BMW tries to cover all bases with genre-busting 6 Series GT
Although there are plenty of variations on basic coupe, sedan or wagon design, it's rare for a car manufacturer to truly try break the mold. BMW Gran Turismo – or GT – models are notable exceptions. The new 6 Series GT might look awkward, but that hunchback design is there to blend the best bits of sedan, wagon and hatchback body styles in one package.
The unique shape of the 6 Series GT has been honed over a few years. The Gran Turismo body style debuted on the 5 Series in 2009, and the formula has since been applied to the smaller 3 Series. It's actually done quite well, too, with 3 GT yielding more than 130,000 sales since launch.
Built on the same platform as the latest 5 Series, the 6 Series Gran Turismo is a seriously big car. It's more than 5.09 m (16.4 ft) long, with a 3.07-m (10.07-ft) wheelbase for plenty of rear legroom. Despite the long wheelbase and chunky body, the design team has done a reasonable job of hiding the bulk with a lower roofline and more aggressive front end than previous GT models – although it's still a bit heavy-set compared to a regular coupe, sedan or wagon.
The slicker new design is also more aerodynamic than the old 5 Series GT. Air shutters behind the (massive) kidney grille close up to cut drag on the open road, while the venting behind the front wheels reduces back pressure in the wheel arches. All up, drag coefficient has dropped from 0.29 to 0.25.
On the inside, BMW has tried to make the GT feel more like a regular car than a hulking four-wheel drive, utilizing a 5 Series dashboard and driver-focused console. But the taller rear roofline affords more headroom for the rear passengers, and the higher driver seat makes it easier to see over traffic. Extra soundproofing and restyled seat cushions should make the back seats more comfortable on long journeys, while an optional comfort package allows the outside back seats to electrically recline.
When not being used, the back seats can be folded to turn the 610-liter (21.5-cu.ft) boot into a monstrous 1,800 liter (63.6 cu.ft) load bay. The one-piece tailgate operates like a giant hatch and opens at the push of a button – a good thing, because a panel that big is likely to be heavy.
Power will initially come from a choice of three different engines, all of which are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 630i gets a four-cylinder gasoline engine with 190 kW (258 hp) and 400 Nm on tap, good for a 6.3-second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph), while the 640i handles the sprint in 5.3 seconds thanks to its 250-kW (340-hp) inline six. Diesel power is provided by an inline six making 195 kW (265 hp) of power and 620 Nm of torque.
As you'd expect of a modern family car, the 6 Series GT will be offered with a full suite of active safety features. Auto-emergency braking is standard, and adaptive cruise control will maintain a gap to the car in front between 0 and 210 km/h (130 mph). Steering and lane assist will steer the car within the same speed range, while lane-keeping assist and blind-spot warnings minimize the risk of lane-change accidents while the driver is in control on the highway. You can even park the car remotely with the right option boxes ticked.
BMW is yet to announce pricing for the 6 Series GT, which will make its public debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September, with the market launch from the following month.