BMW News

The world of BMW models is in a state of constant flux; first the 6 Series coupe was supplanted by the upcoming 8 Series. The G30 BMW 5 Series lineup has not included a new version of the 5 Series Gran Turismo. However, as of June 13, 2017, the recently reshuffled 6 Series model line contains something it never had before: a 6 Series Gran Turismo. It appears that the rumors were true.

The 5 Series Gran Turismo transmogrified into the 6 Series Gran Turismo while the 6 Series Coupe is no more. The title of flagship coupe next will be conferred upon the all-new 8 Series Coupe. The BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo will be available this fall as the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. Base price will be $69,700 plus $995 destination and handling.

Larger and better looking than the 5 Series Gran Turismo, the 640i Gran Turismo has more legroom and rear headroom than a sedan and might appeal to buyers looking for more sporty lines than they might find in a sedan—or an X6. But with the 6 Series Gran Coupe still available and arguably more pleasing to the eye—especially for coupe lovers—it remains to be seen if the 6 Series Gran Turismo has enough going for it to create a niche with strong sales.

What it does have going for it is a strong engine. The turbocharged three-liter inline six generates 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. That's enough for a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. Lightweight construction and standard 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission with paddle shifters help with the 640i GT's quickness, as do improved aerodynamics featuring the BMW Active Kidney Grille, Air Curtains, Air Breathers and an active rear spoiler.

As for the body, BMW Group head of design Adrian van Hooydonk explained, "The all-new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo is geared towards discerning customers who place great importance on individuality. It is an eye-catching statement, packaged into a flowing, sculptural design language, which gives the car a modern and sporty feel. The raised seating position ensures an imperious brand of driving pleasure, and the luxurious levels of space provide everything you need for a relaxing journey.”

As with the BMW Concept 8 Series, some BMW fans may wonder if the Hofmeister kink is getting a little too kinky; but then, what looked good on a 3.0 CSL may not translate to newer Bimmers without a little modernizing.

As with other family members coming out this year, the headlights extend from the side of the fender all the way to the kidney grilles, which are sizable. Adaptive full LED headlights are standard, by the way. The grilles are part of BMW’s Active Kidney Grille system that opens moveable slats behind the vertical, fixed slats to provide additional air when required. Normally the moveable slats are closed to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

In back, the active rear spoiler automatically extends over 75 mph and retracts again under 50 mph to reduce lift and improve the drag coefficient.

Two non-metallic and ten metallic colors will be available for the 6 Series GT. The Sport design line is standard with driver and passenger Sport Seats with power adjustable side bolsters, an Anthracite headliner, and a SensaTec upholstered dashboard.

The optional Luxury Package features chrome kidney grille bars and front and rear bumper trim finishers on the outside and power rear seat back adjustment inside.

Standard upholstery for the 640i GT is Dakota leather, while quilted Nappa leather in Ivory White, Black, or Mocha is optional.

The M Sport Package is optional and includes an M Aerodynamic kit with front apron with larger air intakes, side skirt trim, and diffuser-style rear apron, Shadowline exterior trim, and 19-inch M Double-Spoke Wheels with All-season Run Flat Tires or Mixed Performance Run Flat Tires. Buyers may upgrade to 20-inch M Double-Spoke Wheels with Mixed Performance Run Flat Tires. Inside the car, the M Sport Package provides a new M Sport leather steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and exclusive floor mats when choosing the optional Black Dakota Leather with contrast blue stitching and piping. Other additions to the M Sport package include the optional Dynamic Handling Package adding Integral Active Steering, Adaptive Drive two-axle air suspension, Active Roll Stabilization, and Dynamic Damper Control.

 The 6 Series Gran Turismo has more cargo space than a normal coupe, and that space is accessed through a single tailgate that opens and closes with Comfort Access or a hands-free foot movement under the rear bumper. The 40/20/40 split rear seat backrest can be folded down from inside the passenger compartment or by using an electric remote release button in the trunk. This expands storage space to 65 cubic feet.

Navigation system Professional is standard, and the 8 Speed Steptronic transmission uses it to change shift patterns based on upcoming road features like hills and corners. For example, the transmission may downshift earlier since it knows it is approaching an intersection, or it may delay an upshift when it knows that two quick corners in succession are coming up. In Eco Pro mode, the coasting function decouples the drivetrain when the driver lifts off the accelerator between 30 and 100 mph.

Air suspension with automatic self-leveling is standard. This maintains a constant ride height regardless of driving situation or payload. The Dynamic Handling Package offers more sportiness and complements Dynamic Damper Control with Active Roll Stabilization and Integral Active Steering.

iDrive 6.0 is standard and the center Control Display is now a high-resolution 10.25-inch touchscreen. BMW claims the voice control system responds to natural voice inputs and Gesture Control is also available for certain functions. The BMW Head-Up Display is now 75 percent larger with a 480 x 800 pixel resolution.

The BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo is the first BMW with a standard Active Driving Assistant. Using cameras, radars, and ultrasonic sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, the car can maintain cruise control with distance following from zero to 130 mph and can bring the car to a complete stop if necessary. If the vehicle is placed into standby mode by pushing the resume button on the steering wheel, it can automatically start moving again up to 30 seconds after coming to a full stop. It's not completely self-driving, but it can be a stress reliever in stop-an-go traffic.

The Active Lane Keeping Assistant and Traffic Jam Assistant are also active at speeds between zero and 130 mph. It uses road markings and the vehicles it sees ahead to help the driver keep the vehicle in the detected lane with steering assistance. It's also not totally self-driving, since it will only operate for up to 50 seconds at a time with the driver’s hands off the steering wheel. More steering assistance is provided when necessary by the Active Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Avoidance and Evasion Aid. Fully autonomous driving is still years away, but these features on the 6 Series Gran Turismo might aid safety and driver fatigue if they work as promised.

The 6 Series Gran Turismo’s Parking Assistant can put the car into parallel, perpendicular, and angled parking spaces. The car can detect usable spaces and then handle the acceleration, braking, steering, and gear changes needed to get into the parking spots.

A new BMW wouldn't be a new BMW without connectivity. With the Open Mobility Cloud, your smartphone and vehicle are connected as never before, and not just when you're in the car. Agenda-related information on your iOS or Android devices such as appointments and addresses are detected and taken into account when computing the route for your trips. The app calculates the ideal departure time based on the latest traffic information and notifies the driver accordingly with a message on their smartphone or smartwatch. Upon starting the car, which is also connected to the Open Mobility Cloud, the navigation system can access the route directly. BMW Connected is also an adaptive system that is capable of automatically learning and storing places that are regularly visited and personal mobility patterns.

Navigation system Professional in the 6 Series Gran Turismo allows updates over the air, hazard warnings based on car-to-car communication, Advanced Real Time Traffic Information, and On-Street Parking Information.

Car-to-car communication between other similarly equipped BMWs allows advanced warning of hazardous traffic situations. Information on any detected hazards such as an accident, a broken-down vehicle, dense fog, heavy rain, or black ice, for example, is also relayed to the BMW backend from where it is imported into the navigation system of both the driver’s car and also other BMWs in the vicinity.

We're sure the 2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo will be a technological tour de force with connectivity and driver assistance systems. Even though it's a big car, the sophisticated suspension will probably make it fairly nimble. We have no doubt the engine is strong enough to make driving it exciting. And it does look a lot better, in our opinion, than the 5 Series Gran Turismo it supplanted. So the question that remains is where it fits. Will someone looking at a 6 Series Gran Coupe or an X6 Sports Activity Coupe decide the new 6 Series Gran Turismo has better looks, capacity, and performance? But again, since it's an improvement over the old 5 Series Gran Turismo, at least it has a chance.—Scott Blazey

[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]