2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe Road Test

An Edmunds.com Road Test Review of the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe featuring reviews of its performance, comfort, function, design and build quality.

"Hey, that's a beautiful BMW. It's new, isn't it?" asks a man in a Pujols jersey getting out of a Range Rover.

"Yes, it's a 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe. Goes on sale in a few weeks."

"Looks great," he says before taking his wife's hand as they stroll toward Angel Stadium. Fifty feet later, we hear him say, "Honey, look, that's the Porsche I was telling you about — the Panorama."

No way he said that. Oh, but he did. So he's a bit confused about Porsche's big-buck sedan, but he's right about the new 640i Gran Coupe, though. It's a looker. And it has been a long time since any Bimmer was straight-up gorgeous.

We're relieved he didn't ask how it drives, though. There's no easy answer to that, and we'd have felt bad if he missed the first pitch.

This Isn't an Ultimate Driving Machine? Ordinarily, we enjoy talking BMW minutiae with strangers. There's always plenty to talk about, given that the cars have a knack for turning the most depressing commute into an adventure. You never forget their inline six-cylinder engines' relentless drive toward redline, nor the wonderful sounds they make. And you instinctively know there's something different and good about the way your Bimmer steers even when you're only parking at a Starbucks.

But the case for the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe isn't so clear-cut. It's the entry-level, six-cylinder model in the new four-door 6 Series family. Come late August, it'll be joined by the V8-powered 650i Gran Coupe in both rear-drive ($86,395) and all-wheel-drive ($90,395) versions. A month later, the M6 Gran Coupe will debut in Paris.

The 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe uses a direct-injected 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with a single twin-scroll turbocharger. Designated N55HP, this engine is rated at 315 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 330 pound-feet of torque, which comes together at 1,400 rpm and sticks around until 4,500 rpm.

We like the 300-hp version of this engine in the 535i, but even with the bump in power, it doesn't feel as potent in the Gran Coupe, which weighs over 200 pounds more. Our 640i also has the sluggish throttle response we've complained about in other six- and eight-cylinder BMWs with an automatic transmission. Switching to Sport mode in the Driving Dynamics Control menu hastens its responses in city traffic but still can't simulate enough low-end grunt to make it feel truly quick.

The midrange is more exciting, and if you have the patience to shift the eight-speed automatic manually, the turbo inline-6 sounds sweet approaching 7,000 rpm. Under part-throttle inputs in traffic, though, the engine note is industrial and uninspired. Start-stop is standard on the Gran Coupe, and although the prospect of saving fuel warms the heart, this system is more abrupt than we like so it gets annoying in stop-and-go traffic. Fortunately, you can disable this feature.

Acceleration numbers are unremarkable, as the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe takes 5.7 seconds to reach 60 mph (5.4 seconds with 1 foot of rollout as on a drag strip) and 14.2 seconds at 95.0 mph for the quarter-mile. That's no better than a 535i, which carries a $23,500 lower base price. The Audi A7 beats it, too (5.4-second 0-60 time, 13.6-second quarter-mile at 101.7 mph), and so will the Mercedes-Benz CLS550, which has a twin-turbo V8 and still costs less ($72,175). The V6-equipped Porsche Panamera is a hair slower to 60 but prevails in the quarter-mile (14 seconds flat at 98.4 mph).

No Small Thing Then again, BMW didn't build the 640i Gran Coupe so you could win stoplight drag races. We pretend not to hear the come-ons from a black Corvette. Seriously, guy, it's 2 a.m. and there's always an officer waiting behind that 7-Eleven.

Instead, this is a GT in its most elegant form. It's also as Gran as they come in its physical dimensions, with a 4.5-inch-longer wheelbase than a normal BMW 6 Series coupe (same wheelbase as a 5 Series, actually) and an overall length of 197.2 inches (4.4 more than the two-door). Width is unchanged, but the Gran Coupe is nearly an inch taller. Ah, so that's why we can sit in back without complaining; BMW claims almost 5 more inches of rear legroom compared to the 6 Series coupe and over an inch more headroom.

The four-door 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe is also longer and heavier than the A7, CLS550 and any version of the Panamera, save for the hybrid. Yet it's not nearly the handful (eh, armful?) that it should be in the Malibu canyons, even on the narrowest of roads. At a moderate pace, the king-size 6 Series shrinks around you and has you believing you're driving something a bit smaller — at least until you have to steer around fallen rocks. Braking performance is outstanding, with good pedal feel and a best 60-mph-to-0 stop of 110 feet.

Is Anybody Listening? The brake pedal is the only real open line of communication with the car, because the other channels are clogged with static from a vast array of chassis technology.

Adaptive dampers are standard, and our car has optional adaptive antiroll bars (Active Roll Stabilization, $2,500) and Integral Active Steering ($1,750), which adds rear-wheel steering capability to the conventional electric power steering setup. The idea is to enhance maneuverability in tight spaces and make the car feel more stable in high-speed sweepers, but we have yet to experience a four-wheel steering system that actually improves the way a car feels from the driver seat.

It's a disappointment in the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe, which lacks both steering feel and precision, as you and the car are continually trying to override each other's inputs. We can quantify our disappointment, too. The six-cylinder Gran Coupe goes through the slalom at just 64.9 mph. That's more than a half-second slower than a larger 740i sedan (without the four-wheel steering option) we tested. The A7, which also doesn't have great steering, is good for 65.3 mph, while the Panamera is some kind of alien at 68.4 mph.

"Every cone was its own event, requiring constant adjustments on my part," says Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton. Translation: not fun.

It's a similar story on the skid pad. Even though this 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe has stickier Dunlop Sport Maxx GT summer tires (sized 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear) than the 740i test car, its odd steering and funky throttle calibration hold it back — 0.87g vs. 0.90g for the six-cylinder 7 Series sedan.

Nice Place if You Can Afford It Even as we complain, the 6 Series Gran Coupe does some pretty amazing things. Its 20-inch run-flat tires have tiny sidewalls, yet the big sedan still provides an exceptionally compliant ride with none of the impact harshness you get in the 7 Series. And although the eight-speed automatic upshifts early to keep mpg in the 20s (we got 19.9 mpg over 450 miles), it shifts quickly when you're running hard and gives you tidy, rev-matched downshifts every time.

Inside, the cockpit has a life to it that's lacking in the 3, 5 and 7 Series cabins, which are like business suits cut to different sizes. The center console flows so naturally out of the dash that you won't be able to stop yourself from checking off the extended leather option ($3,000) to complete the effect. Materials quality is superb, as it must be for this price. However, the plastic shift paddles are an unwelcome surprise, especially since we have metal ones in our long-term Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

Further, it's hard to imagine this car with a lesser grade of leather than this $3,000 Ivory White napa stuff, and we feel we shouldn't have to pay extra to get ventilation and massage capability for the front seats ($3,600), unless that option also includes a weekly visit from a human masseuse.

Don't Try To Rationalize Of course, when you start doing the math, you out yourself as a member of the 99 percent. The target buyer for the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe will not likely care that the Audi A7 is so much cheaper. Nor will they worry that even with a full plate of options, the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is still cheaper than this six-cylinder BMW's six-figure price tag.

The four-door BMW 6 Series is a beautiful car for sure. And the reason to buy one this month is not because you think you won't be able to afford the 650i version, but because you simply can't wait a whole summer to put something this striking in your garage.

We're hopeless plebeians, though, so we advise waiting until BMW puts more engine in this car and retunes the chassis underneath it to make it feel as good as it looks.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe First Drive

The latest four-door coupe from Germany, the BMW 640i Gran Coupe combines performance and practicality in a sleek package with few shortcomings.

"What took you so long?" That's the question many might put to BMW once they've drunk in the handsome sight of the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe.

Long, low, subtly muscled and drenched with desirability, this is a car that BMW ought to have introduced years ago. Mercedes started the four-door "coupe" trend with its CLS way back in 2005, followed by Porsche's Panamera and Audi's A7. There was a hint of something with the Concept CS at the 2007 Shanghai Auto Show, but then nothing.

According to BMW product management man Thomas Giuliani, the reasons were partly the recession, and partly the desire to base the Gran Coupe on the latest 6 Series platform. The new BMW 6 Series coupe and convertible arrived last year, and now we are in Sicily behind the wheel of the Gran Coupe to see if it was worth the wait.

A Good Start Curiously, Munich is pitching the Gran Coupe not as a direct Mercedes CLS competitor but as a model positioned slightly above and closer to the Panamera. But the differences in size, price and power seem too small to put much clear blue water between the $71,300 Benz and the roughly $77,000 BMW.

We're not thinking much about that once on the roads of Italy's southernmost island that previously hosted the famously sinuous Targa Florio road race. And with 315 horsepower and a claimed 0-62-mph time of 5.4 seconds, we figured the promise of high entertainment would eventually show up.

The 3.0-liter straight-6 spins with creamy eagerness, its twin-scroll turbocharger delivering a fat torque spread that's unleashed the instant you sink the throttle. There's no lag evident here, especially as the engine's hooked to an eight-speed paddle-shift transmission that masks turbo inertia almost completely.

The out-of-town roads are narrow and this Gran Coupe wide, but it doesn't feel that way because it's quick to respond to the wheel, barely rolls and on tight turns provides extra maneuverability via that optional active steering, as well as rear-wheel steering.

Add speed and the BMW's confidently athletic nature breaks through, as does the light, urgent beat of a straight-6 that's more than powerful enough to make a convincing sport sedan of this car. Soon we're bounding from bend to bend with rampant speed, fine balance and brakes that seem well up to regularly shedding the speed of a 4,191-pound missile.

Complete Package And then there's the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Sport's ride. That may seem strange to mention when chasing dynamic thrills, but the combination of dynamic electronic dampers and dynamic drive, which adjusts the resistance of the anti-sway bars to minimize body roll while allowing for a suppler, loping ride, is vital on roads puckered by sun-melted tarmac.

You can alter the suspension's degree of absorbency — assuming you've ordered the dynamic dampers — as well as the transmission's shift strategy, the engine's power delivery and the ESP settings — by toggling through the quintet of settings provided by the center console's adaptive drive button. They range from the fuel-saving Eco Pro mode through Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, the last of these partly deactivating the ESP. Select a comfort setting and even on optional 19-inch rims, this BMW rides battered urban roads with near limolike equanimity.

But the real pleasures are to come when the road gets tight; Sicily doesn't seem to do plain straightaways much anyway. A standard Gran Coupe is said to be slightly sportier than the equivalent, more comfort-oriented BMW 5 Series, says BMW, but the Gran Coupe's composure is a little more relaxed than the 6 Series coupe, which has the sportiest standard setup of the bunch.

Tossable for a Big Car Most of Sicily's roads are buffed to an entertainingly low state of grip, so although the rear wheels may be wearing fat, 275-section rubber, they break away with ease. It's a discovery that rapidly provides plenty of tail-wagging enjoyment, the ESP part-disengaged to allow a ceaseless string of indulgent micro-slides.

Rare stretches of freshly surfaced road soon prove that this BMW musters the plentiful grip that you'd expect on smooth tarmac. And curiously, the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe comes over as a more convincing drive than the 6 Series coupe, presumably because of the longer wheelbase and different suspension settings.

To access the best of the Gran Coupe's bountiful grunt you must paddle the transmission, an activity that allows full enjoyment of the engine's impressively broad slug of eagerly delivered torque. When the road does straighten a little, the BMW's civility can be savored. The supple ride, the smoothly subdued engine and the lack of commotion make progress as relaxing as the Gran Coupe's sumptuous ambience.

High Style Throughout The visual appeal of this car carries over to the interior, too, especially if the Gran Coupe features some of BMW's more lavish options. Ours feels like sitting in a rich layer cake, this cabin upholstered in a mix of tan and ice-white hide, a strikingly elegant combination that to these eyes at least, is deeply pleasing.

Laser-straight double-stitching, a tan Alcantara headliner and white wood inserts — this looks a lot better than it sounds — make this a car that's a pleasure merely to sit in, never mind drive.

So do its multiple convenience features, although many of these require further spending, from the excellent head-up display to surround-view front cameras, an air-ripping Bang & Olufsen stereo, near-endlessly adjustable front seats and soft-closing doors.

More fundamental practicalities include a rear passenger compartment that proves surprisingly spacious for two. You can even perch a middle-seat occupant in between for short trips if they don't mind resting their feet on the tunnel-mounted center console. Long-legged front-seat passengers may find their left knee interfered with by the swoop of the center console, however. The trunk is almost long enough to lose things in and unexpectedly, the rear-seat backrests usefully fold forward to extend it.

Worth the Wait Details like these make the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe an easier car to own — or an easier one to justify — even if it takes an indulgent trip through the options catalog to reproduce.

But even without a trailer-load of extras, this highly stylish four-door coupe has to be one of the best cars in BMW's armory. It's pleasing to look at, endlessly entertaining from behind the wheel and surprisingly devoid of compromises. It's as though BMW took its time to perfect the four-door coupe instead of merely rushing out a new model to get a stake in the game. If only it could take so long with all of its new models.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Review

Edmunds.com reviews the 2013 BMW 6 Gran Coupe, providing authoritative buying advice, pricing, available options, photos, specs and safety information.

There's a relatively new segment in the premium luxury car world, an automotive oxymoron known as the four-door coupe. Essentially a four-door sedan with a lower, sleeker roof line, this odd breed offers sexier styling with the practicality of four doors. For 2013, BMW has jumped in with the 6 Series Gran Coupe. Although BMW refers to it as a 6 Series (to further drive home the "coupe" association), it's essentially a 5 Series sedan wearing a sharper suit. That said, being 4.4 inches longer than a 6 Series coupe, the Gran Coupe provides easier access to its roomier rear quarters.

The 640i Gran Coupe sports a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 while the 650i Gran Coupe packs a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. Either way performance is strong and, in the case of the 640i Gran Coupe, so is fuel efficiency – BMW estimates it will achieve 24 mpg in combined driving. As expected, the Gran Coupe also boasts BMW's dizzying array of technology and safety features and is well-equipped to do battle with its few competitors.

Among its rivals, there are the similarly sleek Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and Porsche Panamera. Any of them will provide a spirited drive along with plenty of comfort for road trips. However, the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is the priciest of the lot -- even the "entry-level" 640i can top $100,000 when one goes crazy with the expensive options packages.

Much like the rest of this bunch, the BMW is more of a "grand tourer" than a sport sedan/coupe. Of course, with a name like Gran Coupe, that shouldn't come as a surprise. But it's worth noting that car enthusiasts expecting BMW's traditionally engaging handling dynamics will likely be disappointed – at least near the performance limits.

Overall, the Gran Coupe hasn't really raised the bar in the coupe-styled luxury sedan segment. But there's no doubt it's still a desirable car. For this grouping, a purchase decision will likely come down to which one's overall design, driving position and luxury features best suit your preferences.