Car manufacturers have access to an incredible pool of talent. The bigger they are, the more of it they have. Even with the brightest minds and seemingly bottomless resources, they can and do make mistakes. Generally speaking, they are very, very costly ones. Without diving into the lengthy list of potential consequences, some mistakes are not as bad as others.
In the BMW 6 Series GT’s case, the word mistake is too strong. The Bangle-era 6 and 7 Series were graver errors (when was the last time you spotted one on the road?) but will certainly make for some interesting classic cars. What’s different with the GT, and the 3 Series Gran Turismo, is that they are exceedingly good at doing their tasks. The reality is that everyone wants their capabilities but not in a body-style that was doomed from the very start.
A little history for those that need it. The 5 Serie GT was introduced in 2011 to replace the gorgeous 5 Series wagon. It failed. In order to switch things up a bit, BMW’s moved the larger GT to the 6 Series family and tweaked it in the process.
This is where the hurt, the sole hurt, lies with the BMW 640i GT. It gets no love. None. And consumers cannot be blamed for that when it is available alongside the hyper-popular X5 (brand new one coming for 2019) and the soon to arrive equally all-new X7. These Sport Activity Vehicles provide immense levels of luxury and comfort without the awkward extended slightly slopping roofline.
Its unusual shape and proportions have actually grown on me. I’ll not go so far as to say it’s attractive, but it will receive a handful of points for being completely original. What surprised me is the number of looks the car garnered as I drove around in my hood. From the front, it’s nearly indistinguishable from a 5 or 7 Series. It’s only when the car’s profile comes into view that one might wonder if this is not some coach-built one-off hearse-type vehicle. You’ll get far more stares in this over any X5, this is I promise.
The cabin too is lifted from a 7 Series, and is bursting at the seams with design, gorgeous materials and luxury. The driver-oriented dashboard mimics other BMW units however the combination of materials and digital HVAC controls take the presentation to another level. Ergonomics can be challenging at time, but the cabin is a very luxurious place. BMW’s not cut any corners here.
There are but two reasons in my mind why someone would opt for a 6 GT over an X5 or a 7 Series. Pricing compared to a 7 is one and the other, the main reason, is trunk space. At just about 880 litres with the second row in place, the boot is positively enormous. It is so deep in fact that golf bags, four perhaps five of them, can fit depth-wise. That’s huge.
The second row is equally massive. Three adults can fit width-wise for the two-hour trip to the exclusive golf course. Legroom is unbelievable. Head and shoulder room too – this is nearly limo-like volumes. The seatback is power-operated, and the outboard positions are heated.
My tester was loaded and included the Premium package. As the name implies, it includes all the good stuff. The front ventilated and heated comfort seats also featured a massaging function. This alone makes this car the perfect extra-long-haul partner. The amount of space up front is huge and let’s not forget how quiet it always is on board this automobile.
Pricing for the 2019 BMW X5 is not available at the moment but even so, there is no cheaper way to get into such a long wheelbase BMW than the base $76,700 640i xDrive GT. Thing is though that the moment you select an option, all the others seem to snowball into the build.
With the aforementioned Premium package, the Dynamic Handling, Advanced Driver Assistance, Remote Parking, Ambient Air and Smartphone Connectivity packages as well as the Bowers and Wilkins audio, the total jumps up to $97,150 for my tester. This is still $20,000 less expensive than a base 750i xDrive. The question is: Are you willing to spend $20k for a V8?
The list of standard features is scary. Some of the items are a heated steering wheel, head’s up display, active LED headlights, navigation, 4-zone climate control and, I’ll stop here.
Integral Active steering, or 4-wheel steering, and adaptive four-corner air suspension are not only standard but are fundamental elements that make this car as good to drive as it is. The suspension is as supple or sporty as one could hope, capable of both soaking road-surface nastiness and keeping the massively heavy (2,000 kg) car’s weight transfers in check. Four-wheel steering heightens responsiveness and make the 640i GT drive much smaller than it actually is.
What surprises the most is the twin-power single turbo straight-6 3.0-litre engine’s ability to get things going. With 335 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque (1,380-5,200 rpm) on tap, it can, according to BMW, launch the 5-door limo to 100 km/h in only 5.3 seconds! In the process, the 8-speed automatic transmission imperceivably shifts from one gear to another.
The only sporty aspect of the 640i GT is its exterior M Aerodynamics package. The ride quality is incredibly cosseting for all passengers. This is an exceptionally functional and comfortable large luxury car. Its only physical competition comes from the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, but let’s be clear about one thing: The Porsche is jaw-droppingly sexy. The BMW is not.