2021 BMW 6 Series GT road test review
The BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo arrived in India in 2018, and when you negate 2020 from all calculations, thanks to the pandemic, it feels like it was only recently that we drove the car on our favourite mountain roads outside of Mumbai. But if you think otherwise, let me refresh your memory - the 5 GT was replaced by the 6 GT, which happens to be a longer and roomier car because it shares its platform and wheelbase with the standard wheelbase 7 Series (which never came to India).
It also has a four-door-coupé form which may not be the sleekest of its kind, but one that pits the 6 GT against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. But its price tag and space and comfort at the rear also put in consideration for those looking at buying the E-Class long-wheelbase sold in India. Speaking of it, the E-Class too was updated recently.
Like its rival, the 6 GT too has gone for a sharper design. But when BMW says sharp, they usually mean it. But this is a facelift after all, so while the lines of the bodywork or the silhouette of the car are pretty much unchanged, the nose now has a much sleeker look than before. The grille is edgier and proportionate and the headlamps have a new detailing.
Before #corona became the most dreaded keyword, BMW replaced the signature Corona Rings in their headlights with what looked like two hooks, and those have now made way for L-shaped DRLs. It looks a bit Jaguar XF in my opinion. On the M Sport trim seen here, you will also see some blue detailing in the headlights, which tells you that these are equipped with BMW's state-of-the-art laser lights. They work exceptionally well and the illumination is so good that it's allowed BMW to get rid of fog lamps in the bumper. That is also the reason why you can't option the laser lights on other trims that don't get them as a standard fit.
The absence of conventional fog lamps has in turn allowed the bumpers to have more edgy cuts and creases that impart a sharper, low-slung and leaned forward stance. The 6 GT is certainly more menacing than a crouching cat, then. BMW has also added new wheel options which complement the sporty look of the car, and the M Sport trim makes it sportier still with an option to go with 20-inch wheels and a choice of blue or red brake callipers.
There are new colour options too and the one that is seen here is the carbon black which has a tinge of blue that is noticeable in broad daylight. The rear end of the 6 GT sees minor revisions to the bumper and has new trapezoidal exhaust pipes which complement the edgy design of the car. But, the updated design does little to break the visual bulk of the rear end.
Cabin and practicality
Ask the "Hey BMW" assistant if she would like to go to a gym and her answers would be just as vague as my reactions are when people suggest me something on similar lines. She will however respond to new commands now and operate the windows, change driving modes or find your favourite radio station. The music or telephony, however, get gesture controls only on the range-topping 630d M Sport. Ditto for the heads-up display.
Otherwise, the cabin is pretty much the same as before, meaning it will welcome you with elegant carpet lighting with matching ambient lighting; is easy to get in and out of despite the coupé-ish roofline; is roomy at the front and rear, and has well-appointed upholstery and materials.
As before, it takes the fight to the E-Class with reclining rear seats, though by a lesser degree. The rear seat has its own headrest-pillows, a generously sized centre armrest, electronically controlled window blinds and A/C vents in the centre as well as on the B-pillar, completing the four-zone climate control setup. What's new is a set of entertainment screens on either side which now come standard on the M Sport trims.
The Harmon/Kardon audio unit now comes standard on the 6 GT
Driving dynamics and performance
I had someone ferry me in the rear seat for a longish distance and the ride quality is comparable to most new German cars. It is quite plush and only the harsher joints in the road are felt inside the cabin. It is quite soft for a BMW, but that is only in the Comfort+ mode, which will soften the damping on the air-springs in all four corners.
If you would rather have the typical taut dynamics of a Bimmer, dial in the Sport or Sport+ modes and the GT will oblige with sharp turn-ins and rear-wheel-drive agility. I found the Adaptive mode works best for our conditions. As you would expect, all these modes alter steering and powertrain responses too and despite what its size may suggest, the 6 GT is always a lot of fun to drive.
Speaking of which, the 2.0l four-cylinder turbo-petrol serving in the 630i was BSVI compliant from day one, so it is virtually unchanged even in the updated car. The power and torque figures remain unchanged too and our tested 0-100kmph time of 6.5s is within the previous ballpark too.
Its 400Nm output is spread nicely through the rev range and you will never feel the dearth of power, which mated with the slick ZF transmission seldom needs you to take manual control of the gearbox. The powertrain is silent even at triple-digit speeds and the 6 GT loves munching miles, staying true to its name.
If you usually have a dilemma choosing between the rear seat or the driver's the 6 GT is the car that will pamper you either way - and that dual personality of sorts is the big draw for this car. It is priced rather well too, comes with quite a few engine options to choose from and delivers on the promise of being a grand tourer in typical BMW fashion - putting the fun of driving before everything else.
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