BMW 640i GRAN COUPE AUSTRALIA
The latest competitor in the growing four-door coupe market is BMW's new 6 Series Gran Coupe, and it's now on sale in Australia.
Taking the name of the concept, the Gran Coupe enters as the third bodystyle in the new 6 Series range, coming after the recent debut of the Coupe and Convertible models.
On the styling front, the addition of two extra doors has done little to spoil the lines of the 'regular' Coupe, while the front and rear is unchanged from the lines of its siblings.
For now, engine options in the Australian Gran Coupe range are limited to one powerful package: the 640i and its heroic twin-turbo 3.0 litre six-cylinder petrol mill producing 235kW and 450Nm of torque.
BMW promises a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 seconds for the big six, with a top-speed electronically limited to 250km/h.
Matched with an eight-speed automatic Steptronic transmission, the 640i lists fuel consumption at 7.8 l/100km.
Later this year, the local Gran Coupe range will be filled out by the 330kW/650Nm 4.4 litre V8-driven 650i, which pulls the 0-100km/h time down to 4.6 seconds.
A diesel option is available in Europe, but this model has not yet been confirmed for Australia.
Whether other drivetrains will join the 6 Series Gran Coupe range is unclear, but - as with the new M6 Coupe and Cabriolet models - we can likely expect an M6 Gran Coupe (or the "Gran Coupe M," perhaps).
Braking at both ends is managed by ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers.
The Gran Coupe is longer than the Coupe by 113mm, allowing for greater legroom in the rear row, which is also positioned higher for better visibility.
Seating in the four-door 6 Series is described as a "4+1" arrangement, meaning that while you'll get a third person in the rear, you shouldn't expect comfort to go with it.
Features include a full-colour head-up display, radar-assisted active cruise control, Internet connectivity and all-LED headlamps and foglamps.
Also standard are heated seats, quad-zone climate control, glass sunroof, satellite navigation, parking sensors, reversing camera, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity.
The Gran Coupe's driving aids include Integral Active Steering, Dynamic Damper Control and Active Roll Stabilisation, along with four driving modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+.
Depending on the selection, these modes adjust throttle response, gear shifts, shock absorber behaviour and active roll stabilisation levels.
The 640i sits on 19x8.5-inch V-spoke wheels as standard, and 20-inch wheels are available with the optional M Sport package.
Standard safety features include front airbags, side airbags, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point automatic seatbelts at all points, belt force limiters and seatbelt tensioners at the front, crash-activated head restraints up front, tyre defect indicator.
There is also DSC with ABS, ASC and Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Dry Braking function, and brake Fading Compensation.
Rear storage is listed at 460 litres, expandable to 1265 litres with the through-loading space utilised and the rear seats laid flat.
The 2012 640i Gran Coupe is priced at $184,800 before on-roads.
By comparison, the 640i Coupe is priced at $178,300, and the Convertible at $194,300. The 535i starts at $115,600, and the V8 550i at $179,900.
The Gran Coupe's rival in the Mercedes line-up, the CLS 350, is priced at $159,200, and Audi's A7 Sportback 3.0 TFSI sits at $147,800.
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