£59,535 - £72,500 Price range
32 - 51 MPG
BMW may be a bit late to the ‘four-door coupe’ party – Mercedes, Audi and even Porsche have had a stab at making them – but that doesn’t mean the new 6 Series Gran Coupe isn’t worthy of being on your shortlist.
Most of the critics appear to be hugely impressed with BMW’s new cross-genre car, with praise being given to the Gran Coupe’s qualities as a sporting grand tourer, along with the excellent drivetrains and what is without doubt the most elegant-looking BMW currently on sale. However, it’s not exactly cheap.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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!
The experts were initially sceptical about the handling qualities of the Gran Coupe when it was announced, but the way the BMW drives seems to have surpassed many critics’ expectations. Most were hugely impressed with the Gran Coupe’s poise and balance for such a large and heavy car, and a handful thought it was better to drive than the standard 6 Series.
The Gran Coupe also appears to do a fine job as a more relaxed cruiser – bar a slight hint of wind whistle around the wing mirrors, most of the reviews state the cabin is very refined, and the ride quality is good, 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, a few thought visibility fore and aft was 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, all of which are turbocharged – one diesel and two petrols. Thankfully, they’re all brilliant, as all the critics had high praise for their power and performance, along with impressive levels of refinement and affordable running costs.
Most of the critics reckon 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 and tax 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…
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.
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.
Euro NCAP has not crash tested the Gran Coupe, but the 5 Series on which it is based scored the maximum five star rating, scoring strongly in both passenger and pedestrian assessments.
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.
When compared with the shorter 6 Series on which it’s based, the Gran Coupe does look like good value for money. Though it will vary depending on the options and trim levels you go for, BMW states the Gran Coupe costs about £1,800 more than the equivalent two-door Six series, which isn’t too bad given you the extra practicality. It also comes with a decent amount of kit as standard, such as a 10.2-inch touchscreen, stop/start and dual-zone climate control.
However, from other perspectives, the Bimmer does start to look a bit pricey. Most of the car’s rivals are noticeably cheaper – even the Porsche Panamera Diesel costs a less than the most basic Gran Coupe. As with most German executive cars, ticking the option boxes can bring the sales figure to sky high levels, too.
Though the general consensus is that the Gran Coupe rides well, opinions seem to be mixed over the comfort levels, dependent on the size of the wheels and the tyres used. Some thought that the quality of the ride was more than adequate on 20-inch rims with run-flat tyres, whilst others didn’t seem to share that opinion.
Best to try it yourself then…
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’.