Strengths and weaknesses:
- powerful and refined engine
- improved passenger space over coupe
- no manual transmission option
- only one trim available in Canada
BMW makes 6 Series coupe grand
"The newest 6 retains everything that makes the original, two-door model so desirable: beauty, power and intelligence."
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - If I had any regrets in life (and I’m just saying ‘if’), it would be that that I didn’t get the chance to entertain my driving partners with my good taste in tuneage, via the Bang & Olufsen stereo system that can be had with the 2013 6 Series Gran Coupe.
A lot of automobile geeks have sort of ‘benchmark’ tracks that they use to assess the quality of stereo systems. Some use pieces like a remastered five-point-one channel recording of Dark Side of the Moon, or Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’. I know one guy who has the entire recording of Beethoven’s Ninth, from start to finish, to judge sound reproduction.
I, however, employ “You Want the Candy”, by the Raveonettes as my audiophile tool; which I keep on my fruit-pod for situations just like this, and my cabin mates are all the poorer for not having experienced the wonders of Danish surf-punk through one of the finest sound systems you can find on any automobile.
There just wasn’t time, unfortunately - too many other things to look at in BMW’s newest, four-door iteration of the 6 Series.
Yes, the Gran Coupe is a four-door, but they’re calling it a ‘coupe’ (a la Volkswagen, who pulled this trick with its Passat CC a few years back), though in my mind, once you add the extra entrances, a car is now a ‘sedan’.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter what I think, apparently. Product Planners never consult me before they do anything – if they did, there would be a manual transmission available for the car when it goes on sale in Canada later this summer (it’s eight-speed automatic only on this side of the border).
That aside, the newest 6 retains everything that makes the original, two-door model so desirable: beauty, power and intelligence.
Using the same displacement as the new, improved M6 monster, the Gran Coupe runs a 4.4 litre eight-cylinder powerplant that, while shy of the output of the M, still produces 445 horsepower and peak torque of 480 lb.-ft.
More than adequate for just about any situation, you have to admit, and the Gran brings it on so effortlessly, so quiet and smooth throughout its range, that it easily climbs into speeding ticketville on the roads surrounding Santa Barbara.
The car also sports regenerative braking, and one of my favourite features (and one I have only experienced on Porsche’s Panamera) an engine-stop system that shuts off the engine when the car is idling.
The only trim level coming to Canada will be the 650i, with xDrive AWD, which combines with the stiff chassis of the 6 for extremely good, sharp-cornering road holding ability. The suspension (front double wishbone, multi-link rear) can be further enhanced with an active roll stabilization option, to keep the body even flatter in the turns.
Everything that can be said of the standard 6 series is true of the Gran Coupe, though I bet owners of the former will notice some handling differences, owing to the larger frame (the GC is 10 cm longer than the two-door model, with a wheelbase of 2,968 mm).
Where the Gran scores the extra points, of course, is with its greater passenger-friendliness. With very good knee and elbow room throughout the opulent cabin, the bigger 6 is comparable to Porsche’s Panamera or Audi’s A7, but arguably better looking.
There’s a suite of available options, of course: a heads-up display to keep driver’s eyes on the road, and lane-departure and blind-spot monitors helping to keep things safe if your mind wanders while staring at how gorgeous the interior is (especially the two-tone, white-and-tan treatment). What is not optional, though, is that the primary user interface iDrive; and there’s nothing anybody can do about that.
Pricing is as yet unannounced for the Canadian market, but you can imagine that it will carry a premium-calibre sticker when it hits the lots.