BMW 6-Series GT (G32)

Debut: 2017
Maker: BMW
Predecessor: 5-Series GT (F07)

 Published on 14 Oct 2017
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A new name and a faster back can't save a flawed concept.

The outgoing 5-Series GT (Gran Turismo) was one of the most unloved children of BMW. Although it offered 7-Series level of space at 5-Series prices, accompanied with the convenience brought by a large liftback, it didn't quite get on with buyers, blame to its odd looks and weak dynamics. During its 8-years life, only 150,000 units were sold. Nevertheless, BMW finds it quite well received in China, so it wants to give the car a second chance. This time around, it changes to a sportier look accompanied with a more upmarket name, 6-Series GT (Gran Turismo). Confusing? Yes, because the car has not much relationship with the current 6-Series Coupe, Cabriolet and Gran Coupe. When those cars are replaced by the new 8-Series next year, the Gran Turismo will be the only 6-Series left, and it will change our perception of the nameplate from a stylish coupe to an ugly large hatchback, unfortunately.

Despite the shift of name and styling strategy, the essence of the car is actually unchanged. It remains a jumbo-size and relatively tall hatchback. It is again sized between the 5 and 7-Series, while most of the underpinnings come from the former. Compared with a 5-Series sedan, it is 155mm longer, 34mm wider and 59mm taller, whereas wheelbase is lengthened by 95mm to 3070mm, or identical to the standard 7-Series. Compared with its predecessor, it is also significantly longer, though the roof is lowered by 21mm. The roof line also drops faster to give the car a stronger sense of coupe. No, you won’t confuse it with a coupe, just like the case of BMW X6, because this is still a rather tall and bulky object on the road. It might be easier to eyes than its predecessor, but in no way we can describe it as handsome.

This is the only BMW currently on sale that feels completely unexciting to drive...

The GT’s chassis owes a lot to the 5-Series, so unsurprisingly it is constructed out of high-strength steel and aluminum. The latter includes the engine cradles, suspensions, bonnet, tailgate and doors. This helps it to undercut its predecessor by an average 150 kg on scale, although it is still 180 kg heavier than the equivalent 5-Series sedan. The suspension comprises of both 5 and 7-Series elements – the rear comes straight from the 5-Series Touring including its self-leveling air springs and compact design that lowers the load bay. The front suspensions are taken from the 7-Series so to allow the optional air springs that are omitted on the 5er. It goes without saying this change is driven by the demand of China, whose customers prefer pillowy ride to spirited handling. Like its siblings, the car can be fitted with adaptive dampers, active anti-roll bars and 4-wheel steering at extra costs.

Unsurprisingly, the cabin shares the 5-Series' dashboard and all switchgears to save cost, which is no bad thing. Compared with 5-Series, the seating position here is raised by 60mm in order to give an SUV-like commanding view on the road. Whereas the old car had the rear seats mounted even higher in theater-style, the new car has it lowered by 30mm to align with the front so that the faster roof line does not rob any rear headroom. As a result, the cabin remains spacious, just as spacious as a 7-Series in fact. It offers vast of leg, head and shoulder room. Benefited by the stretch of body length, boot capacity is increased from 500 to 610 liters. This can be increased further to 1800 liters when stack up to the roof. The tailgate has ditched the old car’s complex split function, but it remains electrically operated. Because the faster angle rear window generates more aerodynamic lift, an active spoiler is added to the end of tailgate. This also helps lowering drag coefficient to merely 0.25 for the base model.

The cabin is just as spacious as a 7-Series.

The GT’s powertrain choices are limited to only three: 258hp 2-liter turbo (630i), 265hp 3-liter turbo diesel (630d) and 340hp 3-liter turbo petrol (640i), all are well familiar to us. Inevitably, hauling the heavy car even the top straight-six hardly feels punchy. It is more about smoothness and refinement, particularly thanks to the extensive sound deadening. No one has tried the four-cylinder petrol yet, but I suppose it won’t be a sensible choice unless being used as a company car.

The weakest link of the 6-Series GT is handling. Its steering is deliberately tuned lighter than the norm of BMW in order to please Chinese drivers (or chauffeurs). Likewise, the suspension is more about ride comfort than body control. Even on cars fitted with all the optional suspension equipment, it still shows more pronounced body roll in corners than a 5-Series Touring, which is amplified further by the high seating. It feels heavier, less eager to turn and more desire to understeer when you try to push it. In short, it is not qualified to be a BMW, even though the standards of BMW have been lowered somewhat in recent years. This is the only BMW currently on sale that feels completely unexciting to drive. However, it is not the first, because its predecessor the 5-Series GT was.

Length / width / height
Valve gears
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Suspension layout

Suspension features

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
630i GT
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Steel + aluminum
5091 / 1902 / 1538 mm
3070 mm
1998 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
258 hp
295 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link

1720 kg
155 mph (limited)
6.0 (c)
640i GT (xDrive)
Front-engined, RWD(4WD), 4WS
Steel monocoque
Steel + aluminum
5091 / 1902 / 1538 mm
3070 mm
2998 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT, VVL
340 hp
332 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping, air springs, active anti-roll
1770 (1835) kg
155 mph (limited)
5.1 (c) (5.0 (c))

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