From being just an engine mounted onto a frame with seats and four wheels, the automobile has evolved into various body styles. It is continuing to evolve and in the process has given birth to more forms and styles. The coupe was once a closed four-wheel horse-drawn carriage with a single seat inside. Pull out a dictionary and look for the word coupe and it may read like this - a car with a fixed roof and two doors. Well that was so yesterday. Today it's seen in various forms, BMW for instance even used a coupe design in their X6 SUV. The chaps at Munich however continue to come out with newer iterations and this time it's a coupe too. They've taken the beautiful BMW 640d coupe, given it a slight stretch and added two extra doors, the result? It's the Gran Coupe. BMW's first ever four-door coupe.
A four-door coupe is not a new concept, theMerc CLS, Audi's A7 and the Aston Martin Rapide are all noticeable examples. However, the BMW concept four-door was first showcased way back in 2007, even before the other four-door coupes were on the road. But BMW took its time and instead launched the 6 Coupe first and then incorporated the two extra doors to it. This incorporation is so seamless that one look at the car and you'll think it's the 640d coupe. The 6 Series is already a gorgeous car. We thought the coupe was even better looking than the convertible and it holds the same with the Gran Coupe too, it's a stunner. In fact the front and rear ends are exactly the same as the coupe except for subtle changes made to the front air dam. The only noticeable difference is the side. The coupe is a long car but the Gran Coupe is even longer, by 4.4 inches to be exact. This extra length means the wheelbase has also increased. But this doesn't make the car in any way disproportionate. Some noticeable design highlights are the flared rear fenders and the frameless windows all-round and the discreet Gran Coupe badging on the inside of the rear doors. It is a gorgeous design and makes the car one of the best looking four doors one can buy in India today.
Our test car was an exclusive BMW Individual specced one, so apart from the arresting frozen bronze shade, the interior gets a custom look as well. It features a white-brown leather interior with more of white which we thought was a bit too loud. However one can choose from six different interior packages. The space up front is identical to the coupe but move towards the rear and this is where the car scores over it siblings. Though not as spacious as a proper four-door luxury sedan, the Gran Coupe offers decent legroom (about five inches more). Even with that sloping roofline at the back, rear head and shoulder room have not been compromised. It is a strict four seater (don't know why there is a middle seat belt at the back though) thanks to the centre armrest and rear climate control placed on the high transmission tunnel. Boot space, thanks to the widened wheel arches and stretched rear suspension is quite roomy. There is no sun roof but I like the fixed glass roof, it goes well with the grand theme.
A car that's a genuine beauty deserves a sweet motor under it's hood. What you get then is a diesel motor, no ordinary one, but the same twin turbo unit from the 640d Coupe. The staggering 3.0-litre straight-six that produces 313PS of max power and a whopping 630Nm of torque that peaks at just 2000rpm, it's a proper powerhouse. The twin turbos operate sequentially, the smaller one delivers low down punch while the larger one provides extra power at higher revs, there is absolutely no lag and this twin turbo combination results in a linear but tremendous surge of acceleration. There is power on tap at anytime and since it's a diesel one doesn't have to wait for the revs to build up. In sports mode, the car's eight-speed automatic is always in the right gear and ready to attack. Figures then? The time taken to reach the ton is just 6.11 seconds, making it the quickest four-door diesel we've ever tested. The quarter mile is crossed in a brisk 14.39 seconds, 22.89 seconds to 200kmph and 25 seconds flat to cover a kilometre. The top speed is limited to 250kmph, we could achieve 244kmph. These figures make it as quick as the coupe which we said was very quick even by petrol standards. The engine note too is quite unlike any other diesel we've ever come across, more like a rev happy petrol car. All that power doesn't come at the cost of fuel efficiency. In town the car returns 8.3kmpl and on the highway it stretches to 13.4kmpl resulting in an incredible 9.58kmpl overall figure. This means on a full tank, one can do 1000km and that's from a car that can hit 100kmph in six seconds!