BMW is set to replace the 5 Series Gran Turismo with this - the new 6 Series Gran Turismo - unveiled ahead of its official debut at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.
Scheduled for Australian deliveries in early 2018, the new Audi A7 rivalling five-seater has been thoroughly redesigned for 2017 with a more shapely exterior, a roomier interior featuring higher grade materials together with the latest developments in BMW's semi-autonomous driving assistants, gesture control and connectivity functions.
Not to be confused with the 6 Series Gran Coupe, the new 6 Series Gran Turismo forms part of an expanded four-strong line-up of 6 Series models.
While BMW remains tightlipped on plans, TMR can reveal the existing 6 Series Coupe, Cabriolet and Gran Coupe are set to cease production within the next two years in a move that will leave the new liftback as the sole model bridging the gap between the smaller 5 Series and larger 7 Series by the end of the decade.
The adoption of the 6 Series name for the new BMW model is in line with the German carmaker's efforts to place greater emphasis on luxury at the upper end of its line-up. Today's 6 Series Coupe and Cabriolet will be indirectly replaced by the 8 Series Coupe revealed at the recent Villa d'Este Concourse d'Elegance, and its Cabriolet sibling out in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The new 6 Series Gran Turismo draws heavily on the latest 5 and 7 Series, alongside which it will be produced at BMW's Dingolfing manufacturing plant in Germany.
Together with the new name, it adopts BMW's latest CLAR (cluster architecture platform), which helps to endow it with claimed weight savings of up 150kg compared to the 5 Series through the use of a greater degree of aluminium and hot formed high-strength steel within its body structure.
The new platform supports a more advanced 12-volt flex-ray electrical system that brings a number of chassis developments. The standard suspension features rear air springs and automatic self-levelling. But as with the 5 and 7 Series, buyers can specify a more advanced optional air suspension featuring air springs both front and rear together with variable damping control and active roll control.
The new BMW model also follows the lead of its more conventional four-door siblings in offering a combination of optional four-wheel drive and integral active rear steering on upper end models - a combination lacking on the old 5 Series Gran Turismo, which was introduced in 2009 and subsequently facelifted in 2012 with the adoption of a simpler one piece tailgate in place of the original model's complex two-piece tailgate arrangement.
Stylistically, the 6 Series Gran Turismo combines BMW's latest design lineage with the five-door liftback bodystyle of the 5 Series Gran Turismo. The new look incorporates a bolder front end and more shapely rear to achieve a drag co-efficient of 0.25 in its most basic, narrow wheeled, 630i Gran Turismo form. To increase downforce at higher speeds, it also features an automatically extending spoiler integrated into the trailing edge of the tailgate.
As with its predecessor, the new model receives frameless doors and a large liftback that automatically hinges from atop the rear window to reveal a boot featuring a 110-litre increase in luggage capacity over the 5 Series Gran Turismo at a nominal 610-litres - rising to 1800-litres when the standard 40:20:40 configured rear seat is folded down.
At a 5091mm in length, 1902mm in width and 1538mm in height, the 6 Series GT is 87mm longer, the same width and 21mm lower than the earlier 5-Series GT. It also rides on a wheelbase that is the same as its predecessor 3070mm.
For context the latest 5 Series saloon, alongside which the new BMW will be produced in Dingolfing, Germany, measures 4935mm in length, 1868mm in width and 1466mm. It also uses a wheelbase that is 95mm shorter than that of the new 6 Series GT at 2975mm.
When Australian sales get underway later this year, buyers will be able to choose between four equipment lines: standard, sport, luxury and M-sport, as well as five different wheel sizes: 17-, 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-inch.
Inside, the 6 Series Gran Turismo shares its appointments with the 5 Series, albeit with a slightly higher seating position up front and rear seats that can be ordered with optional electrical adjustment. Highlights include an optional 10.3 inch touchscreen Infotainment display, the latest generation of the BMW head-up display unit as well as conversational voice control and gesture control.
BMW has confirmed a limited line-up of petrol and diesel engines for the 6 Series Gran Turismo, which will be offered exclusively with a torque converter equipped eight-speed automatic gearbox and, in combination with its initial six-cylinder engines, the option of either standard rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive.
Among the petrol units in the initial three-model launch line-up is a base turbocharged 2.0 litre four-cylinder developing 190kW and 400Nm of torque in the rear wheel drive 630i Gran Turismo. It is claimed to hit 100km/h from standstill in 6.3 seconds and a limited 250km/h top speed in combination with combined cycle consumption of 6.2L/100km and average CO2 emissions of 142g/km.
Further up the line-up is the 640i Gran Turismo. It receives the latest evolution of BMW's turbocharged 3.0 litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine tuned to deliver 250kW and 450Nm of torque - sufficient to provide the initial range-topping four-wheel drive 6 Series xDrive GT model with an official 0-100km/h time 5.3sec, limited 250km/h top speed along with combined consumption of 7.7L/100km and CO2 emissions of 177g/km.
The sole diesel at launch will be BMW's turbocharged 3.0 litre in-line six-cylinder, which develops 195kW and stout 620Nm of torque in the 630d Gran Turismo. In standard rear-wheel drive guise, it possesses a 0-100km/h time of 6.1sec and limited 250km/h top speed together with official consumption of 4.9L/100km and CO2 emissions of 129g/km
Further models are planned to follow in 2018, including an entry level 620d Gran Turismo fitted with a turbocharged 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel engine with 142kW.
Nothing is official just yet, although BMW officials also hint at a M550i xDrive Gran Turismo running a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine with 350kW and a M550d xDrive Gran Turismo powered by BMW's newly unveiled quad-turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line-six-cylinder diesel engine delivering 300kW.
Also under the final phase of development is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid version of the new BMW that is set to take the 640e Gran Turismo name into production. It combines a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor mounted within the forward section of its gearbox to deliver a combined system output of 243kW.
Among the 6 Series Gran Turismo's technical highlights is a broad range of semi-autonomous driving functions, including BMW's latest active cruise control with automatic stop and go, steering and lane control assistant, lane departure warning with an integrated side collision warning, cross traffic warning, wrong way warning and a remote control parking assistant controlled via an optional display key.
As part of an updated suite of connectivity options, the new BMW is also claimed to offer improved smartphone integration with optional inductive charging and a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices.
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