BMW 6 Series GT: A versatile luxury car gets lighter and faster in its 2018 avatar
The BMW 5 GT was a rather nice car. OVERDRIVE staffers drove one to Delhi from Mumbai and back. a few years ago and all of us remember the ease with which is gobbled up our considerable luggage. An ease that was matches only by the BMW 5 GT's ability to gobble up the miles. And this, in the pictures, is the new BMW 6 Series GT. The idea is the same but the name has changed while BMW has also added a raft of new systems, equipment and features while updating the engines and the design of the new 6 Series GT. Let's dive right in.
The new BMW 6 Series GT, naturally, gains some of the design elements that appeared on the new 7 Series. At the front, that's the new kidney grille with the active elements for greater aerodynamic efficiency. In fact with all aero-systems in play the Cd falls to just 0.25 and BMW reiterate that the gain in aero-efficiency over the old model is significant. Flanking the grille are a new set of headlights with LEDs as standard and new LED DRLs that introduce the first of the hexagonal motifs that now pepper the car. The adaptive LED headlights are optional.
The body itself is longer, lower and but exactly as wide as before, but the aerodynamics are superior through elements at the front, on the sidebody as well as a spoiler at the rear that extends at past 110kmph and retracts once you get below 70kmph. The roofline has also been tweaked. The bootlid - operated electrically as standard - has been lowered and its sill is now flush with the lower boot floor for easier access.
This body uses more aluminium than before and BMW says that's one of the primary reasons why the new BMW 6 Series GT is 150kg lighter than before.
As before, the sleek lines - note the extra raked A-pillar - combine with the coupe roof line and the slightly taller ride height to present what appears to be simultaneously a sporty but useful idea. Compared to the older car though, the new 6 Series GT distinctly look sleeker while the new air suspension allows it to be raised and lowered slightly - both of which are useful in specific situations.
The BMW 6 Series GT is a five-seater by design but the slightly higher ride height and the spacious layout mark it out as a grand tourer that its name suggests it is. The rear bench folds 40:20:40 at the touch of a button in the boot to extend the 110l larger boot (610l now, 1800l with seats folded) considerably. You can also opt for electrically operated, reclining rear seats if you like. At the front are higher set sport seats as BMW calls them but optional contour seats are also available.
What you face is the smart new layout that is still slightly driver-focussed but very much the current BMW layout theme.
The new elements include the 10.25 inch high resolution touchscreen in the middle with the latest iDrive controller. BMW does have a full raft of systems that it clubs under the Connected services. However, many features like the Microsoft Exchange-based calendar integration are slightly irrelevant - you're vastly more likely to use your phone to do these tasks. In any case, the car has wireless charging and connectivity and Apple CarPlay is available, optional in some markets. BMW will also offer the larger new head-up display plus other features like remote parking etc as options.
Driver elimination programme progress
BMW adds some of the systems that move the 6 Series GT closer to autonomous driving in the new car. However, the systems rely on radar in addition to stereo forward cameras and ultrasonic sensors and that means some of the systems will not be enabled in India. As of today, Volvo India and Mercedes-Benz India are the two car companies that have permissions to use radar on Indian roads.
So the 6 Series GT? The adaptive cruise control system can now deal with a traffic jam and is able to come to a complete halt and then restart rolling once traffic moves at up to 30 seconds after the stop. It functions between 0 and 210kmph. The BMW also has systems that assist you in lane keeping as well as changing lanes - using the road markings to guide the car. There are also other systems and you can opt for the remote parking system that allows you to park the car via the key. While unlikely to be enabled in India, the 6 Series GT is also vehicle-to-vehicle communications ready and is able to transmit hazard information to other compatible vehicles.
Suspension and wheels
The BMW 6 Series GT uses the double-wishbone front suspension configuration with a five-link rear mounted on its own subframe for control as well as insulation for the cabin. It gets auto-levelling rear axle air suspension as standard. This two-axle air suspension along with dynamic damping, active roll stabilisation and standard active steering as optional add-ons. BMW says all these systems can be opted for even in their all-wheel drive xDrive cars and it promises a balance of cornering grace and supple ride quality. The car can also adjust its ride height. At low speeds (35kmph or less), you can raise the car manually 20mm to, for example, clear a speed breaker or climb a ramp. You can lower the car 10mm manually, or past 120kmph, the car does that automatically to make the drive more efficient at high speeds. The 6 Series GT gets standard 17-inch wheels but options up to 20 inches are available.
The BMW 6 Series GT debuted at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany and at launch it was supposed to come with only a handful of engines with more to come later. International engines include two petrols and the 2,995cc Diesel in two states of tune as the 630d and the 640d. A second six-cylinder Diesel engine is expected to become available shortly. All engines work with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission while the xDrive all-wheel drive is standard on the 640d and available with both the petrol engines.
While India is unlikely to get the petrol engine at the start - you never know with the changing preference for petrol engines though - BMW says the 630i GT is 0.7s faster than the old car while there is a 15 per cent jump in fuel efficiency on both the 640i and 630d models.
The BMW 630d gets the 265PS/620Nm version of the 2,993cc inline-six diesel. This will take the car to 100kmph in 6.1 seconds and the top speed is 250kmph. All-wheel drive models are rated 0.1s quicker in the run to 100kmph.
The BMW 640d (with xDrive as standard) gets the 320PS/680Nm version of the engine that drops the 100kmph time to 5.3s and the top speed remains limited to 250kmph. The two petrol are a 265PS and a 340PS four- and six-cylinder Twinscroll turbos respectively.
BMW India confirmed that the decision on when to launch the 6 Series GT is currently underway. The new car is most likely going to be at the 2018 Delhi Auto Expo but whether it be launched or not is yet to be seen. What India is likely to get is the 640d GT with a lot of standard features and a long list of optional equipment. If not at the Auto Expo, we expect BMW India to have the car on sale within the first half of the 2018 calendar year. Expect the price to be upwards of Rs 85 lakh, and stay tuned for a driving impression on OVERDRIVE shortly.
Starts Rs 63.9 Lakhs
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