Performance, space and utility | A peek at the 2021 BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo The 6-Series GT is BMW’s razor-sharp rebuttal to the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz E-Class, currently the best-selling car in Mercedes India’s range, and is the alternative executive sedan you never knew you needed.
October 26, 2021 / 07:04 PM IST
The BMW 6-Series is one of the greatest cars in BMW’s modern line-up that nobody talks about. When it comes to utility, the spotlight falls squarely on the X-badged brigade, and when it comes to power and refinement, one seldom needs to look beyond the 5-Series. So why does a car like the 6-Series GT continue to sell when the likes of the utility-heavy 3-Series GT, went the way of disco? Because it can. For a brand as big as BMW, there’s simply no harm in keeping the 6 GT around to serve as a more utility-focused alternative to the 5-Series. It’s got more legroom, more storage space given that it shares its platform with the standard-wheelbase BMW 7-Series. The 6-Series GT is BMW’s razor-sharp rebuttal to the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz E-Class (currently the best-selling car in Mercedes India’s range) and is the alternative executive sedan you never knew you needed.
Particularly the 630d M Sport version – the range-topping diesel-powered slice of Bavarian brilliance. It’s got a six-cylinder, 3.0-litre turbo-diesel mated to an 8-speed torque converter. There’s 620 Nm of torque here along with 261 bhp of power, the effect of which we will get into later. First, let’s look at the cosmetic aspect of the car. The 6 GT’s rakish good looks stand enhanced with an added hint of aggression. The L-shaped DRL-equipped headlamps are sleeker and the grille, as with all new BMWs, is more, shall we say, prominent. The M Sport 19-inch alloys on the 630d single-handedly add so much flair to the visual grammar of the 6, which you’d forgive the incongruity brought on by the gaudy bit of chrome on the kidney grille. Knowing BMW’s new-found penchant for oversized grilles, this design is pretty tame, but a matt black one would have suited the stealthy and understated nature of the M Sport package a bit more. Especially given that the bumpers have been redesigned to look much sharper and aggressive than before.
Frameless doors add yet another layer of sophistication to the design, with its dynamism only slightly muted by the fastback roof. Given that the boot offers notchback levels of storage space, the utility of the 6-Series GT is limited only to the additional space it provides at the back and the added ground clearance.
BMW’s 3.0-litre, in-line six diesel is truly deserving of hyperbole that has come its way. With Audi having discontinued diesels in India, there’s very little standing in its way of being the best in its class. Nothing quite compares to the buttery smoothness of this power unit. After the heaping scoops of torque it unloads, it's the astounding, seamless refinement of the engine that stays with you. On the highway, the 630d hurtles towards the horizon, and yet, in the city it’s perfectly relaxed. Nary a hint of a diesel powertrain’s hum makes its way into the cabin, even as you mash the throttle and watch the car fly across the tarmac with a ride quality that gives the illusion of wafting over thin air. Even the 8-speed torque converter works with the seamlessness of a dual-clutch unit. And it’s with the ride quality that one can clearly see, BMW’s wilful submission to the needs of, not the enthusiast, but the sybarite. As much fun as the 6GT is to drive, it's targeted primarily at the driven, and so its pliant, softly sprung suspension remains resolutely dedicated to comfort. The steering feels much lighter than it ever has on a BMW, vaporising feedback from the road, much to the dismay of the enthusiast, who appears to have, once again, been left in the lurch in favour of the executive who is far more likely to buy this car.
Naturally, things can become more exciting by switching to Sport, or better yet, BMW’s ‘Adaptive’ button, placed right next to the transmission lever. It never completely manages to override the directive of being comfort-oriented, but it does bring about a noticeable difference in the car’s driving mannerisms. Body-roll brought about from the suppleness of its suspension is restrained and you can tell that this Bimmer, thankfully still rear-wheel-driven, wants to provide a thrilling ride, true to its grand tourer credentials.
There’s a moment in the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies where Bond’s quartermaster introduces him to his new ride. It’s a BMW 7-Series which, apart from the usual array of lethal weaponry, also has a remote parking function, operable via a cell phone. With the new ultra-luxurious Bimmers, including the 6 GT, this is now a reality. Along with a standard keyfob, BMW also gives you a touch-operated key fob which allows for a remote parking function, lets you pre-heat or cool the car at a selected time of the day (before you wish to drive out). It also tells you the range, whether the car is locked or any other diagnostics that need tending to.
This is only a glimpse of what awaits you inside. The 630d is the only 6 GT variant to get gesture controls to operate the infotainment’s music functions. This means that volume and track changing functions, which can also be carried out from the steering-mounted controls, can be taken care of with a simple wave of the finger. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon system round up the highlights of the cabin. The iDrive infotainment system, thankfully, continues keeping a few analogue options in the mix with a rotary knob just in case jabbing your digits on the touchscreen can prove too much of a distraction during driving.
Everything has been thrown in the 630d M Sport - soft-closing door functions, headrest-mounted screens and BMW’s patented laser-equipped headlamps which adjust the angle of illumination in accordance with the steering angle and throw light up to 650 metres. BMW’s iDrive infotainment system continues to be the most intuitive in the business, pipped only by Audi’s Virtual Cockpit which utilises space on the instrument cluster much better.
At Rs 79.20 lakh (ex-showroom), the 6-Series Gran Turismo locks horns directly with India’s luxury SUV brigade. And if the size, bulk and nuisance value that comes with driving an imposing rectangular slab is your thing, by all means – go for the cars like the gigantic X7 which is only a shade more expensive at Rs 1.07 crore. But the sheer poise, looks and performance of the 6GT make it one of the all-time greatest diesel luxury sedans in existence. This is because it’s hard to imagine a diesel powertrain getting any better, particularly at a point when it’s headed for the guillotine. As a BSVI compliant unit, the motor does make an argument for a more CO2-free alternative to petrol. With the arc of the automotive universe curving towards SUVs, the 6-Series GT is an endangered species. I just hope I get to see more of them in the wild.