To contend against Mercedes Benz CLS Class and Audi A7 in the four-door coupe segment BMW brought its 6 Series Gran Coupe. Available as 640d, this 6 Series is powered by 3 litre 6 cylinder twin turbo diesel engine that churns out 309 bhp and 64.2 kgm of torque. It is paired with an 8 speed automatic gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels.
As the petrol powered 650i has been discontinued in India and the other model is the high-performing M6 Gran Coupe with 4395 cc V8 engine, the 640d is the only 6 Series available in the market now. As the exclusive four door coupe by BMW, it has its own attraction. And it was designed by a team headed by Adrian van Hooydonk who has conceptualised the designs of some of the best BMW cars. The wheelbase of Gran Coupe being 113 mm longer than the Coupe makes for more space in its cabin and takes in the pair of rear doors. Interestingly the company claims a fuel efficiency of 18.18 km/litre for the Gran Coupe.
It was Mercedes that started the four door coupe segment with its CLS Class and the next entry in the domain was made by Audi A7. So by launching the 640d Gran Coupe BMW closed the German luxury cars competition triangle in this genre. While these cars have become known as ‘four door coupes’, in reality they look and feel like a mix of saloon, coupe, limousine and sports car.
Ecardlr gets up and close with the Bimmer and tests the performance of its 313 bhp generating 6 cylinder diesel engine. Here are the results:
The Outside Impression
With its shark nose and chrome lined kidney grille, the 6 has a striking front end. The night vision camera that comes at an extra cost is placed within the grille. Characteristically BMW are the twin barrel LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights. The fog lamp strips on the front bumper are also in LEDs.
When viewed from the side the Gran Coupe is perceptibly a long car and it actually measures 5007 mm in length. It uses 19 inch alloy wheels with 245/40 R19 tyres in front and 275/35 R19 tyres at rear. You can go for optional 20 inchers with the customised M Sport package. That typical BMW design cue in form of crease on panels running through the door handles and going right up to the tail lights is also seen.
While there are rear doors for this car, the door apertures are rather small. Furthermore, the windows are frameless type and extend well out from the door itself making ingress to the rear part of cabin little bothersome. The chrome lining around the windows attracts attention to the coupe roofline and the Hofmeister kink design element makes the Gran Coupe unmistakably a BMW.
Moving on to the rear, the design for LED tail lights is a replica of the ones on 640d Coupe. A feature that attracts attention is the stop lamp that embellishes the upper edge of the rear windscreen. The broad bumper looks good with its cuts and creases, and has wrapped around reflectors at its edges. Chrome finish for the two round mouthed exhaust pipes adds to the premium appeal of the Gran Coupe. Overall the styling of this car is not much different from its 2 door coupe sibling but the extra pair of doors makes it little more practical.
The colour array for the car includes Alpine White and Metallic - Mineral White, Space Gray, Orion Silver, Glacier Silver, Black Sapphire, Deep Sea Blue, Havana, and Vermillion Red.
The Longer Cabin
Stepping in to the front part of interiors you will see the obvious resemblance with the fascia of the 640d Coupe. Quality of materials is uber refined as expected in a car costing over 1 crore. Fine wood trim on the layered dashboard and door armrests looks classy. The multi function leather steering wheel has a chunky grip and it comes with paddle shifters that have soft, rubberised back. Dials on the instrument console are fairly large and very easy to read from the driving position.
For the iDrive there is 25.9 cm display screen. It gets DVD drive and integrated hard drive for maps and audio files. 6 DVD changer, Bluetooth with handsfree and extension for audio streaming, voice control, office functions, and contact photo display are standard features. Harman Kardon Surround Sound has 600 watts output with 16 loudspeakers. You can upgrade to B & O sound system at added cost. Park Distance Control (front and rear), rear view camera and navigation system with 3D maps are standard BMW attributes for this high-end luxury car.
Seats are upholstered in Dakota leather with choice between black, ivory white, and cinnamon brown + black colours. The seating position in front is low but electrical seat adjustment for height and lumbar support makes them customisable for comfort. Memory package is provided for both the seats. At the rear the bench seat with well inclined backrests is cushy but with the protruding AC platform practically dividing this part of cabin into two sections, only two people can sit comfortably there. Legroom is adequate and headroom is just about enough – taller people will find it restricted due to plunging roofline. As mentioned earlier, getting inside on to rear seat also takes in little effort.
There is 460 litres of boot space right behind the rear seats. And as in its competitor Mercedes CLS, this is a notch-back type boot to add structural rigidity to the car. Electrically operated glass sunroof is a standard element and well placed ‘mood lights’ for illumination in the cabin make the plush cabin feel even more opulent.
Appropriate for the segment that it is placed in, 640d Gran Coupe has four zone automatic climate-control. It is loaded with top notch safety equipment that includes six air bags, three-point seatbelts on all seats along with pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt pressure limiters at front, anti-lock braking (ABS), brake assist, cornering brake control, dynamic stability control and dynamic traction control. The electronic parking brake has auto-hold function. Other standard BMW safety and security features such as tyre pressure monitoring, run flat indicator, warning triangle, Attentiveness Assistant and electronic immobiliser are provided.
With all creature comforts of a limousine and other equipment to make the drive comfortable, the Gran Coupe is indeed a swanky BMW. But how does it actually perform with that powerful, torquey oil burner mated to 8-speed auto ‘box?
Heart of the Matter – Engine, Transmission and Performance
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe’s 3 litre diesel straight six churns out 309 bhp and the addition of twin –turbo variable geometry turbo has only enhanced the forte of this unit. This common rail direct fuel injection engine has its rail pressure upped to 2000 bar for faster spinning. While it is one of the more refined diesel engines in the world, it is not completely smooth at idling. There is little buzz felt from the floor accompanied by a faint clatter. But considering that it is a ‘diesel’, it does put some of the noisy petrol ones at shame. As the revs build up, this car takes off wonderfully. There is ample low-end torque and mid-range is also admirable. You can drive around the city comfortably at 1500 -2500 rpm.
The engine feels smooth below 3500 rpm and the car is eager to make progress. After 3500 rpm the exhaust gives a sporty roar and if you keep pressing the throttle, the 2993 cc diesel motor can spin hard all the way past redline up to 5500 rpm. So you can actually make the most of all the power on tap. Responsiveness of this engine does not tail off till 5500 rpm. Indeed power delivery is linear and unlike the old petrol driven 6 Series (650i) you do not always need to rev the engine hard to enjoy its performance. For 0-100 km/hour the Gran Coupe takes just 6 seconds and it can effortlessly go up to its top speed of 250 km/hour.
With its slick gear changes, the 8 speed automatic transmission works brilliantly. It is eager to upshift but also stays in sync with your throttle inputs. So you may be wading through city traffic, cruising freely on a highway or going up a steep slope, the gears are changed the way you expect them to. And you will also be tempted to play with steering mounted paddle shifters where the response is equally good. The gearing is on the shorter side even though it has 8 ratios and the revs are kept at 1500 rpm while cruising at 100 km/hour.
For city driving it is good to employ the Eco Pro mode where gear changes and climate control settings are customised in interest of fuel economy. The Comfort mode is for best of ride experience which we will cover in little more detail in next section. On the highways where you want to derive the most fun out of the 6 cylinder diesel’s performance there’s Sport and Sport Plus mode to toggle between.
Thanks to standard-fitment Dynamic Driving Control, it is feasible to fine-tune the throttle & transmission responses and level of electronic intervention, so tail-out action just involves press of a button and firm control of the steering wheel.
Dynamic Traits - Ride and Handling
Based on the 640d (2 door) coupe, the Gran Coupe has a well balanced chassis and Comfort Plus setting provides a pliant ride quality for city driving speeds. However with thin 35 profile (at rear) run flat tyres even minor undulations filter through the cabin. So low speed ride does not feel comfortable unless you have some of the better paved and maintained roads in your city. As this car sits low you also need to be little careful while taking it over bigger bumps. But the good news is that the ride does flatten out as the car picks up speed and it goes over coarse surfaces without causing much disturbance in the cabin.
The solid straight line stability of Gran Coupe is wonderful and it makes for a nice mile-muncher on long, open highways. And while we can’t call it lazy to change directions, it lacks the agility of its 2-door sibling in this regards – this is understandably due to the extra mass that it carries. It feels somewhat twitchy mid-corners if you throw it around at speed. But this is only when you compare it to the two door coupe. On a stand alone basis this Bimmer cannot be marked down for its ride and handling feel on twisty roads.
The electro-mechanical steering wheel feels light at low speeds and little inputs also result in exact changes in direction. So it’s easy to go through some of the tightest hair pin bends and make prompt U –turns. But the unit does not weigh up adequately at higher speeds and you need to maintain a good grip on the highways. Braking is precise and there is a good combination of extra safety features – ABS, brake assist, cornering brake control - to slow down and to bring the car to a sudden halt.
This is not something that a serious buyer of 640d Gran Coupe would think of although the on-board computer of car will flash it all the time. And if you are curious, this Bimmer delivers 6 km/litre in the city and up to 10.5 km/litre on the highways. Again, it’s not a concern for those who will shell out over a crore to bring the Six to their garage and will spend more for the periodic services!
It feels special to be in the luxurious cabin of BMW 640d Gran Coupe and behind-the-wheel experience too is delightful. The 3.0 litre 6 cylinder engine paired with 8 speed auto ‘box is brilliant and makes the performance of this 6 Series delightful. The steering feel, braking ability and overall handling experience of this car are also fine and slightly better than in an Audi A7. It’s the soft suspension setting that is more suited to the better paved roads instead of the ones replete with undulations. And that’s why this 6 Series gets marked down for ride quality when tested on Indian roads.
If you do not mind paying a bomb for a luxury car and live in a place where there are roads to enjoy its performance, the Gran Coupe is a good choice in the new four-door coupe segment.
The Eminence version of 640d Gran Coupe available in India is priced at Rs. 1.115 crore (ex showroom price Delhi).
Value for Money: 3.5/5