BMW offers a myriad of unusual products that have carved out niches of their own. One of them is the 6 Gran Turismo – a spacious, comfortable sedan designed to deliver utmost comfort over long distances. But should you choose one over an E-Class?
In the ever-competitive world of luxury automobiles, creating sub-segments in already established genres has become a kind of a norm. In fact, if you compare the product line-ups of luxury brands that they offered in the year 2000 and to what they offer now, you’ll be left scratching your head and wondering how so many segments and subsegments have cropped up over the years, and how is it possible that so many products are based on the same platform and still look nothing alike. For example, let’s look at BMW’s SUV lineup. When SUVs became the rage, you could choose between three options – the X1, X3, and X5. But, today, BMW offers so many more to choose from – X2, X4, X6, and X7 – that the customer is truly spoilt for choice.
Positioning it right
Of course, such a diversified product range also means a lot of hard work for the company and its boffins. But the biggest challenge is to ensure that the new sub-segment products have a unique identity and doesn’t cannibalise sales of existing products. And it’s here that the 6 GT succeeds admirably but not without a few shortcomings.
One of its biggest highlights is its design, which gives the 6 GT a completely unique identity, without hinting at its relationship with the 5 Series. In fact, with its higher roofline, longer length, and sharply cut-off rear end, the 6 GT has a style signature that is its own. And thankfully, BMW’s new trend of oversized nostrils has spared the 6 GT.
The grille of the 6, while large, looks minuscule in comparison to that of the new 7 or X7. In the facelifted version of the 6 GT, BMW has also cleaned up the design significantly – the car now looks quite sleek from most angles. For example, the Piedmont Red metallic paint shade of our test car looked fantastic, especially with the 19-inch wheels filling up the wheel arches.
Our test car also featured the M-Sport kit, which meant the aggressive front and rear air dams, 19-inch wheels, and M-badging splashed both on the exterior and interior of the car. An interesting detail on the 6 GT is the Laser headlights, which you can easily spot because of the blue trim on the headlights, and they work phenomenally well. Driving at night with laser lights is a revelation and a testament to the progress of lighting technology in the past three decades. And BMW claims that at high speeds, the adaptive laser lights can illuminate the road up to 650 metres, which is simply staggering.
But the 6 GT’s design is not traditionally beautiful, given the styling of the car’s rear end. With a high boot line, as well as a sharply cut-off rear end, the 6 GT, when viewed in profile or from the rear, almost looks as if it has an incomplete rear-end design, which remains a sore point.
Lap of luxury
The interior of the 6 GT turns things up a notch compared not just to its sibling – the 5 Series – but also to the competition. The front seats of the GT are large and extremely comfortable and there are enough digital displays to satisfy the inner gamer boy inside you – 12.3-inch dual-screens in the dash, one in the instrument console, and a multimedia touchscreen. In terms of controlling multimedia systems, the BMW iDrive still remains the gold standard for its intuitiveness and ease of use, allowing you to perform every function without taking your eyes off the road. Other small touches, such as the physical controls for the air-conditioning system, also help make the interior a place that you can really enjoy spending time in.
The screens have fantastic resolution and look terrific. And with wireless Apple CarPlay, you can sync your phone with the system to play music or access maps seamlessly. But the design of the gauges and information display of the digital instrument cluster remains a disappointment, not just in the 6, but also in all BMWs. The gauge design is unnecessarily complicated and is hard to read, and honestly, I don’t see what’s wrong with replicating old analogue dials in digital form. They are easy to read and everyone knows how they work. Also, I think that sometimes there is just no need to try and reinvent the wheel – something that BMW has tried to do with its digital gauges.
One of the best features of the 6 GT’s interior is the rear seat. With its extended wheelbase – over three metres long – the rear seat has acres of legroom and headroom and is a great place to be in. Adding to this feeling of luxury and comfort are the large rear windows and C-pillar glass, along with the humongous panoramic sunroof. And if you’re worried about the sunlight coming through the large windows, don’t fret, as the 6 GT comes with window blinds in both rear doors. All in all, the rear seat of the 6 GT is a fantastic place to spend time in, whether it’s your office commute or a long drive to the Himalayas.
Now, another feature of the 6 GT that makes spending time in the rear seat such a pleasurable experience is the adaptive air suspension. Fitted across the 6 Series range, the adaptive suspension offers four driving modes – Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Adaptive – the most impressive of which are Comfort and Sport. They exhibit a Janus-like quality of the 6 GT. In Sport mode, the 6 GT becomes a car that most keen drives will enjoy – rapid throttle response, quicker gearshifts, and a more tied down ride, which makes high-speed cruising a breeze and the driver enjoys the hustle of pushing the car. Sure, with its increased length, weight, height, and centre of gravity, the 6 GT is no 5 Series in terms of on-limit driving, but it does fantastically well, in spite of all its shortcoming, and feels like a true BMW.
The real fun of the 6 GT though is in Comfort mode, in which the air suspension simply smothers most bumps on our roads and delivers a sublime ride despite the large 19-inch wheels. And if you like to be chauffeured, believe me, the sublime ride of this car, along with the colossal amount of space inside, will simply bedazzle you.
Interestingly, despite the anti-diesel crusade in the country, BMW offers the 6 GT with three engine options – a 2.0-litre diesel, a 3.0-litre diesel, and a sole 2.0-litre petrol option. All the engines are offered only with the ubiquitous 8-speed automatic transmission, which is a force of nature and simply phenomenal in terms of gear shifts, which are seamless and quick – it’s almost as if the gearbox is hardwired to the driver’s brain and knows exactly when to shift.
The car we tested was the 630i with the 2.0-litre petrol engine, which produces 255bhp and 400Nm of torque and pushes the car from 0 to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds. It’s fast enough for both our urban traffic and highways. Our test car’s engine refinement was also excellent, but to be honest, despite the 30i moniker, the 4-cylinder engine didn’t have the charm and breadth of ability of a BMW six-cylinder. I truly do miss those engines, as we get to see less and less of them.
Ultimately, I believe that the 6 GT’s charm lies in its dual nature. Sure, it’s not the most handsome-looking car, has its flaws, will make you very conscious of its over 5 metres of length, especially while parking, has poor rear visibility from the driver’s seat due to a high boot lid and a small rear windscreen, and a horrible display graphics on the instrument console. But, with its combination of more than ample space in all seats, a large boot, and dual driving characteristics, it sure presents itself as a compelling package.
At the flick of a switch, you can engage Comfort mode and make the 6 GT one of the most comfortable cars for our roads, enjoying every bit of it in the lap of luxury. And then flick another switch, and the car becomes a responsive and fun-to-drive sedan that would satiate most keen drivers. So, if you’re in the market for a large luxury sedan that can serve multiple roles, I would recommend considering the 6 GT.
- 2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo
Engine: 1,998cc / 4-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 8-Speed Steptronic Automatic / Rear-Wheel Drive
Power: 255bhp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 1,550 – 4,400rpm
Price: ₹67.90 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: With its combination of rear-seat space, comfort, and the ability to transform into a decent driver’s car, the 6 GT offers a lot of bang for your buck.
• Rear seat space