WE DRIVE: BMW 6 Gran Coupe
BMW continues to play its numbers game and the latest single-digit badge to come up on its corporate roulette wheel for launch in South Africa is the 6 Series Gran Coupe.
You could say it’s the complete family car (except it can’t be expected to go off-road!) because it has the pace, the grace, the space (for four adults in individual sports seats) and the sheer good looks and handling to be welcome on any driveway.
Or corporate garage.
FIRST FOUR-DOOR COUPE
It’s a coupe (but has four doors), it’s a mom’s taxi (because, at a pinch, you can get three ankle-biters in the back with seat belts) and it’s a grand holiday tourer because it has good boot space (with folding rear seats) and a 70-litre fuel tank.
There’s already a separate standard two-door coupe range in the BMW Series stable but this new one is not only that bit longer (5007mm v. 4894mm) and taller (1392mm v. 1369mm) but is also the first four-door coupe in the history of BMW’s catalogue so IS suitable for the average 2+2 family.
The Gran Coupe is also distinguished, BMW says, “by exclusive features and equipment, roominess for rear-passenger comfort and advanced functionality unusual even for an upscale, four-door coupe – including an auxiliary third rear seat”.
There are three models, each with an eight-speed manual/sequential transmission, Twin Power turbo power and a ‘Driving Experience’ button with ECO PRO Mode and auto stop/start (prices including CO2 tax) the...
Gran Coupe 640i straight-six (235kW/450Nm, 7.7 litres/100km) – R882 044
Grand Coupe 640d straight-six (230kW/630Nm, 5.5 litres/100km) - R914 623 – and both will reach 100km/h in 5.4sec.
The monster V8 Gran Coupe 650i (due in the third quarter of 2012) is capable of 330kW/650Nm and claims 8.6 litres/100km and 4.6sec to 100km/h. Its price will be available when it arrives.
About 86 000 of the earlier models have joined the world’s traffic since the 1970’s.
The 6 Series Gran Coupe will also be the first model offered with the new and more efficient V8 engine.
For a further premium, the Gran Coupe will be available with an M Sports package or Individual package designed, BMW says, specifically for the cars.
The cars were launched in the Western Cape with an extended (and enthusiastic) drive through that area’s glorious mountains. They are exhilaratingly fun to drive, executively equipped and superbly comfortable – even a 1.8m male will be comfortable behind a similarly tall driver.
There’s a wide range of equipment common to all models, among them xenon headlights, automatic dual-zone aircon, leather upholstery and power seat adjustment with memories.
Optional equipment available includes adaptive LED headlights and an audiophile’s dream of a Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system.
The long bonnet/rear-set cabin scream sports car in the classic style and the extra body length has meant a slightly longer (2968mm= +113mm) wheelbase than the standard Coupe, which equals even better handling.
THIRD BRAKE LIGHT
Chromed elements unique to the Gran Coupe separate the air intake from the fog lights and the dual round xenon headlights carry three-dimensional diode rings – instant identity. Add the optional adaptive function and the rings are slightly flattened.
A third brake-light stretches along the width of the rear window.
“The interior design,” BMW says, “is the embodiment of a perfect combination of elegance, luxury and dynamic, which lends to the harmonious configuration of the front and rear seating.”
The driver-orientated cockpit has curved surfaces; the set-back rear seats offers comfort at all driving speeds. The extra wheelbase also stretches rear
legroom and the boot volume is 460 litres, 1265 litres using the through-loading system and the folding rear seat backs.
The cars ride on a double-track control arm front axle and an integral rear axle along with electromechanical steering and Servotronic. Dynamic damper control and adaptive drive, including dynamic drive stability control, are available as options.
GLASS-FIBRE BOOT LID
Standard safety equipment includes front and side airbags in the seat backs, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point automatic seat belts for all seats, belt force limiters and belt tensioners at the front. There are IsoFix child-seat anchors in the rear seats.
The doors, bonnet and most of the chassis components, including the suspension supports, are aluminium, the front side walls are made of thermoplastic and the boot lid has a glass-fibre composite construction.
Driver assistance systems and mobile services through BMW ConnectedDrive include a head-up display with colour graphics, parking
assistance, ‘Surround View’ manoeuvring cameras, active cruise control, lane
departure warning, speed-limit information, auto high beam and pedestrian identification as part of the night-vision system.
Eight metallic finishes and two non-metallic colours are available or exclusive paintwork can be ordered in conjunction with the BMW Individual and the M Sports packages.
“For the sporty and luxurious interior, a rich choice of colours and premium materials is offered to satisfy individual customer preferences,” BMW says.
FOUR TRIM LINES
The standard Dakota leather is available in three colours; the optional Nappa leather in four and the same leather can be used on the instrument and door panels and the centre console
There is also a choice of four interior trim lines and ceramic applications for the gear selector, the iDrive Controller and other cockpit controls can be ordered as options.
The standard iDrive control system includes a monitor with an exclusive flat-screen design. In combination with the BMW Professional navigation system, the coupe has a 25cm (measured diagonally) display.