|2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe review|
This is the new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, which is either a sleeker, sportier 5 Series saloon or a four-door version of the 6 Series coupe, depending on your point of view.
Either way, it shares most of its mechanicals with both, and is BMW’s first stab at competing with the Audi A7 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz CLS.
We’ve already driven the diesel-powered 640d version, but this is our first test of the petrol-powered 640i.
The petrol engine in question is a turbocharged straight-six that is good for 320bhp and 332lb ft of torque. All that grunt makes it usefully quick, but average fuel economy is way off the diesel, where 36.2mpg plays 50.4mpg.
What’s the 2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe like to drive?
The petrol Gran Coupe doesn’t feel as instantly punchy as the diesel, yet it’s hardly a slouch when the revs rise and is helped along by a super-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It also claws back lost ground by sounding more cultured than the diesel – especially when you put your foot down – and it can hang on to revs for longer. However, in reality there’s no need to work either engine hard.
Turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine develops 320bhp
In other respects, the 640i is much like the 640d, which means the car fits neatly between the 6 Series Coupe and the 5 Series saloon, feeling slightly softer and more refined than the former, but sharper than the latter.
It’s an annoyance that you have to pay extra for the Active Drive option fitted to our test car, though; in our experience this trick suspension system improves both ride comfort and handling considerably, and allows you to tailor the dampers to suit your mood and the road conditions.
With Dynamic Drive fitted, the Gran Coupe is a brilliant sports saloon
If you do have the trick Dynamic Drive dampers, the 6 Series Gran Coupe is a brilliant sports saloon that feels more agile and comfortable than an A7 or CLS.
What’s the 2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe like inside?
The Gran Coupe shares much of its interior architecture with the 5 Series and 6 Series Coupe. Their cabins are amongst the best in the business, so that’s no bad thing.
Cabin shares much with the 5 Series and 6 Series Coupe
All of the switchgear is first class, especially the latest version of iDrive, which remains one of the most intuitive infotainment control systems around.
The Gran Coupe also scores well for fit and finish; the leathers, woods and plastics are more than a match for anything the A7 and CLS have to offer.
Up front there’s a cocooned feeling, but the driving position is excellent and there's no shortage of head-, leg- or shoulder room. Things aren’t so spacious in the rear, but the sloping roofline doesn’t rob you of as much headspace as you might expect.
Unlike the CLS, the Gran Coupe gives you the option of sitting three people in the back, because there’s a seat in the middle which is adequate for short trips.
Should I buy one?
There's no doubt that the Gran Coupe is well worth considering; it's a great addition to the BMW range.
That said, the 640i has been primarily designed for markets such as America that don’t do diesels. You'd have to be a fairly committed petrol fan to choose one over the 640d given that car's much lower running costs.
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