GRR

First Drive: BMW 6 Series GT

15th October 2017
erin_baker_headshot.jpg Erin Baker

When you see how BMW describes this latest model, the 6 Series Gran Turismo, it’s hard to see how you could want anything else… talk about answering a question you hadn’t thought to ask: “A cross-over concept with the engaging driving dynamics of a saloon, elegant roofline of a coupe, higher driving position of an SAV [SUV to you and me] and the convenience of a Touring [or estate]”.

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That’s pretty much covered it, then. All that’s missing is a retractable roof to tick the convertible box too.

I’ve always been a fan of BMW’s crossover GT derivatives: the first one, the 5 Series GT was a Marmite car when it launched in 2009, drawing admirers and detractors in equal measure, but I thought it looked different, handsome and made a statement about luxury and power. Then we had the 3-series GT and now this, the replacement for the 5 GT, and the most stylish of the bunch in my opinion, although I don’t like the design of the current 6 Series, and this has made a far more svelte silhouette out of a fairly chunky boulevard cruiser.

And so we get greater space, comfort and standard specification in this model over the 5 Series GT. The versions on offer at launch are the 630i (four-cylinder, 2.0-litre petrol), 640i XDrive (six-cyl, 3.0-litre petrol with four-wheel drive) and the 630d (six-cyl 3.0-litre) in either two-wheel drive or xDrive four-wheel-drive versions. Transmission is BMW’s eight-speed automatic. With me so far?

There are two trim levels on offer – SE and M Sport (another £3,600). Standard levels of equipment include heated front seats, rain sensors, automatic headlights, reversing camera, sport multi-function steering wheel, dual air-con, DAB, leather and brushed aluminium all over the shop, adaptive LED headlights, digital dials, Bluetooth… the lot. M Sport gives you a panoramic glass roof, leather dashboard, sports seats, 19in wheels, chrome quad exhausts, M aero styling pack, M Sport suspension and brakes.  

All of which gives you quite a lot more standard spec over the Mercedes CLS and Audi A7 S line competitors.

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It’s a lovely thing to sit in, with acres of leg, shoulder and headroom for four adults: the rear is particularly pleasant, with reclined, wide seats and swathes of smartly stitched, soft leather. It feels more like the interior of a model on the next rung up the premium ladder, such as a Mercedes S-class, or BMW’s own 7 Series.

We tested the 630d. The engine emits a distant woofle at tickover, and not much more on the move: BMW diesels have always been creamy, smooth power units. That engine is plenty for every-day, occasionally spirited driving, with a huge dose to torque (457lb ft); you can select Sport from the dynamics mode, but it doesn’t feel quite fitting in such a huge car. 

BMW’s steering remains a thing of well-weighted, precise joy and, despite this feeling like a big car to sit in and drive, the feedback from the chassis means it’s easy to place on the road and push through a few corners with some verve, as befits a car which has grand tourer in its badge, albeit alongside a bit of everything else… The rear-wheel-drive version inevitably handles with more dynamism than the XDrive model, but I’d choose peace of mind in a wet field over sporty handling in a car that’s built more for activity and long mileage than darting manoeuvres.

It’s a bit of everything, this car, but you can’t fault it for that: in the end, it’s a sumptuous, peaceful, luxurious place to sit and drive or be driven.

The Numbers

Engine: 2,993cc twin turbo diesel

Transmission: 8-spd manual

bhp/lb ft: 261/457

0-62mph: 6.0sec

Top Speed: 155mph

Price as tested: £71,145 (from £56,100)

  • BMW

  • 6 Series GT

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