Although the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is a little late to the coupe-styled luxury sedan market, given its combination of performance and practicality it looks as if it was worth the wait.
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 \u2013 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 \u2013 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.
The 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is a four-door sedan with coupelike styling. Three trims are offered: 640i Gran Coupe, 650i Gran Coupe and 650i xDrive Gran Coupe. The latter two will be introduced later in the year.
Standard on the 640i Gran Coupe are 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglamps, automatic wipers, parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition\/entry, a sunroof, 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustments and memory functions), leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control and a rearview camera. Electronic features include Bluetooth, a navigation system, voice controls, the iDrive electronics interface and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB\/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The 650i differs with a V8 engine, while the 650i xDrive also has all-wheel drive.
A variety of packages are available. The Driver Assistance package features side\/top-view cameras, blind spot detection, a head-up display, lane departure warning and automated parallel parking assist. The Luxury Seating package adds a power rear sunshade, four-zone climate control and ventilated 14-way power front seats with a massage feature. The Cold Weather package provides heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a trunk pass-through ski bag. The Premium Sound package features a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system and satellite radio. Should that not be enough for the audiophile, there's also the available 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system.
For a sportier look and feel there are a few other packages. The M Sport package includes 19- or 20-inch double-spoke wheels, lower-body aero styling, a unique three-spoke steering wheel, a faux-suede headliner and a higher (155 mph) top speed limiter. The artfully named Individual Composition package includes 19- or 20-inch V-spoke wheels, LED headlamps, black-out window trim, upgraded leather upholstery, the faux-suede headliner, unique cabin accents (piano black, Sycamore wood or White Ash wood) and the availability of unique, extra-cost exterior paint colors. Individual options include adaptive suspension stabilizers, active steering, a night-vision camera, adaptive cruise control, extended leather upholstery and ceramic material controls.
Many of the package features are available as individual options as well.
Underway, the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe's turbocharged straight-6 is more than adequate for the vast majority of drivers, delivering a fat torque spread that's apparent the instant you lean into the throttle. The transmission is on point as well, providing quick and timely gearchanges. The twin-turbo V8 of the 650i raises the performance bar even higher, as it unleashes a seemingly endless flow of thrust and as such, properly competes with similar powerhouses found in some of its countryman rivals.
Handling is also impressive, considering it's a 2-ton-plus touring car. On narrow roads the rather wide Bimmer somehow doesn't feel that way; pressed on through the curves, the Gran Coupe seems to shrink around the driver. We're not so keen about the available active steering and active stabilizers, as they both lend a somewhat unnatural feel when hustling the car along. In particular, the steering lacks the company's trademark road feel while the stabilizers are actually too effective, decreasing body roll to the point that it just feels weird and takes away one of the dynamics that let one know how hard they're pushing the car.
In typical BMW fashion the Gran Coupe's ride is firmly controlled, yet comfortably supple over broken pavement. Indeed, even when fitted with the 19-inch wheels, the Gran Coupe provides a luxury car ride provided one has selected one of the Comfort settings for the electronically adjustable dampers.
Powering the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that makes 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds testing, we recorded a 5.7-second 0-60-mph sprint time, which is average for this class of car. Fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg city\/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg for combined driving.
The V8-powered 650i Gran Coupe packs a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that generates 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. BMW claims a 0-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds, but our best test track results produced a 5.2-second sprint, which is behind flagship sedans of the same ilk. Fuel economy takes quite a bit hit with the V8, as well, and falls to 17 mpg city\/25 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the rear-drive 650i and 16 mpg city\/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the xDrive 650i Gran Coupe.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes with advanced standby and drying features, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags and active front head restraints. Also available is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which provides automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 640i came to a smooth stop from 60 mph in a short 110 feet, very impressive for a 4,300-pound luxury car.
As expected, the Gran Coupe offers top-shelf materials and craftsmanship in a fitting, cockpit-centric design. The ambience is intimate, with the extended center console and fastback roof line adding to the effect. BMW's iDrive electronics interface works well for controlling the Gran Coupe's various systems, though it can come off as rather complicated at first. Some rival systems are easier to use.
Unlike the 6 Series Coupe, the Gran Coupe provides comfortable seating for a pair of adults in back, provided they are about 5-feet 10-inches or less. This is essentially a four-seater, however, as a middle rear seat passenger would have to be pretty short and sit with their legs splayed on either side of the center console.
Trunk space is pretty generous at 16.2 cubic feet, and the split backseat folds down to increase cargo capacity if need be. There is also a trunk pass-through between the rear seats.
Powerful engines; many standard features; cutting-edge technology; seductive style.
Pricier than rivals; artificial driving feel when equipped with certain options.