The BMW Gran Coupe.
The BMW Gran Coupe.

Beeming tourer with attitude

HAVING a car wearing the propeller badge sitting permanently in the driveway is an aspiration for many.
Yet it seems BMW has lofty desires of its own.

This recent addition to the line-up is the hallowed Bavarian brand's first four-door coupe, which takes aim at some prestigious company.

With a retail price-tag north of $180,000, this alluring Beemer has intentions of luring buyers away from some esteemed competition.

It's called the Gran Coupe and has the attributes of a classic plush tourer that is likely to garner the attention of those with deep pockets who are considering a Maserati, Porsche, or even an Aston Martin.

Comfort

Beauty is more than skin deep. First-class finishes and interesting lines capture your attention.

The centre console boasts some lovely curves, with the centre stack slightly skewed toward the driver.

Taking pride of place is 26cm colour screen surrounded by soft stitched leather trim, along with buttons and dials which are well labelled and simple to use. Even the BMW iDrive system is straight-forward once you get the hang of the dial operation.

Our test car featured the optional M Sport Package which features wonderfully supportive seats which have and array of electrical adjustments.

Head and leg room is good front and back, although tall rear passengers may find the roof too close for comfort.
BMW calls its seating configuration four plus one, and the centre pew in the back is essentially for emergencies only. The large centre console, housing the air-conditioning vents/controls, extends from the front and meets the rear seat which forces the middle passenger to straddle.

One feature worth adding is the soft close function ($900) as we found the doors needed some muscle to close properly - perhaps we were just being too gentle on the luxury tourer.

On the road

TwinPower turbocharging comes to the fore from the moment you flex your right ankle.

In partnership with the eight-speed automatic you hammer toward the speed limit with consummate ease, accompanied by a sporting exhaust note. Ripping to 100kmh from standstill within six seconds is testament to its abilities.

Given it's more than five metres long, the Gran Coupe is surprisingly willing to tackle the bends.
The hunkered stance helps hug the road and when in Sport mode things stiffen to limit body roll to withhold the punches being thrown by the turbocharged six.

Adaptive drive settings also features an Eco Pro mode, which even counts the kilometres you have saved by choosing the mode that uses the car's various efficient technologies.

The tradeoff for its surefooted ability is the firm ride, and we felt ample thuds and crashes on poor road surfaces. Buyers can opt for 18-inch wheels (19s are standard, our test car had 20s) which should numb the bumps for those who don't want the extra performance in the twisties.

What do you get?

As expected, the kit is impressive. The highlights include four-zone climate control air con, power heated front seats, satellite navigation, sunroof, head-up display that projects your speed just below the driver's eyeline, cruise control, CD/DVD/MP3 stereo with hard-drive storage and a Bluetooth system that can stream the internet from your phone.

There's an array of options available, including a swag of internal and external colour combinations, which can easily add a five-figure sum to the bottom line.

You only get six airbags, but the safety gear includes stability control, parking sensors, reversing camera and high-beam assist.

Other options

Aiming at prestigious company, the Beemer is aimed at the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS350 $164,070, Audi A7 TFSI Sportback $147,300 as well as the Porsche Panamera GranTurismo $201,400 and Maserati Quattroporte $250,000. If all that's too much, try the Volkswagen CC V6 $64,990.

Running costs

The auto stop-start function, which cuts the engine when stationary and restarts when you lift your foot off the brake, helps drop the fuel consumption to less than eight litres for every 100km. Although our test proved much thirstier, averaging about 10 litres per 100km.

Servicing and insurance can be expensive, not that it could concern many buyers parting with in excess of $180K.

Practicality

Four adults would enjoy the salubrious surrounds, and it is even simple to fit kids' sits into the back. The boot is reasonable, while the back seats also fold in a 60/40 configuration.

Funky factor

This is a Beemer, which stands out in a crowd. Its elongated bonnet and long wheelbase make it an imposing figure.

Unique touches like the brake light across the entire width of the back window and the Gran Coupe badging next to the "Hofmeister kink" (bend in the C-pillar) add extra flare.

The lowdown

BMW is hunting the bookends of buyers. You can get into a 1 Series for under $40 grand, which incidentally is less than what a buyers pays in GST and luxury car tax on the Gran Coupe.

The performance is undeniable, as is the quality of craftsmanship. But the question remains whether that is enough to lure buyers from the big end of town when there are similar offerings from Audi and Mercedes-Benz for less - albeit with less features - as well as the brand battle with the likes of Porsche and Maserati.

VITAL STATISTICS
Model:
BMW 640i Gran Coupe.
Details: Four-door five-seat rear-wheel drive luxury coupe.
Engine: 3.0-litre twin turbocharged six-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 235kW @ 5800-6000rpm and peak torque of 450Nm @ 1300-4500rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 7.9 litres/100km.
CO2: 183g/km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 5.4 seconds; top speed 250kmh.
Bottom line: $184,800; tested with M Sport Package ($8700).


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