BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo hatchback (2017 - ) review
The 6 Series GT is an unusual car, an executive hatchback that aims to combine luxury and practicality, and rivals cars like Audi’s A7 Sportback or the Mercedes-Benz CLS.
Interested in buying a BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo?
How good does it look?
The 6 Series Gran Turismo is an unusual-looking car, with an enlarged boot area that some have described as awkward, but we’ll leave you to decide that one. Feature-wise, it’s well kitted-out. The entry-level SE model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and super-bright LED headlights, as well as fog lights and parking sensors front and rear. Opt for the more expensive M Sport model and you’ll get 19-inch alloy wheels, a sportier body kit and a panoramic glass sunroof, as well as different suspension and more powerful brakes.
What's the interior like?
If you’re also considering Audi’s A7 Sportback as an alternative to the 6 Series GT, the BMW has a substantial benchmark of interior quality to match. It doesn’t do a bad job, with solid build quality and materials that never feel cheap, even if they don’t quite match the Audi when you look lower down in the cabin. BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is easy to use via a dial next to the gearstick, or it can also be operated using the touch-screen. There's also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
How practical is it?
There’s bags of room for four adults in the 6 Series GT, and even tall people should have lots of head space in the rear. Although it’s not an estate car, the hatchback boot lid means there’s a decent amount of space in the back for larger items, and the floor lifts to provide extra space for smaller items underneath. The rear seats don’t quite fold down flat, but with them down we nevertheless managed to fit a full-sized road bike in the boot with plenty of space to spare. The door pockets are a good size, as are the two cupholders up front, and there’s another storage space in the central armrest.
What's it like to drive?
Most of the time the ride is comfortable, although there were a few occasions in our 630d M Sport test car where there was a slight shimmying in the cabin while on the motorway. It was far from disconcerting, and overall it’s a ride that’s less crashy than the A7 Sportback’s air suspension, but it lacks the feeling of solidity the Audi boasts. This may be specific to the stiffer M Sport suspension, however.
Handling is good for such a big car. You can change the set-up of the steering, throttle, suspension and gearbox between a variety of modes from Comfort to Sport, each of which increase or lessen the perkiness of the car. In Sport it feels agile and engaging, while in Comfort it’s more relaxed (ride issues aside) and complements the self-driving technology, which we’ll talk about further down.
How powerful is it?
Three engines are available in the 6 Series GT. We’ve tried the 630d diesel, which has a meaty 265 horsepower that makes for quick, effortless progress, hitting 62mph in just 6.2 seconds. You can opt for rear- or all-wheel drive. We tried the latter and it provides superb traction.
If you want petrol engines, you have a choice of two: the 630i has almost identical performance to the diesel, while the 640i is more powerful, hitting 62mph in 5.3 seconds. While the line-up is impressive, if you’re after something less powerful and better on fuel economy, you’re out of luck for now. All models use an automatic gearbox that’s quick and smooth to the point where you never need to think about it, and you also get paddles behind the steering wheel to change gear manually if you want to.
How much will it cost me?
The 6 Series Gran Turismo’s purchase cost is broadly in line with its competition, chiefly Audi’s A7 Sportback and the Mercedes-Benz CLS. However, while most running costs are similar to its rivals – and its service, maintenance and repair costs are impressively low – industry expectations for the BMW’s resale value aren’t as positive. It seems likely that over a three-year period, it could cost you more to run the BMW, as it’s unlikely to hold onto its value as well as its rivals.
How reliable is it?
BMW has a below-average reputation for reliability, judging by Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, which ranks manufacturers by past performance. Its performance in JD Power’s 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study was even worse, coming in last of all 25 manufacturers analysed. Hopefully the 6 Series GT will buck the trend.
How safe is it?
The 6 Series GT scored a maximum five stars when crash tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP, and it comes equipped with some of the latest and greatest safety technologies available, although not all are standard. All cars have automatic emergency braking, which will intervene if the driver doesn’t react to an impending accident. Optional systems include the Dynamic Safety package, which will warn the driver if it detects signs of tiredness, and Driving Assistant, which uses cameras, radar and sensors to warn the driver of potential hazards. All cars have six airbags as standard and two Isofix child seat mounting points in the back.
How much equipment do I get?
With just two trims available, equipment levels are high in both, with leather upholstery, DAB radio, sat-nav and heated electric front seats as standard. Opt for the M Sport model over the SE and you’ll get some M-branded mats, pedals and steering wheel, as well as sportier front seats.
Most of the major options are packaged together, with the Premium package giving you massaging front seats and some clever air conditioning, and the Technology package fitting a jet fighter-style head-up display, wireless charging for your phone and gesture control, which lets you control the infotainment system with a wave of the hand.
A Rear Seat Comfort package gets you adjustable rear seats and some screens for watching TV. Other options include adaptive cruise control, which we would have hoped would be included as standard on a car at this price. You can also opt for an upgraded Bowers and Wilkins surround sound stereo, although it’s not cheap.
Taken on its own merits, the 6 Series Gran Turismo is a well-equipped and practical large car with plenty of technology. However, it competes with two other very well-regarded vehicles: the Audi A7 Sportback and the Mercedes-Benz CLS. At the time of writing the latest CLS has yet to be released, but the A7 Sportback is even more impressive than the BMW in a number of areas. We’d recommend you don’t pull the trigger on a 6 Series GT until you’ve had a good look at its rivals.