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BMW 6 Series 2012 Review

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is a large, luxurious, performance vehicle with good looks and hi-tech fuel efficiency

Out there there’s the sedate sedan man who covets a sporty two-door coupe; there’s a coupe owner who craves the convenience of four doors. Now both can have it all with the new BMW 640i Gran Coupe.

VALUE

Priced at $184,800, plus on-road costs, to say it’s a blend of heart-racing good looks and eye-watering performance is not to overstate the Gran Coupe. Efficiencies are obtained through the use of an Eco Pro driving mode, auto stop/start engine function, brake energy regeneration, electromechanical power steering, ancillary units used only on demand, an air-conditioning compressor that can be disengaged, active air flap control to cut drag and the use of lightweight materials throughout the vehicle. 

Advanced chassis technology, which includes the use of aluminium for strength and weight saving, ensures premium ride quality and dynamic performance of the Gran Coupe. Also standard is a full-colour head-up display projected onto the windscreen directly in front of the driver giving speed, sat nav guidance, messages and alerts from the lane departure system and night vision.

A range of interior finishes are also available. Topping the lot is an M Sports package that includes M aerodynamics up front, side skirts and rear apron, dark chrome tailpipe tips, and black brake callipers on 20-inch alloy wheels with double spoke design, plus M body colours.

TECHNOLOGY

Following the well travelled road of full-on sporty performance with exceptional fuel economy, the Gran Coupe calls on BMW’s award-winning 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with precision petrol injection and twin scroll turbocharger. Peak power of 235 kW comes up between 5800 and 6000 rpm and 450 Nm of torque from 1300 to 4500 revs. This means the car will clear the line on the way to hitting the 100 km/h tape in just 5.4 seconds.

With the motor matched to an eight-speed Sport automatic transmission and benefiting from BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology, average fuel consumption is claimed to be 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle, while putting out 183 grams of carbon dioxide every kilometre.

DESIGN

As the name suggests, the luxurious Coupe makes itself known in a Gran(d) manner. With limousine proportions - the car measures 5007 mm long thanks to a 2968 mm wheelbase, 113 mm more than the 6 Series Coupe and Convertible - the winners here are the back seat passengers who enjoy increased leg room.

Indeed, it is the longest vehicle in the segment, one that includes the likes of the Aston Martin Rapide and the Maserati Quattroporte. The extra couple of doors mean there are more windows, letting more light into the cabin. The front of the vehicle returns to the beloved company shark nose and kidney radiator grille, while the BMW emblem itself dominates the long bonnet which reaches out to the set-back passenger cabin.

In profile, there’s no missing the fact of the Gran Coupe’s low centre of gravity, which is only emphasised by sharp horizontal lines across the rear and a third stop lamp which runs the full width of the top edge of the rear window. Exterior paint includes a matt finish Frozen Bronze which, among others, produces a facial Max Factor would have been proud to call his own.

Despite the low lines, the vehicle height is increased over the Coupe model and the 460 litre boot is capable of carrying three golf bags, expanding to 1265 litres with the rear seat backs folded flat. Inside the cabin it will comfortably seat four adults, with the option of using the centre rear position for a fifth providing he or she is prepared to straddle the centre console. All seats are wrapped in Dakota leather, with the option of Nappa hides with contrasting stitching adding extra class.

SAFETY

Safety is high on the list of Gran Coupe features. These include active cruise control which will keep the vehicle at a pre-determined distance from the vehicle in front. A collision warning system automatically sounds an alarm and applies the brakes to slow down the vehicle can be activated via the car’s iDrive menu.

A park distance alarm and a reversing camera which projects the rear view onto the in-car screen are standard and can be added to with a surround view system that incorporates a side view too. Optional park assist helps the driver seek out a potential parking space and takes control of parking, steering into the space with the driver operating only the accelerator and brake.

At night standard high beam assist sets high beam and dips the lights automatically for oncoming, or close-ahead, traffic, while an optional night vision system uses a thermal imaging camera to pick up pedestrians, animals or anything emitting heat and show them on the control display in the cabin.

DRIVING

An option unique to the class is integrated active steering in which the steering angle of the rear wheels is altered to match the power assistance and steering angle of the front wheels. Agility is improved on tight bends, in lane changing and in city traffic.

When it comes to driving, the Gran Coupe could well be described as being ‘all cars to all men’. A so-called Driving Experience Control button on the centre console dishes up Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes which work on accelerator pressure and engine response, gear shifts, power steering and stability control to suit the driver’s style and the occupants wishes. The button also brings into play Eco Pro which highlights driving style and how to match it to maximum fuel economy.

While all this is going on, cabin occupants can be entertained by a premium Bang and Olufsen audio and for an extra $16,000 a high-end surround sound system with 14 speakers and two sub-woofers in thrall to 1200 Watts of power. Notes from the engine finding their way into the comfortable and classy cabin were perfectly in tune with the sporty aspect of the vehicle.

Adaptive LED headlamps feature white LED corona rings as parking and daytime running lights. These are flattened at the bottom and overlapped at the top edge with a further LED light. It’s almost as if the car were sharply concentrating on the road ahead. The 6 Series Gran Coupe standard package is a whole box and dice of what is best about BMW’s adherence to producing drivers’ cars, a point repeatedly illustrated on our run.

VERDICT

The Gran Coupe offers a great example of luxury with a touch of larrikin ladness.

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

Price: From $184,800
Warranty: 3 years roadside
Safety: Not rated
Engine: 3.0-litre, 6-cyl turbo petrol, 235kW/450Nm
Ttransmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Thirst: 7.9L/100km, 183g/km CO2
Body: 5007mm (L), 1894mm (W), 1392mm (H)
Weight: 1750kg

Pricing guides

$52,305
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$33,220
Highest Price
$71,390

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
650i 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $47,960 – 55,110 2012 BMW 6 Series 2012 650i Pricing and Specs
650i 4.8L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $52,250 – 60,060 2012 BMW 6 Series 2012 650i Pricing and Specs
650i Gran Coupe 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $62,150 – 71,390 2012 BMW 6 Series 2012 650i Gran Coupe Pricing and Specs