2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review Introduction
Flowing gracefully through city traffic, heads turned in wonder in its wake. The sleek, flowing lines of our 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe test car subtly attracted attention in much the same way as an intelligently charismatic individual. The moment you hear them speak, you know there’s substance there, and the more you listen to what they have to say, the more you find to appreciate.
Similarly, your first glance at BMW’s Gran Coupe will immediately arrest your attention. Then, the more you look, the more you’ll find to look at. Attractive in its simplicity, yet compelling in its elegance, the 2013 BMW rewards your attentiveness in a broad variety of ways.
Even getting past its beauty, it’s a BMW. Driving pleasure is virtually guaranteed. That it is one of BMW’s halo models also guarantees a comfortable and luxurious experience. However, rather than ostentatious in its luxury, the BMW Gran Coupe delivers luxury in a practical and useful manner, wholly befitting the car’s status as one of the ultimate driving machines.
The Gran Coupe will ultimately be offered in four levels of trim. Our 640i Gran Coupe test car is currently flanked in the showroom by the 650i Gran Coupe and the 650i xDrive Gran Coupe. Soon, the recently announced 2014 M6 Gran Coupe will join the three of them. Pricing starts at $76,895 for the 640i, $87,395 for the 650i and $90,395 for the 650i Gran Coupe xDrive. As of this writing, pricing for the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe had yet to be announced.
BTW, all quoted prices incorporate BMW’s $895 destination and handling fees.
A twin turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine powers the 640i, while the 650i Gran Coupe models use a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. The xDrive model is all-wheel drive, while all other iterations of the car are rear-wheel drive.
The more aggressively oriented M6 variant will be differentiated by dint of an M-specific front-end treatment as well as more pronounced fender flares, a carbon fiber-reinforced roof panel to add lightness, and a distinctive rear-end treatment featuring four exhaust outlets. Most importantly of all — it will also feature a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 streaming a massive 560 horsepower and 500 ft-lbs of torque through a seven-speed dual clutch sequential manual gearbox.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Design
By now, the four-door coupe concept — first introduced with the 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLS model — can reasonably be said to be rather commonplace. While BMW is coming late to this arena, it has delivered what is arguably the prettiest expression of the genre. For years, it could be said the phrase “a beautiful BMW” was almost an oxymoron. Until now, no BMW ever built could be truly classified as beautiful.
Dynamic, purposeful, and unique — yes.
Not so much.
This is largely due to the fact BMW’s design language tends to emphasize function over form. That said, while the functionality of the new BMW 640i Gran Coupe certainly informs its look too, the car is, from any angle of view, absolutely gorgeous. Long, low, lean and sleek, with a narrow greenhouse and a wide body, the BMW 640i Gran Coupe delights the eye with an arresting amalgam of fluidly graceful curves, retina-arresting surface details, and it all blends together with the sculptural quality of fine art.
Based largely upon the 2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe, the Gran Coupe’s appearance builds upon that car’s themes—while becoming a unique design all unto itself in the process. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 6 Series Coupe and the 6 Series Gran Coupe are virtually identical to one another from the B-pillar forward. Similarly, the Gran Coupe’s rear view reflects the character of its two-door sibling as well. Somehow though, adding two extra doors and a bit more length, while keeping the overall height the same as the 6 Series Coupe, translates into a singularly unique look for the 6 Series Gran Coupe.
BMW also offers a couple of styling packages for the Gran Coupe to enhance its already delicious appearance. The M Sport package offers a choice of 19- or 20-inch double-spoke wheels, partnered with lower-body aero skirts and a three-spoke steering wheel. The Individual Composition package offers a set of 19- or 20-inch V-spoke wheels, LED headlamps, and black window trim (rather than the standard chrome) for a sportier, more aggressive look.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo
The interior treatment of the Gran Coupe is virtually identical to the new BMW 6 series, which is to say the layout is exceptional in terms of its intuitiveness. Further, the materials employed are impressive in terms of their sumptuousness, and the overall comfort of the car is virtually unparalleled. Like all BMW models, this is an interior in which you can spend three to five hours driving at high speeds, arriving at your destination comfortably refreshed.
Strictly a four-place car, the Gran Coupe also features a trunk pass-through between the rear seats to its very generously sized trunk. Additionally, the rear seatback split-folds 60/40 for additional cargo space. Rear seat legroom is only a couple of notches above adequate though, so taller people will not be happy back there for long.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review : Features & Controls
Comprehensively equipped, the 6 Series Gran Coupe’s standard feature set includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglamps, automatic wipers, parking assist sensors, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, 10-way power front seats, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and a rearview camera.
And yes, the 21st Century’s typical array of hi-tech gear is well represented. Also gracing the interior of the sleek BMW four-door coupe is Bluetooth, a navigation system, voice activation, and a nine-speaker sound system fed by a head unit featuring a CD player, HD radio, a USB/iPod interface, and an auxiliary audio input jack.
Naturally, BMW’s now famous iDrive electronics interface is included as well. Personally, we have always found it intuitive and easy to use. That said; the newest iteration of the system is even more so.
For those for whom enough is never enough, optional features include; side/top-view cameras, blind spot detection, a head-up display, lane departure warning, and automated parallel parking. A power rear sunshade, four-zone climate control, and ventilated 14-way power front seats with a massage feature are also doable — as part of the Luxury Seating package.
Optional sound systems include a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen system, also with surround-sound. Both are bundled with satellite radio.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Safety & Ratings
Neither NHTSA nor the IIHS has rated the 6 Series Gran Coupe, but BMW models typically perform very well in this regard. We have no reason for concern over crashworthiness as regards the safety of the BMW Gran Coupe models.
In addition to their outstanding performance, BMW’s cars have an extraordinary amount of safety features built into them. Antilock brakes with an anticipative standby mode and self-drying features, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags, and active front head restraints are all Gran Coupe standard equipment.
Additionally, the BMW Assist emergency communications system provides automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery, and on-demand roadside assistance.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Engine & Fuel Economy
Even with all of this emphasis on styling; you can rest assured the brand’s ultimate driving machine DNA remains solidly intact. Powered by BMW’s 315-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.0–liter inline six-cylinder engine, our 640i Gran Coupe test car placed 330 foot-pounds of torque at our disposal. This, it routed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
BMW’s twin-turbocharged V8 also makes its Gran Coupe debut, endowing the lovely sedan with 450 hp and 480 ft-lbs of torque. The eight-speed transmission is paired with this engine as well.
Fuel economy is rated at 17-city/25-highway and 19 combined for the 650i. Our 640i test car’s economy is estimated at 20-city/30-highway and 24 combined.
There is an all-wheel drive iteration of the V8 powered car as well as a M6 Gran Coupe.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
Given the 6 Series Gran Coupe bridges the worlds of luxury and sport in terms of its overall character; to ensure maximum flexibility BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control allows the driver to choose from among five driving modes. Ranging from Eco-Pro through two Comfort modes to two Sport modes (culminating in Sport+), our 640i Gran Coupe could be programmed to deliver maximum fuel efficiency, exceptional comfort, or out and out roadability.
In our tests, we found the Comfort+ setting to be ideal for general cruising and touring. When the road got challenging with various twists and turns, we sampled the two sport settings and decided Sport+ delivered the most fun; with quicker steering, more urgent throttle response, and minimal body roll. Those seeking to maximize fuel economy can take advantage of the Eco-Pro mode, which retards throttle response to reduce fuel consumption and causes the transmission to seek the most fuel-efficient gear for a given set of driving circumstances. Fuel efficiency is also managed via BMW’s engine start/stop feature. This shuts the engine down at traffic signals to maximize fuel economy in city driving situations.
Another feature we particularly appreciated was the optional Integral Active Steer system. This delivers quicker turn in, a smaller turning circle, and makes parking much easier. Integral Active Steer works by providing a variable steering ratio for the front wheels, while permitting the rear wheels to steer opposite to the fronts at low speed and in the same direction as the front wheels at high speeds. This makes the car slice through corners with minimal steering inputs, but still provides extraordinary stability at high speed. While hard-core enthusiasts will bemoan the relative lack of steering feel, the accuracy and responsiveness are superb.
The Dynamic Drive adaptive anti-sway system was fitted to our tester as well. This feature uses lockable roll bars to keep the Gran Coupe flat in corners, but releases them to improve ride quality in steady state situations. It works seamlessly and helped us hustle the Gran Coupe around corners with outstanding confidence and grip.2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
Slotting nicely into BMW’s sedan lineup between the 5 Series and the 7 Series, the 6 Series Gran Coupe combines the tidy size and driving dynamics of the 5 with the sumptuousness and style of the flagship 7. Some reviewers have stated they feel the Gran Coupe is more like a really sleek 5 Series than it is an iteration of the 6 Series.
We can see validity in that argument.
Whatever you call it though, it’s very clear BMW has significantly raised the standard of the four-door coupe genus — if such a thing can be said to truly exist. For our money, this is, without question the most attractive BMW model we’ve encountered to date. All in all, we feel the Gran Coupe is a positive addition to the Bavarian manufacturer’s lineup.
Still, oriented more toward the luxury end of the spectrum than the performance aspect of it as the Gran Coupe is, while we thoroughly enjoyed driving the Gran Coupe, we’re looking very forward to an opportunity to spend some quality time with the M6 variant of the car. We appreciate what BMW has accomplished here, but hey— is there ever anything truly wrong with more power?2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons
• Bucket loads of style
• Luxurious, yet sporty
• Broad array of state of the art tech features
• Smooth, powerful and exceptionally capable
• Priced on the high side compared to the competition
• 5 Series is similar and less expensive
• Options list can easily push price past $100,000
• Limited rear seat legroom