2013 BMW 6 Series adds roomy four-door
By ANDY MIKONIS For Sun-Times Media August 20, 2012 2:53PM
2013 BMW 640I GRAN COUPE
ENGINE: 315-horsepower 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: eight-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: rear-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 20 city/30 highway
BASE PRICE: $76,895, including $895 delivery
AS TESTED: not available
The BMW 6 Series is known for beautifully styled two-door coupes and convertibles on the larger end of the lineup. When it came time to add a four-door, BMW opted for something a little different than the typical sedan: the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.
The design of this four-door coupe is highlighted by a long arcing roofline and tapered rear side windows. There are no window frames on the doors and, as a distinctive touch, a Gran Coupe script is situated behind the rear side glass on a patterned background resembling a checkered flag.
Rear-seat passengers benefit not only from the extra doors but from the extra length of the Gran Coupe, which is 4.4 inches longer than the two-door Coupe, resulting in significantly more rear legroom.
Though billed primarily as a four-seater, it’s actually a “four-plus-one”; a seat belt is provided for a fifth passenger to ride in the center rear position by straddling the center console. There is also more headroom than the two-door and a deep trunk that looks like it can swallow the luggage of all those passengers.
BMW has a variety of packages and trim levels available for the Gran Coupe and it highlights the variety of colors and trim choices available for those who want to tailor their vehicle to their taste. The press launch showcased a 6 Series Gran Coupe with a matte finish Metallic Frozen Bronze only available on the 6 Series.
The interior was an Opal White fine-grain Merino leather contrasted with an Amaro Brown trimmed instrument panel and headliner. It looked like a customized car you might see at the SEMA Show rather than something that came from the factory.
First to market, and the object of this review, is the 640i Gran Coupe powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with 315 horsepower. Next to debut will be the 650i Gran Coupe with a 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 with 445 horsepower and 650i xDrive Gran Coupe with all-wheel drive.
The six-cylinder Gran Coupe hits 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds and the V-8 in 4.5, with the all-wheel drive shaving off a little more. Besides the badging, you’ll be able to differentiate the engines by the shape of the exhaust tips, oval for the six, oblong for the eight.
For the test drive, a lengthy route through the challenging mountain roads outside Santa Barbara, Calif., I chose a 640i Gran Coupe with the M Sport package. Composed of primarily appearance items, I felt it befitted the Gran Coupe’s sporting character the best.
Interior appointments were impressive and roominess felt adequate. I found the seats comfortable and especially appreciated the power extendable bottom cushion on the longer stretches. Most of the examples on hand carried an attractive two-tone motif on the instrument panels along with finely crafted wood trim or aluminum for the M Sport. In classic BMW fashion, the gauge cluster is angled toward the driver by 17 degrees to be exact.
Telematics and infotainment are accessed through BMW’s latest iDrive system via a 10.2-inch display screen. Other nice touches included swiveling reading lamps in the rear. In the cool gadget department, the trunk badge automatically swivels up to reveal the rear-view camera when reverse is engaged; it has the practical function of keeping the lens clean and out of the weather.
As the numbers suggest, the inline six-cylinder engine delivers brisk acceleration. Peak torque of 330 pound-feet comes in early at 1,300 rpm and stays on until 4,500 rpm, so quick responsiveness is there almost any time you need it. The eight-speed automatic transmission also acts fast and can be manually shifted from quality metallic-feeling paddles on the steering wheel.
Like other current BMW offerings, the 640i Gran Coupe offers some fuel-saving technologies as well. An automatic start/stop system shuts off the engine when stopped and immediately restarts it when you remove your foot from the brake pedal; it works with reasonable smoothness. You also can choose “eco pro” mode, which offers a number of options to track and reduce fuel consumption.
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