Up front, you sit low on broad and supportive seats equipped with integral seatbelts. Entry to the rear is impeded by small door apertures and the trailing edge of the frameless window, which extends well out from the door itself. With the front seats set to their lowest position, there is precious little foot room in the rear, although in other respects the rear bench is quite roomy. But despite the inclusion of a centre rear seatbelt, the extension of the centre console all the way back to the rear bench means that the 6-series Gran Coupé can only be considered as an occasional five-seater. Despite offering a generous 460 litres of luggage space, the boot is also compromised by a small aperture and high load lip.
Initially, there will be a choice of two in-line sixes: the latest evolution of BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine producing 316bhp and 332lb ft in the 640i Gran Coupé, and the gutsy turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel with 309bhp and 464lb ft in the 640d Gran Coupé driven here.
The diesel is perfectly suited to the BMW’s sporting brief. It has huge low-end shove, a terrifically flexible nature, highly refined part-throttle cruising qualities, an alluring full-throttle exhaust note and, for a diesel, a sufficiently eager top end to make it fun to work hard.
Doing justice to the 640d Gran Coupé’s superb engine is its standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is smooth and quick to react, both in automatic and manual modes. Equipped with stop-start, brake energy recuperation and extra-long gearing, it is integral in providing the new 1790kg saloon with exceptional combined economy of 50.5mpg. With 0-62mph in 5.4sec and a standing kilometre time of 24.7sec, it doesn’t lack for outright pace, either.
What really sets the 6-series Gran Coupé apart, though, are its highly polished dynamic traits. There is an engaging fluidity to the handling that allows it to rise above the already highly competent 5-series for outright driver appeal. The steering is well weighted and quite direct. The chassis, meanwhile, possesses wonderful balance, which gives it tremendously eager cornering and a neutral on-the-limit character. With no fewer than five different driving modes offered by BMW’s driving experience function, the new saloon can be set up for a wide range of conditions and driving styles.
The ride is characterised by firm damping, but there is sufficient compliancy in Comfort mode, even on optional 18-inch runflat tyres, to ensure that coarse surfaces don’t spoil the otherwise exceptional refinement. On the motorway, the new BMW delivers rock-solid longitudinal stability and the sort of relaxed cruising qualities that will make it an exceptional long-haul proposition.
Should I buy one?
In short, the 6-series Gran Coupé is a belter – better to look at and drive than the 5-series, if not possessing quite the same level of practicality and load-carrying ability. With a sporting interior, it also feels special to be in. The question now is: why would you want a 6-series coupé?
BMW 640d Gran Coupe
Price: £63,900; Top speed: 155mph (limited); 0-62mph: 5.4sec; Economy: 50.5mpg (combined); CO2: 147g/km; Kerb weight: 1790kg; Engine: 6 cyls, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Installation: Front, longitudinal, RWD; Power: 309bhp at 4400rpm; Torque: 464lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic