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BMW Gran Coupe (BMW/BMW)
BMW Gran Coupe (BMW/BMW)

First Drive

BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe: Poised and precise Add to ...

Like so many others, BMW refers to the upcoming 6-Series Gran Coupe as a four-door coupe. By that I mean, Mercedes-Benz says the CLS is a four-door coupe, and it’s the same story at Audi regarding the A7.

We know this: The Gran Coupe is 111 mm longer than its two-door sibling and much of the extra length has been used to enhance seating comfort in back. To a point. Don’t mistake the rear for a place you’d sit for the Cannonball Run cross-country. Not if you hope to walk again.

But there are four seats and the car is a pretty design and the handling is nothing short of athletic. For the exterior, the optional adaptive LED headlights make the car stand out at night and BMW says they shed a bright white light in an intense way to “evenly spread illumination of the road.”

Being BMW, there is no shortage of gadgets. The so-called BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services include a rear-view camera, Surround View, Night Vision, lane departure warning, blind spot detection and even a new head-up display in colour.

Unfortunately, to operate the electronic features, to dial in a radio station and to tune up the wonderful and optional Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, you must use the iDrive control system. It is more user-friendly than ever, but still requires the driver to take eyes off the road far too often and for even the simplest things. There must be a better way.

The engine is a 4.4-litre V-8, the same one that powers the current 650i models, but upgraded: 445 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm (a 45 hp increase), and peak torque of 480 lb-ft between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm (a 30 lb-ft increase).

The 650i xDrive Gran Coupe completes the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds yet average fuel consumption is expected to be 8.6 litres/100 km. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

For touring, the car is a delight. It’s poised and sure-footed. This one seems to be the car aimed at empty-nesters who occasionally have need of a modest back seat, but who also like to drive and drive well.

On that score, the Gran Coupe rings up the points.

jcato@globeandmail.com

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