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BMW 6-series Gran Coupe: Test Drive Review

Date: 19 June 2012   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Category: Sports
P11D price: £63,710
Key rival: Mercedes CLS

The premium four-door coupe market is still a relative novelty, having been kick-started by the original Mercedes CLS in 2004.

Choice, though, has been steadily increasing, with the likes of Audi's A7 Sportback, the VW CC lower down the spectrum, and at the more exotic end Maserati's Quattroporte and the Porsche Panamera, all becoming available.

They have now been joined by BMW's new 6-series Gran Coupe. From a distance it could be confused for the standard coupe, such is the styling similarity, but the rear doors and an additional 113mm in the wheelbase make a difference close up. In terms of the extra room, attention is focussed on maximising space for back-seat occupants. There is genuine room for two average-sized adults to sit in comfort and there's even a central rear seat belt, rendering it a five-seater, although the large transmission tunnel eats away any centre legroom, so the middle chair is for small children only.

Up front, the cabin is exactly as you'd find it in other variants of the 6-series - exquisitely built with lashings of leather and a large, sculpted section of the dash that blends down into the centre console. Top-end coupe interiors do come more pleasing to the eye, but few are as well finished.

Unless you'd driven them back-to-back, you'd have a job to make any distinction between the two-door and the Gran Coupe. For a diesel, the six-cylinder engine sounds great and has huge reserves of shove to complement the noise. It's equally good at lazy cruising, where it revs exceptionally low. As is usual for big BMWs, the ride and handling are beautifully balanced and you can lean more towards one than the other via the engine mapping and suspension setting buttons on the centre console, which offer various levels of comfort, sportiness and efficiency.

Next to its rivals, the 6-series looks pricey in terms of cost per mile. Running costs for the Gran Coupe's closest rival, the Porsche Panamera diesel, weren't available on Kwik Carcost's database, but its figures are likely to exceed those of the 6-series, especially given the BMW's impressive fuel economy and CO2 figures.

Obviously the price tag will render the Gran Coupe out of reach for the masses, but BMW is reckoning on it being popular with SMEs, more specifically business owners or those at the executive level within such firms. So for top-flight execs who are keen on an individual-looking coupe but could use some extra space - and realistic running costs - it's a compelling proposition.