sounds nicely muted at low revs, but floor the throttle and the V6 makes you forget that it runs on diesel. It feels light and is rev-friendly but still frugal for its size.

It’s coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts up quite briskly, but in Comfort mode, the downshifts are leisurely. Only when you shift into Sport do the downshifts happen more readily. The gearing is on the shorter side and despite having eight ratios, it keeps the revs at a high-ish 1500rpm while cruising at 100kph.

In city traffic, it’ll go 6.5km for every litre of diesel; on the highway, it’ll do 9.8. And thanks to the two turbos, there’s no evident lag and the power curve remains linear. It’ll hit 100kph from standstill in just 5.5 seconds. That’s outstanding given that it’s powered by sticky fuel and weighs a shade over 1.8 tonnes.

Unlike older-gen Beemers, the 640d gets an electro-mechanical steering. It’s nice and light at low speeds but doesn’t return enough feedback. It doesn’t even weigh up with an increase in speed as expected, which takes away from the pleasure of driving. The car we drove had what BMW calls ‘Integral Active Steering’, which steers the rear wheels by up to three degrees, which in turn improves handling.

Like all tourers, its ride is on the softer side. Drive over large undulations and it begins to pitch. And when you’re driving enthusiastically, the soft ride doesn’t help either. There is some body roll if you push this four-door coupe hard into a turn. If you’re caught off-guard, you could scrape the underside on speed-breakers because the 640d sits quite close to the ground.

Fit-and-finish on the dashboard and the seats is near flawless. You can choose the colour and type of leather you want in your BeeM. Also on offer is a long list of optional gizmos to tick off.

If you give BMW a couple of lakh extra, they’ll be glad to fit you a head-up display that projects current speed and route instructions on to the windscreen so you don’t have to move your neck a few degrees to look into the information screen right above the air vents. For Rs 3 lakh more, you get a night-vision cam with pedestrian detection. And those with particularly deep pockets can get special active seats that hold you tight and ventilate your backside with cool air, for a little less than Rs 8 lakh.

The 640d is strictly a four-seater. The centre tunnel at the rear makes it almost impossible for the third passenger to sit. But that apart, the rear seat is quite roomy and comfortable. You get individual temperature control for all four passengers and seat heating on all four seating positions.

With all boxes ticked, the 640d Gran Coupé will cost over Rs 1.4 crore (on-road, Mumbai). But if you stick to the basics, it’ll set you back by Rs 1.13 crore (on-road, Mumbai).

The 6 series Gran Coupé is aimed at the Merc CLS and the Audi A7, both of which are lookers and have style and exclusivity by the bucket load. The 6 series inches ahead of the other super coupes with better driving dynamics, but its pricing is not what you’d call aggressive, especially if you’re in the mood for some of those optional extras.

The numbers
2993cc, V6, diesel, 313bhp, 630Nm, RWD, 0-100kph – 5.52sec, 30-50kph – 1.24sec, 50-70kph – 1.58sec, 80-0kph – 24.26m, 250kph, 8.1kpl, Rs 1.13 crore (on-road, Mumbai)

The verdict
With two extra doors, it’s a great buy if you’re bored of the regular 5 or 7. The super-refined diesel motor is a pleasure and the two turbos ensure power across the band.

Agasti Kaulgi

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