BMW unveils 6-Series Gran Coupe

  • BMW fills another niche with new coupe-styled saloon
  • Available with 450bhp twin-turbo V8 capable of 32mpg
  • On sale on June 2, 2012, prices starting from £61,380

BMW, intent on filling every possible niche in its line-up, has released details of the new 6-Series Gran Coupe.

It's the third model in the 6-Series line-up, following the coupe and convertible. The main difference? Well, if you've glanced at the pictures then you've probably already clocked it. It's got four doors.

Aimed at taking on cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7, the new Gran Coupe is claimed to be the most practical and spacious 6-Series. It's around 11cm longer than the existing coupe, helping to increase that all-important room in the cabin.

Externally, the styling's much the same as the other 6-Series. At the front there's the familiar BMW shark nose and double-kidney grille, while at the back there are bulging arches and styling tweaks that "serve as pointers to the Gran Coupe's dynamic driving style", apparently.

Inside, things are much as you'd expect. There is, however, seating for five instead of four - just. The centre rear passenger gets jammed between the two 'sports' seats and has to straddle the transmission tunnel and centre console.

So, if you've previously wanted a 6-Series but have been put off by the lack of five seats, well, here's your slightly uncomfortable answer. The rear seats can also be folded down, expanding the boot from 460 litres to 1,265 litres. There's a through-loading hatch as well, for the odd occasions that you might need to carry skis. Or fence posts.

Three engines are on offer, including a new 4.4-litre V8, and all come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Compared to the existing V8 in the coupe and convertible, the Gran Coupe's V8 gets variable valve timing. This helps generate a subsequent hike in output, from 401bhp and 600Nm of pulling power, to 450bhp and 650Nm.

This means that, despite the extra weight of the Gran Coupe, it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. That's 0.1 seconds faster than the equivalent coupe. It's also capable of a rather impressive claimed average of 32mpg, while CO2 emissions are rated at 206g/km.

Buyers can also pick from a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine, which packs 320bhp and 450Nm, or a 3.0-litre diesel with 313bhp and 630Nm. The 3.0-litre petrol sprints from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds, while average economy of 36.2mpg and emissions of 181g/km of CO2 mean it's not too bad for the planet.

The diesel, however, does 0-62mph in the same 5.4 seconds - yet BMW claims it's capable of averaging 50mpg. Company car drivers may also find it appealing, as low emissions - for the performance - of 148g/km of CO2 mean relatively inexpensive company car tax. All models are electronically limited to 155mph.

Two specifications are available - SE and M Sport. SE models get alloy wheels, leather upholstery, sat-nav with a large display, front and rear parking sensors, climate control and electric heated front seats. M Sport versions get minor cosmetic and trim tweaks, different alloys, black brake calipers and sports seats. 

All versions come with BMW's EfficientDynamics technologies, including stop/start, and a 'Drive Performance Control' system that allows you to pick from a variety of modes to tune the vehicle to your needs.

Options include variable damper control, to improve the ride and precision of the Gran Coupe, and an active steering system. This allows the rear wheels to steer as well, to a limited degree, improving manoeuvrability and handling.

Buyers can also add night vision, a surround-view parking system, park assistance, lane change warning, lane departure warning, a speed limit display and a full colour heads-up display.

BMW claims that the Gran Coupe "combines the elegant and sporty appearance of a classic grand tourer with the space and ease of access of an executive saloon". The reality is, however, that the Gran Coupe is bigger and less practical than the similarly capable 5-Series, yet costs at least £10,000 more. That's a lot of money for coupe looks.

The BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe 640i and 640d go on sale in the UK on 2 June 2012, with the 650i following around a month later. Prices start from £61,380 for the 640i SE, rising to £75,130 for the 650i M Sport.