The 2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo is not a re-badged version of last year’s 5 Series GT. It’s an all-new model with a new engine and body. The 6 Series has usually been a high-luxury line (other cars in the range are reviewed separately), with practicality low on the list of priorities. The 5 Series, meanwhile, covered many more bases. It’s not always easy to understand the logic going on at BMW.
This is the way the company wants it, though, so let’s get started. It’s based on the same foundation as the new-for-2018 5 Series, which shares many things with the 7 Series in terms of basic construction to help keep weight in check. And the essential idea of the 6 Series GT is the same as last year’s 5 Series version. It’s a midsize premium hatchback with a raised ride height. Almost a crossover, but not quite.
As such, it either misses the wagon/hatchback and crossover marks or hits a new target somewhere in between. Who knows? Perhaps this is the future, and current crossover drivers are realizing that while they like the high driving position, it doesn’t have to be quite so lofty. In fact, they might welcome better body control instead.
Tastes will differ, but it’s not crazy to say that the styling of the 6 GT is more elegant than its 5 Series predecessor. Its flanks are made a little more interesting with the inclusion of the "hockey stick" design detail that’s similar to the 5 and 7 Series.
Sophistication, passenger and cargo space, a spaceship full of technology and excellent driving manners are all part of the 6 GT’s distinctive charm.
What’s New for 2018?
The 6 Series Gran Turismo, also known as the 640i xDrive, is all-new for 2018.
What We Like
Excellent engine; well-considered ride/handling balance; sumptuous interior; versatile back seat and cargo area; tons of standard features; lots of modern technology
What We Don’t
No Android Auto smartphone integration
The 640i xDrive Gran Turismo employs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder making 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. This engine links up to an 8-speed automatic transmission (with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a launch control setting) and all-wheel drive is standard (that’s the xDrive part of the name).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy at 20 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. The engine also has an automatic stop/start function to save a little fuel when the car is idling, plus a hybrid-like brake energy regeneration feature.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo comes in one version, the 640i xDrive ($71,195).
Standard equipment (and there’s a lot of it) includes 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive full LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights/fog lights, heated/power-folding side mirrors, puddle lamps, selectable driving modes, self-leveling rear air suspension, rain-sensing wipers, heated/10-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support and driver’s-side memory, a 12.3-in configurable digital driver information display, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry/ignition, a panoramic moonroof, ambient cabin lighting, hands-free tailgate open/close, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, dynamic cruise control, parking sensors front and rear, universal garage door opener, iDrive infotainment system with voice control, navigation, a 10.2-in high-resolution touchscreen, Wi-Fi, a 205-watt/12-speaker audio system, satellite/HD radio, USB (two ports), Bluetooth connectivity and wireless device charging. There’s also BMW ConnectedDrive (traffic updates, concierge service and onboard apps).
Standard driver assistance features include forward collision mitigation with daytime pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, active blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and driver fatigue/focus monitoring. Buyers may also select active cruise control (which can sense two vehicles ahead) with stop/go and traffic jam assistance, front cross-traffic alert, night vision with pedestrian detection, and remote control parking.
The Luxury Seating package brings BMW’s excellent 20-way multi-contour front seats with ventilation, massaging function and memory settings. Parking Assistance includes an automatic parallel/perpendicular parking ability, and a 360-degree camera setup. This parking-related content is also part of the Executive package, which is augmented by soft-closing doors, gesture control and a head-up display. A Dynamic Handling package consists of an active suspension — adding a Comfort Plus setting to the driving modes along with an air setup at the front and greater body roll control — and rear-wheel steering.
Other options include 20- and 21-in alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, upgraded Nappa leather upholstery, powered rear side window sunshades, a 600-watt Harman Kardon surround sound system, a 16-speaker/1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.
There’s 31 cu ft. of luggage space behind the rear seats, which split and fold in 40/20/40 fashion. When they’re all folded down, maximum cargo volume is 65 cu ft., making the GT comparable with midsize crossovers.
Standard safety features include stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and six airbags (front, front side and full-length side curtain).
This car is still too new to have been crash tested by any agencies in the United States. But buyers can be reassured by the huge amount of standard and optional protective equipment.
Behind the Wheel
Thanks to the raised ride height (compared with a conventional sedan) getting into and out of the 6 GT is easy and dignified. Perfect for someone who may not be as spry as they once were. The standard seats are perfectly comfortable, while the optional 14-way multi-contour front seats belong in any conversation about the best car seats in the world.
BMW excels at making engines, especially inline-6 units. This one is refined and rapid in equally generous measures (standstill to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds is quick for a family hauler), while the transmission is linked to the navigation for smart shifting actions.
The iDrive infotainment system is controlled by a freestanding touchscreen, which is a fresh interior design element for BMW. And the 6 GT excels in rear passenger comfort. The bottom cushions provide plenty of thigh support and the seats can recline for added relaxation potential. There’s enough space for three adults back there, and every occupant should enjoy the hushed cabin.
Some drivers will prefer a lower center of gravity, but many others will appreciate the commanding view of the road. That said, the 6 GT is no slouch when the roads become curvy, displaying remarkable cornering composure for something of this size and weight. The GT also shines on the highway. Although the optional 21-in wheels might have an adverse effect on ride quality.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Audi A7 — Another premium midsize hatchback from Germany, but this one has a conventional ride height, so the handling can benefit. The all-new second generation is due in the United States by the end of 2018.
2018 BMW X6 — Not as roomy as the 6 Series GT, but falls into the "non-conformist crossover" category, by virtue of the sloping roof.
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe — More of a rival for the X6, but the GLE crossover SUV now offers this variant with a "4-door coupe" design and a range of strong engines.
2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country — A wagon with great looks, equipment, comfort and space, plus some crossover attitude.
If the 6 GT tickles your car-buying reflexes, then go for it. Add as many driver assistance features as possible.