New BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Review

Big coupe has great engines and elegant looks

8/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Great range of engines
  • Surprisingly good to drive
  • More practical than 6 Series
  • 5 Series cheaper and roomier
  • Pricier than rivals
  • Tricky to get in the back

£62,465 - £85,975 Price range

5 Seats

32 - 51 MPG

Review

The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is one of the most luxurious cars the company makes and is positioned as a stylish alternative to the 7 Series. It’s also a worthy alternative to the Audi A7 and Mercedes S-Class Coupe.

Everything inside is wrapped in soft leather and the asking price guarantees one of the best built BMW interiors. That said, it isn’t the most stylish or most technologically advanced out there, but it is the most driver-focused in class.

And after just a few miles down your favourite road, you’ll know this car was made to cross a continent in the quickest time possible while you remain in a cocoon of luxury and comfort. Well, comfort may be a bit too strong of a word because most of the time the suspension is firm and sporty, but that translates to impressive cross-country pace, despite the substantial weight of the car.

There is a choice between two petrol engines and one diesel – all twin turbocharged. The petrols are smooth and powerful, but the diesel impresses with near identical performance and better running costs.

The least expensive SE models get standard equipment such as leather upholstery and the best version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, but at this price point it should come with more out of the box.

Apart from a few redesigns such as a more contoured dash, most of the centre console is identical to what you’d find in the normal 6 Series, so you get a high quality and well styled dashboard, with good storage and easy-to-use controls. There are a few practicality drawbacks, though. The boot aperture is a bit restrictive, and the styling of the rear doors does inhibit entry to the back bench.

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe passenger space

The biggest changes, though, are in the back – thanks to the stretched wheelbase and the slightly higher roofline, there’s more space for rear passengers when compared with the two-door version. It’s also worth pointing out that the middle rear seat isn’t ideal for long journeys – it’s on the narrow side, and the positioning of the centre console means you’ll have to spread your legs akimbo if you’re relegated to that pew!

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe boot space

At 460 litres, the boot is same size as the standard car’s, though the Gran Coupe’s rear seats do fold down completely flat, unlike the others.

 

For such a heavy car, the 6 Series Gran Coupe is poised and balanced seemingly defying the laws of physics. The increase in the space between the front and rear wheels (called wheelbase) also makes it even more stable at high speeds than the regular 6 Series.

The Gran Coupe also does a fine job as a more relaxed cruiser – bar a slight hint of wind whistle around the wing mirrors, the cabin is very refined, and the ride quality is acceptable, even in the firmer ‘Sport’ setting, and the eight-speed gearbox works brilliantly in both manual and automatic modes.

However, it’s not all plain sailing. As the driver’s seat is set down low, visibility fore and aft is restricted, which isn’t that ideal in a car that feels large on narrow roads and is over 5m long! At least BMW have the kindness to fit the Gran Coupe with parking sensors as standard, which should help with tight manoeuvres.

Like the standard 6 Series, there’s a fairly restricted range of engines on offer. Thankfully, they’re all brilliant, with power and performance to spare, along with impressive levels of refinement and affordable running costs.

The diesel 640d is the one to go for, as it’s just as fast as the similarly priced 640i petrol, yet is much cheaper to run, thanks to a very impressive claimed fuel economy figure of 50 mpg, which trumps the equivalent petrol’s 36 mpg.

If you’re the sort of person who wants a bit more poke and can afford the extra fuel bills, then there’s always the 650i with its 4.4 V8. If that still isn’t enough, there is always the 552 horsepower M6…

Most of the critics reckon the diesel powered 6 Series Coupes and Convertibles are the best in their respective ranges, so it’s not a massive shock that the reports suggest the Gran Coupe follows in their footsteps. The testers all seem to be very impressed with the 640d's plentiful power output and the impressive fuel economy, and a few even go as far to say it’s preferable over the two-door Sixes! That said, it is a wee bit more expensive than the standard car…

The 3.0 twin-turbo diesel motor is exactly the same as the one you’ll find in the 6 Series range (and, indeed, in most BMWs), so it has the same impressive statistics. Compared to the petrols, it’s a bit down on power, but the mighty torque on offer compensates for that, and quite a few testers say it sounds great for a diesel when you explore the higher revs!

The engine is also hushed and refined when you’re not pelting along at speed, and the claimed efficiency figures makes it one of the most affordable ‘four door coupes’ to run – BMW says 50mpg is possible on the combined cycle, and the 148g/km of CO2 emissions means it costs a very respectable £135 a year to tax.

If you’re sold on the idea of a four-door 6 Series, then we highly recommend you have a look at this diesel model. It’s not the cheapest car in the Gran Coupe range (or even in this class – the Porsche Panamera Diesel costs a smidge less to buy!), but it’s the most affordable to run, and the engine suits the car’s more relaxed GT qualities perfectly.

The first reviews of the entry level Gran Coupe are starting to flood in, and the initial impressions appear to be very positive. As with the two-door 6 Series variants, the critics seem to be satisfied with it as an overall package, and quite a few had plenty of good things to say about the engine and dynamics. However, it’s worth pointing out it’s by no means the cheapest in the range to run.

Just as you’d expect from a petrol powered BMW with a howling straight-six engine, all the testers appeared to be satisfied with the Gran Coupe’s performance and dynamic characteristics. It’s not ballistic, and is a bit down on torque when compared to the similarly priced diesel, but the motor is still a meaty one with plenty of shove, especially at higher revs. Having a “lack of torque” also means you can use the slick eight-speed paddleshift gearbox more often.

Efficiency is also quite impressive, given the car’s performance – BMW says 36mpg is possible when you’re driving it sensibly, and the £215 road tax fee isn’t too unreasonable. That said, the slightly more expensive diesel is much cheaper to run, yet is just as quick on paper and in the real world.

If you’re a die-hard petrol fan and can afford to fork out a bit more per year on fuel bills and road tax, then the 640i Gran Coupe is definitely worth having a closer look at – it’s a very competent, and in some areas rather brilliant, sporty tourer. However, we also reckon you should have a quick peek at the diesel, and the benefits that come with it.

Beyond the standard fare, BMW offers one or two preventative safety measures. Gizmos like the optional head-up display allow the driver to stay more focused on the road ahead, by projecting information including current speed, sat nav directions and speed limits onto the windscreen.

Up to five cameras can be specified, two of which look sideways from the front bumper to aid pulling out of junctions – a very useful feature for a car with a bonnet as long bonnet as the Gran Coupe’s.

Conclusion

All in all, the BMW Gran Coupe is a very well sorted and desirable executive four-door. It looks great, has a fabulous range of engines, is surprisingly very good to drive and, unlike the normal 6 Series, can actually carry four people in comfort.

The Gran Coupe has two close rivals in the shape of the Mercedes CLS and the Audi A7. Against those two, the BMW stacks up very well. However, the equivalent 5 Series – with which it shares many parts – is more spacious and costs less to buy. That doesn’t mean you should discount the Six entirely, though. On the contrary, it appears to be a very capable all-rounder, and is worth considering if you’re in the market for a ‘four door coupe’.