Competes with: Audi A7, Tesla Model S
Looks like: The new 5 Series or 7 Series, with a notchback tail
Drivetrain: 335-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder with eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
Hits Dealerships: Fall 2017
BMW has unveiled an all-new 6 Series in four-door Gran Turismo form. The GT will come in one variation: the 640i xDrive, with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged six-cylinder engine. It goes on sale this fall with a starting price of $70,695 including destination — considerably less than other 6 Series variants.
BMW told us it will continue to sell those variants — to wit, the 6 Series convertible and four-door Gran Coupe — for the 2018 model year, even though the Gran Turismo is based on an all-new generation of the car. (BMW dropped the traditional 6 Series coupe for the U.S. earlier this year.) A spokesman wouldn't say if the new Gran Turismo signals an imminent debut of other variants on the redesigned platform, but given BMW did that eight years ago for the 5 Series, it's a strong possibility.
With a wheelbase that's 4 inches longer than the 6 Series Gran Coupe, the new 6 Series Gran Turismo shares subtle cues with the redesigned 5 Series and 7 Series — namely, headlights that join BMW's signature double-kidney grille rather than sit out to the side as they do on the current 6 Series. The GT's roofline peaks around the B-pillar to flow all the way down to the rear of the car, with no kinks en route.
Adaptive LED headlights are standard. The trunk opens as a hatchback, with standard power actuation and hands-free foot activation. A subtle deck-lid spoiler deploys below the rear window when the car exceeds 75 mph; it retracts again when you drop below 50 mph. (Fortunately, Dennis Hopper won't force you to stay above that.) Alloy wheels range from 19 to 21 inches. Photos of the car show a tri-portal bumper design and prominent lower rear cladding, but BMW notes that the car shown has an M Sport package with hunkered-down ground effects. If you don't like them, other packages have different trim.
If you've been inside the new 5 Series or 7 Series, the 6 Series GT should look familiar. The dashboard has a tablet-like display that measures 10.25 inches, with a thin screen below for climate-control readouts. A vinyl-wrapped dashboard with stitching is standard. Stitched trim adorns many other areas, from the upper doors and steering-wheel hub to portions of the center console. The overhead reading lights have a veined finish that recalls the GT's taillights.
BMW claims there's 38.5 inches' rear headroom — 1.5 inches more than in the 6 Series Gran Coupe. Leather upholstery and a panoramic moonroof are standard. Quilted Nappa leather is optional, as are massaging front seats with ventilation. The backseat fits three, and rear passengers can have optional sunshades and recliners, both power-operated. BMW says the seats fold in a 40/20/40 split via releases in the trunk, with a rigid cargo cover that stows under the cargo floor.
Under the Hood
The turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder makes 335 horsepower and 332 pounds-feet of torque, driving all wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW says the new 640i xDrive Gran Turismo hits 60 mph in 5.1 seconds — about as quick as its Gran Coupe sibling. The suspension employs standard front coil springs, rear air springs and fixed stabilizer bars. A bevy of performance options include variable-ratio steering, rear-wheel active steering and front air springs, plus adaptive shock absorbers and active stabilizer bars all around.
Blind spot and lane departure warning systems are standard, as is a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Optional adaptive cruise control (effective up to 130 mph) can track speeds up to two cars ahead, while BMW says the car can steer itself in the right conditions for up to 50 seconds hands-free — though it's still "a hands-on system," the automaker says. A parking assist system can manage steering and gas and brakes during low-speed parking maneuvers.