2012 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe review

  • New BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe driven
  • Rival for the Audi A7 Sportback and Mercedes CLS
  • On sale in June, priced from 61,930
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The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is BMWs first ever four-door coupe a sleek saloon that will compete with the Audi A7 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz CLS.

We wouldnt be at all surprised if the Gran Coupe also appeals to those in the market for a Porsche Panamera, because its hard not to be bowled over by the sheer quality of the Gran Coupes stylish, sophisticated cabin, and the elegance of its sleek, flowing lines.

Its easy to ignore the fact that the Gran Coupe doesnt have a Porsche badge on its nose, and that it isnt such a bespoke vehicle its actually based on the same platform as the 5, 6 and 7 Series models, and shares much with the 6 Series coupe.

Whats the 2012 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe like to drive?
The 6 Series Gran Coupes twin-turbocharged in-line six-cylinder diesel engine is as worthy of attention as its sleek looks.

Once youve experienced the engines instant responses, been blown away by its creamy smooth power delivery and revelled in its deep baritone exhaust burble, youll very quickly realise theres only one real-world choice. The 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (and later the 4.4-litre V8) will be bit-part players only.

Twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel engine is the one to go for

The diesel Gran Coupe is fast, too. The engine develops a mammoth 465lb ft of torque and generates a heady 308bhp. The power delivery is incredibly linear, with no peaks and troughs, thanks to the latest high-pressure fuel injection and advances in turbocharging technology. The smaller of the two turbos is water-cooled, while the bigger unit features variable vanes for increased efficiency.

Plant your foot and the Gran Coupe will hit 62mph in just 5.4 seconds. The flood of power just keeps on coming as you shift through the silky smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox until the electronic limiter stops play at 155mph.

Drive more considerately and you might get close to the 40ds 49.6mpg official average (the 3.0-litre petrol car can manage only a comparatively wasteful 35.8mpg). CO2 emissions are 148g/km, which put it in the 22% tax band for company car drivers.

Excellent refinement; just a hint of wind noise

Regardless of engine choice, wind and road noise are wonderfully suppressed, with just a hint of breeze around the door mirrors for company at motorway speeds.

BMW chose to showcase the Gran Coupe with all its latest chassis hardware, including rear-wheel steering and Dynamic Drive, which uses electronically controlled anti-roll bars to limit body lean in corners. Its an effective combination; while the adjustable dampers allow you to tailor the comfort of the ride, the anti-roll bars help the car to belie its five-metre length and substantial girth in corners, as well as providing rock-steady high-speed stability.

2012 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

Our experience with the 5 Series saloon has shown us that Dynamic Drive is essential to get the best from the car, so its all the more galling that BMW charges 3400 for it on a model with a starting price well in excess of 60k.

Whats the 2012 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe like inside?
Simply stunning. Theres no denying that some of the dashboard layout and switchgear will be familiar to drivers of lesser BMWs, but the Gran Coupe still manages to feel very special indeed, thanks to the high quality of its fixtures and fittings, luxurious seats and the bespoke nature of its leather trim. The cabin includes the iDrive system, which allows drivers to scroll effortlessly through the myriad infotainment systems.

Cabin feels special; luxurious materials throughout

From a purely practical point of view, the Gran Coupe gives those in the front plenty of space, but anyone approaching six-feet tall will find their head is very close to the roof lining in the rear.

There is a centrally mounted seatbelt to allow five people to travel. However, because the central transmission tunnel is so huge, the middle seat is suitable for only very short journeys.

Greater nods to practicality are the folding rear seatbacks, which are released by levers located on the sides of the boot. When folded, they boost luggage capacity and allow a couple of sets of golf clubs to be loaded lengthways.

Tight rear headroom, central seat suitable for short journeys only

Should I buy one?
In the cold light of day, a similarly specified 5 Series saloon will be cheaper, almost as good to drive, and have even more space and practicality.

Effectively then, it comes down to what price youd place on making a statement with those sharper looks and that luscious interior. If it were our decision, wed consider it a statement well worth making.

Audi A7 Sportback
Mercedes-Benz CLS

What Car? says

Pete Tullin