BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (2012 - 2015) review
Read the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe saloon by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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It may have four doors, but as its name suggests, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé is much sleeker than you average saloon. Like the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera and Mercedes CLS it competes with, the BMW combines saloon-car practicality with coupe-like styling. The Gran Coupé not only has two more doors than the regular 6 Series, but it also has an extra 113mm between the axles, which means even sleeker looks as well as improved legroom. This is one mean-looking car, and going for M Sport trim, with its various styling tweaks, makes it even meaner.
The front of the 6 Series Gran Coupé’s cabin will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time in the regular coupé or convertible. That means multi-adjustable seats which are extremely comfortable and supportive, so long journeys can be despatched with ease. The dash is also carried over, so there’s an iDrive system that controls the car’s various functions through a 10.2-inch screen. It’s very intuitive to use. Naturally, the cabin feels like it’ll last forever, with premium materials used throughout.
The Gran Coupé’s boot is a useful size at 460 litres, but it’s smaller than those in both the Mercedes CLS and Audi A7, and it has a narrow opening. It feels more cramped than its competitors inside, too, because rear headroom is a little tight for six-footers and the small windows don’t let much light in. That said, there’s plenty of legroom.
Ride and handling
We’ve only ever tried the Gran Coupé with the optional Dynamic Drive suspension, which is a pricey option. The ride is always a little on the firm side, but it’s pretty comfortable considering the size of the wheels and the handling ability on show. Body lean is very well suppressed and there’s lots of grip. The steering is precise and weighty, while the brakes are reassuringly strong.
From launch there are 640i, 650i and 640d options, the latter being the sole diesel and also the model that’ll account for over 80 per cent of UK sales. It’s easy to see why. It delivers far superior fuel economy to the petrols and is so strong that it’s barely any slower in the real world. It’s silky smooth, too. It renders the petrols pretty pointless, in fact, even though the V8 in the 50i sounds fantastic and is brutally quick. All cars come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, complete with paddle shifts on the multi-function steering wheel.
The 6 Series Gran Coupé is not a cheap car to buy, and although the diesel version is much more economical than the petrols, you’ll still need deep pockets to run one. Residual values are fairly solid for the class but depreciation losses will still be heavy. So will insurance premiums, and if you make the most of the engines’ impressive power, you’ll rack up hefty bills for tyres.
There are two key aspects to consider here. The first is that BMWs tend to be very solidly built and pretty dependable, so you’re unlikely to have to worry about things going wrong. The other issue is that BMW dealers tend to be very switched on when it comes to looking after their customers, so if problems should crop up, things should be resolved swiftly.
There’s no Euro NCAP crash test rating available, but the 6 Series Gran Coupé packs in the safety kit. Standard equipment includes electronic stability programme, Isofix attachments in the rear, electronic brake-force distribution, anti-lock brakes and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Also standard are anti-whiplash head restraints, but if all this isn’t enough, optional extras include Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, a lane change warning system, a lane departure warning system, speed limit display and a full colour head-up display.
There are just two trim levels offered: SE and M Sport. Both trims come with the same basic equipment, but the M Sport features sportier design for the interior as well as the exterior. As standard on all cars there are 18-inch alloy wheels (19-inch on the 650i), leather trim, multimedia system with 10.2-inch screen, parking sensors all round, heated front seats and dual-zone climate control. Also standard are xenon headlights and metallic paint. The M Sport, expected to account for 80 per cent of 6 Series Gran Coupé sales, features 19-inch alloys, sports seats, body styling and black exterior trim. Options for all models include a Bang & Olufsen hi-fi and Park Assist.
The 6 Series Gran Coupé is stylish, swift, and superb to drive. It offers a sporting alternative for those who need family transport, but want more presence than a three-box saloon can provide. The diesel makes by far the most financial sense, and you lose barely anything on performance.