By M. Costello
The ultra-niche BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo (GT) is due to hit global markets last month, to complement the shorter 5 Series sedan and estate (station-wagon) range.
BMW’s undoubtedly slicker successor to the polarising and moderately taller 5 Series GT retains the signature higher hip point, hatchback tailgate and stretched wheelbase (3070mm) to grow rear legroom – a key to doing well in China, its main market.
I believe that two variations will be available for order in African markets, kicking off with the rear-drive 630i GT at US $86,500 before options (US $9,000 more than a 530i sedan and US $5000 more than the estate), and topping out with the all-wheel drive US $104,200 640i xDrive GT.
For a further point of reference, the outgoing 5 Series GT range-topper, the 535i M Sport, cost US $87,500. All in all, the company has sold 664 units of the 5er GT since 2011 – small numbers, but big price margins.
Pictured: New BMW 6 Series GT (above) and outgoing 5 Series GT (below)
The 6 Series GT is as much as 105kg lighter than its predecessor, because it uses the same high-strength steel and aluminium architecture as the 5 Series and 7 Series.
The sleeker design isn’t just for show. It’s much more aerodynamic (0.28Cd), a figure aided by active grille shutters and air breathers behind the front wheels.
Dimensionally it’s 87mm longer and 20mm lower than the 5 Series GT, and its 610L boot with the back seats in use is up 110L. Somehow, it’s actually 40L more spacious than the G31 5 Series estate.
Rear occupants get a full panoramic roof on both variants, while the back seats flip-fold 40:20:40 and offer through-loading for long things.
The 630i GT gets the latest 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo-petrol engine making 190kW of power and 400Nm of torque, while the 640i gets an inline-six petrol with a twin-scroll turbo, and belts out 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque, while using a claimed 8.5L/100km.
The range-topper pulled a 5.3 second 0-100km/h sprint time, which isn’t bad reading for something so massive.
Both get the familiar ZF eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission used in every BMW model under the sun.
Standard to both models is adaptive air suspension on both axles, with dynamic damper control. The Sport setting lowers the car by 10mm, while you can also raise the car by 20mm below 35km/h.
The 640i is also the second BMW passenger car to get its xDrive AWD system with right-hand drive, after the 7 Series.
Also fitted to the 640i as standard (optional on the 630i) is BMW’s familiar Integral Active Steering, a fancy term for rear-wheel steering – whereby the rear wheels move opposite to the front wheels at low speed and the same direction above 60km/h.
An optional Executive Drive system for the range-topper adds active anti-roll bars.
If you want the G30 5 Series’ nifty BMW Display Key, remote control parking and gesture control system, they’ll set you back US $1100 – in total – as part of the Innovations Package.
Meanwhile, the US $5600 Indulgence Package on the 640i xDrive adds two tilting high-resolution 10-inch rear screens with various connections including Blu-Ray (unnecessary in 2017), TV function, massaging seats and soft-closing doors.
BMW 630i GT – Features & Options:
- M Sport or Luxury Line packages;
- 19-inch wheels;
- M Sport brakes;
- Adaptive LED headlights;
- Electric tailgate;
- Panoramic glass roof;
- Adaptive two-axle air suspension;
- Ambient lighting;
- Proximity key;
- 25-inch screen with iDrive 6;
- 3-inch digital instruments;
- Head-up display from the 7 Series;
- Auto high beam;
- Wireless smartphone charger;
- 16-speaker harmon/kardon surround-sound;
- Anthracite BMW Individual roof-liner;
- Dakota leather seats;
- Heated front seats with lumbar adjust;
- Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go;
- Steering and lane assist for level 2 autonomy;
- Front/rear cross-traffic alert;
- Evasion aid;
- Automated parking; and
- Surround-view camera with 3D view.
BMW 640i xDrive – Additional Options:
- xDrive AWD;
- 20-inch BMW M alloys;
- Integral Active Steering;
- Metallic paintwork as standard;
- Nappa leather seats;
- Ventilated front ‘comfort’ seats;
- Four-zone (rear) climate-control adjust;
- Ambient air; and
- Electric rear seat and sun-blinds.