2012 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe - Bert's take
BMW has always been considered as a manufacturer of exciting cars but the novelty value of their cars has been wearing thin over the last few months. The ultimate driving machine has softened its stance and, of the current crop, the only car to generate much excitement has been the M cars from BMW's performance division.
So the new 6 series Gran Coupe intends to inject that much needed dose of adrenaline back into the segment. Now while BMW isn't openly saying it, they do want to elevate their cars from machines offering sheer driving pleasure back to being the ultimate driving machines.
Another case that has been building up for the 6 series Gran Coupe is the proliferation and success of the 4-door sports touring sedans. With both Mercedes and Audi capturing the lion's share of the market in this segment, it's no surprise BMW had to step up and make a grab for consumers too. They did have the 6 series in both coupe and convertible form but it's been the 4-door, 4-seater version that they lacked. The 6 Series Gran Coupe fills that gap.
So here are 10 reasons why you should be looking at this car closely.
1. It looks good, disarmingly good. While BMW has had a tumultuous relationship with design over the last decade the only cars in the fleet that stood out were those from the M division. And this was not because the design was great but because the add-on bits on the M cars such as the beefed up bumpers, side skirts, tasty alloys and sporty detailing made them appear more aggressive and thus inviting.
When the 6 Series came out it did look like it had the potential to look interesting yet lacked a spark. That spark was provided when BMW revamped their design language which is now incorporated in the 6 Series Gran Coupe. And the transformation is brilliant. The 6 Series comes alive with the new lines and detailing.
And just to drive home the point that BMWs can be elegant and gorgeous too, they went and painted it in a dull matte shade of bronze. Stop staring! It's not polite.
2. The interiors are spacious. So you can realistically seat four and everyone will have enough space to stretch out. The seats are also sculpted to adequately fit almost any body shape and size so if you are taller or shorter than normal you still get enough lumbar support for those long distance road trips. Your knees won't cramp, your butt won't ache and your back will not get stiff.
3. There is a new B&O audio system that offers a fantastic sound theatre. The highs are high, the lows are low and if you ever drive between Germany and Austria allow Wagner to thrill you with his compositions.
4. BMW India will offer just one diesel engine, it's been used in our market previously but is now tweaked for a higher calling. This is the 3.0-litre inline-6 diesel engine. It's fed by a twin turbocharging system, contemporary piezo electric injectors and variable valve timing. Power from this engine is rated at 313PS at 4400rpm (same as the 6 series coupe). You also get 630Nm of max torque at as low as 1500rpm which stays peaky up to 2500 rpm. This is also feels more refined than the engine on the new 7 series, though that's all I will mention on the new 7 for now.
5. The performance is addictive. Slide the gear selector into sport mode and the Gran Coupe becomes explosive, from a standing start it can get to 100kmph in just 5.4 seconds, that's sports car territory not grand tourer. With the 630Nm of torque always at your beck and call, driveability is also phenomenal. On unrestricted stretches of the autobahn the Gran Coupe easy slips into fast mode, averaging speeds of 170kmph. But even at those speeds if you feel the need to overtake someone just as fast, simply floor the throttle and bear witness to the surge of torque that until then seemed to be held in reserve.
6. The 8-speed transmission does not have twin clutch activation yet it's immensely quick on both the up shift and down shift. There is also a perceptible kick in the tranny while up shifting that is simply the massive torque doing its job on the clutch. It's not a negative, if it was, supercars would be out of business!
7. It's got a voice. For a diesel it's got an exhaust note that sounds like a V6, what makes it amazing is that this is not a genuine exhaust note but the engine notes reproduced within the car through a sound module.
8. Even more choice in driving modes. Prior generation drive selectors offered just comfort, sport and sport plus. Now you also get comfort plus and Eco mode, the former of which is just about perfectly matched for Indian conditions. So what you get is firmly cushioned ride without the harshness that BMWs are reputed for. As for the Eco mode, it merely reduces power consumption from the battery to various electronic components thus reducing the work the engine would have to do thereby making it more efficient.
9. The list of features is mind boggling. You get a HUD that also projects navigation, warning signs and speed limits. It comes with lane change assist and lane departure warning, both also projected on the HUD. The neatest features are the headlamps which can be used on high beam without dazzling oncoming drivers.
10. The suspension isn't unforgiving where ride quality is concerned like in some of the other BMWs we are already familiar with. Comfort Plus mode should work very well in India. In just the comfort mode you get adequate ride comfort but more importantly a stable composed stance that is confidence inspiring at expressway speeds or if you're pounding away at corners.
On the negative side there really isn't anything. Once the car comes down to India we will get to assess ride quality. We don't expect there will be any surprises there but you just never know. So watch out for our test drive on that car soon. As for when will it be launched and pricing, we expect the 640d Gran Coupe will be here in just a couple of months, priced slightly higher than the existing 6 series coupe and convertible.