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2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe First Drive Review by Henny Hemmes +VIDEO

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe - 640 diesel

6 Series Gran Coupe: BMW’s answer to the Mercedes CLS

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor

SEE ALSO: BMW Buyers Guide

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe -640i

PALERMO, Italy, - May 5, 2012: The presentation of the Concept CS, a study of a four-door Gran Turismo, at the 2007 Shanghai Auto Show indicated that BMW was considering such a model that far back. It also resulted in surging rumors about a possible return of the 8 Series. But in 2009, in the heart of the financial crisis, the project was cancelled.

In the meantime the development of the new 6 Series was well on its way and BMW decided to develop a downsized Gran Turismo 6 Series. This new model, the 6 Series Gran Coupe, is explicitly positioned between the 6 and the 7 Series. In March, the Gran Coupe celebrated its world premier in Geneva and during the past days, pre-production models were available for the first test drives.

Responding to a question, Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s vice president of design, said during the event that took place on Sicily, Italy, that the design for the GC had not been a difficult exercise. “We were able to take it from the design of the new 6 Series from the front up to B-pillar.”

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe - 6401

The doors of the Gran Coupe are obviously somewhat longer than those of the coupe, while the rear end is different as well. “But the bumper fascia is the same,” said Van Hooydonk, while also showing me some new design details such as the third brake light that is placed above, and stretching all along the width of the rear window. As well as the nicely executed turn signals in the front fenders and the embossed Gran Coupe lettering behind the glass of the rear windows, just before the C-pillar that has the BMW characteristic Hofmeister kink. The shape of the long roof provides an absolutely elegant line. Even if you are being told, you’ll have to look hard to see a slight hint of a crease that runs on each side of the roof from up front to the rear.

Like the 6 Series Coupe, the Gran Coupe shares the architecture of the 5 Series sedan. The GC has the same wheel base (116.85 inches) as the 5 Series, but it is 4.5 inches longer than of the 6 Coupe. The extra length of the Gran Coupe adds some 200 pound of weight compared to the Coupe, resulting in nearly 4,023 pounds for the 640i and 4,277 lbs and 4,442 lbs for the 650i and 650i xDrive respectively.

Watch TACH's exclusive Gran Coupe promo video

The 6 Gran Coupe will be offered with two gasoline inline-six engines options, as the 640i and 650i. The 640i has the 315 hp, 332 pound-feet of torque 3.0-liter engine with single turbo, while the 650i uses the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 445 hp and 479 pound feet of torque. Both engines are teamed with the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts quickly and unnoticeably. BMW said that a manual transmission will be available later this year. The 640i should be able to hit 62 mph in 5.4 seconds, while the 650i should do it in 4.6 seconds. Both models will reach a (limited) top speed of 155 mph.

Europe and several other markets, excluding the US, will also get the 640d that is equipped with the 3,0-liter 6-cylinder twin- turbo diesel with 313 hp and a torque of 465 lb-ft.

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

Getting behind the wheel of the Gran Coupe could be somewhat clumsy, as the seat is nearly 2 inches deeper than in the 5 Series. Finding the ideal seating position though is easy. In the rear, in-and-out egress is easy with the large doors and the roomy space for the legs. But if the driver and/or the front passenger are tall, it is only “okay.” The Gran Coupe is a true four-seater, although a very skinny fifth person could be taken for a short drive when you move the wide armrest upwards. The seats and the back rests are adjustable, while the seatbacks can be completely folded expanding the volume of the boot from 16.24 to 44.67 cu.ft

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

The test cars all had a beautiful executed interior with white individual leather with tan stitching, tan carpets and roof lining. The glossy white lacquer of the wooden trim added to the exclusive look that is attractive for show cars, for publication in design magazines, or for customers in the middle east. For me, such a white cockpit would be highly unpractical and I had to be really careful getting my feet onboard in order not to leave any dirty marks.

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Two views of the driving mode panel displays

The optional Adaptive Drive offers 6 modes: Eco Pro, Comfort+, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and DSC off. As both my co-driver and I like it sporty, we felt happiest in the Sport+ mode, as in this setting the stability control does not interfere as quickly as in the other modes and leaves some room for the tail to be swung out a bit. With DSC disengaged you can go into lovely drifts without the car getting really nasty. In Comfort mode the ride is pleasant, but agility is less, while Comfort+ would only be acceptable on long hauls on the freeway, as it is really soft and changes the steering input into a somewhat ‘sticky’ feel.

In the Sport and Sport+ modes, the Gran Coupe obeys the commands of the driver quickly and precisely and you can travel at a really good pace. We found the sound of the 3.0-liter gasoline engine too isolated. But okay, this is a Gran Turismo and even sporty traveling is comfortable. In the 640d the sound of the diesel engine was really inspiring and in combination with pushing the throttle to make use of its higher torque provides it offers a real sporty feel.

Watch the introduction of the Gran Coupe at 2012 Geneva Motor Show

As to fuel consumption, BMW says that the 640i should be able to do 29.7 miles to the gallon, while the 650i would be good for 26.4 mpg (both EU cycle). In daily life it is always hard to meet those numbers, especially with gasoline engines. We have the experience that the true mileage of diesel engines comes much closer to the average suggested by the manufacturer. The 640d average according the EU cycle is 42.6 mpg

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2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

We really loved the looks of the 6 Gran Coupe: it is beautiful inside and out. BMW’s answer to the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Porsche Panamera, and the Aston Martin Rapide. The latter raised some questions, but taken the fact that there will be customers who opt for a fully loaded 6 Gran Coupe model, moneywise it is a match. The prices of the other competitors, however, starts at around 10,000 dollars less. The 6er Gran Coupe 640i starts at $ 76,895 including destination charge. The price of the 650i is set at $ 87,395 and of the 650i xDrive at $ 90,395.

The 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe 640i and 640d will go on sale in Europe on June 2. The 640i hits the US market on the 23rd and in Asia on June 30. The 650i and 650i xDrive models will arrive in the fall.