Four-door coupes are almost old-hat in the world of unusual niche vehicles. BMW has four-door Gran Coupe in its 6 Series range, of course - but for those with a more practical side who want something more svelte than an SUV there’s the 6 Series GT.
This long and large hatchback succeeds the previous 5 Series Gran Turismo, with the change in name designed to evoke the more sporty and sexy lines of the new model compared to its somewhat bobble-headed looking forebear.
Interior space is the key, with an extensive wheelbase and room for four sets of golf clubs in the boot the 6 Series GT is designed for all passengers to enjoy.
Vehicle Style: Prestige large hatch
Price: $148,900 plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol | 8sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 8.2 l/100km
The new 6 Series GT is set to arrive in Australian showrooms from November this year, with a range that starts at $123,500 before on-road costs. That’s a big pricetag, but the 6 Series GT is a big car, at almost 5.1 metres long.
To ensure maximum space the 6 Series GT shares its 3070mm wheelbase with the regular wheelbase 7 Series. In fact the entire platform of the new car is a member of the CLAR chassis set that’s used between cars like the 7 and the new 5 Series.
Initially local buyers will be able to pick from four-cylinder petrol 630i, or six-cylinder petrol 640i, with more variants expected to join the range during 2018.
Interior space was of the utmost importance during the development of the 6 Series GT, and project leader of the new car’s development, Claus-Otto Griebel, is proud to show of the results of that work, settling his 196cm frame into the rear seat with ease.
“My boss is even taller,” he mentions, “and one of the goals with the 6 Series was that guys like us can adjust the front seat to be comfortable, then sit in the rear without our knees touching the back of the seat. I think we’ve achieved that.”
As a kind of crossover vehicle the 6 Series GT also features a higher than usual seating position to try to tempt SUV buyers that may not need all-road ability but don’t want to go without a commanding view.
The boot was also another priority area. The long liftback gives way to 610 litres of luggage space a step-up of 110 litres compares to the previous 5 Series GT, with the rear seats able to be folded away to free up 1800 litres of space.
ON THE ROAD
Of the available engine range, only the larger 640i inline six-cylinder petrol engine was on hand to drive at the international launch, and while it might seem like it has its work cut out for it against the 1910kg GT, the outputs suggest otherwise.
At 3.0-litres in size, with a turbo-boosted 250kW and 450Nm available, the 640i GT is set up to deliver ease of driving rather than outright thrills. However, should you need it, the 0-100 km/h dash takes just 5.3 seconds.
Another feature of the versions TMR had access to was BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, making it swifter than the regular rear wheel drive models thanks to the extra mechanical grip.
The system also adds about 65kg of weight, and has an impact on fuel consumption, rated at an official 8.2 l/100km or around 0.8 l/100km more than a rear-wheel drive equivalent.
Rushing along in near silence thanks to excellent sound absorption that keeps road and wind noise to an absolute minimum proves that BMW has certainly got the refinement characteristics spot on.
Australian versions will arrive equipped with adaptive air suspension as standard, with the resulting plush ride fitting the at-ease profile perfectly. Comfort mode does exactly as it suggests and delivers excellent ride comfort, while a Comfort Plus setting cushes things up even further, albeit at the expense of ride control.
At the other end of the spectrum the Sport setting tightens up the ride and steering, along with changing the behaviour of throttle and transmission maps to deliver a more engaging experience.
Sheer size prevents the 6 Series GT from being a true dynamic star, but with all-wheel drive and big 20-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tyres most drivers should find the big crossover competent enough to suit their needs.
Like the 5 Series, the 6 Series GT also features limited semi-autonomous driving capabilities. Essentially allowing the driver to take their hands off the wheel for a few seconds at at a time while lane position is maintained even through bends.
One word can be used to sum up the 6 Series GT: Enormous.
That’s not just a reference to its physical presence though. There’s an enormous amount of built-in comfort, enormous levels of refinement, and as expected from modern prestige car brands, there’s an enormous amount of available technology.
While it may not be a conventional vehicle, falling outside of the traditional hatchback passenger car and large SUV descriptions, it is a cleverly devised one. And while the niche it fits into may only be small, there's certain to be an audience for whom the 6 Series GT is the perfect fit.
MORE: BMW News and Reviews