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BMW 630i GT First Drive Review

What is it?

Why I would buy it:

Spacious and comfortable cabin, adequate boot space for long drives, comfy ride and just about enough grunt from its engine

Why I would avoid it:

Pricier than Mercedes' E 200, rear-end looks bulky 

 

BMW added the 6 Series Gran Turismo to their Indian line-up in February this year, and this model serves as a ‘Tourer’ version of the existing 5 Series sedan. It is built around the idea of offering a more luxurious and spacious option to its 5’ sedan sibling, along with the added looks of a Coupe. If you wanted that little extra from the 5 Series but didn’t want to tread elsewhere… well, the 6 Series GT may just be the one for you. 

We admit that the “bloated hatch portion shoehorned into the 5 Series’ butt” styling of the 630i GT never really grew on us. The unique bit here is the sloping Coupe roof which ends in a boot section that sports tail lamps with snazzy graphics, and a fancy pop-out spoiler. The rest, as you’d guessed, has been pulled-off the 5’, so it’s the same front-end with the sleek headlamps split apart by the brand’s distinct kidney grille.

How is it on the inside?

As the 630i GT is essentially a 5 Series under the skin, the premium cabin layout is also the same. So, there’s the plush beige-black dual-tone theme with brushed silver trim that runs all across. In fact, the light cabin colours, large glass area and the panorama sunroof do a splendid job of liberating and giving a feeling of space. Then there’s the wide touchscreen with great resolution and quick frame rates too.

Now, if we had to be picky, it definitely has to be the extensive use of piano black trim which reflects sharply, and makes viewing buttons/switches a bit challenging in bright sunlight. But, let’s get to the front seats. They’re wide with ample knee room, headroom, and coupled with the manually adjustable thigh support, they make for a tailored-fit and comfy seating posture. The snug fit is further accentuated by the electrically adjustable lateral support.

Now at the rear, the first thing that strikes you is the incredible knee room and thigh support. There’s lots of headroom here too. What makes this bench even more comfortable are the favourable contours and the electrically adjustable back-rest angle. With the boost in legroom, the 6 Series feels more comparable to the Mercedes-Benz’ E-Class LWB (long wheel base). 

Having said that, rear seat occupants also benefit from the four-zone air-con with centre and pillar vents, electric door sunshades, two 10.2-inch HD screens with a BluRay drive and two soft pillows on the headrests. Another area where the 6 Series excels (being a GT), is in boot space. It can swallow up to 610-litres (200-litres more than the 5 Series). Although small suitcases are a fit, soft bags is the way to go since the small space-saver spare wheel eats up into the useable space. 

How does it drive?

Under the hood of the 630i GT is the same turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol motor that powers BMW’s own 330i and 530i. In the 630i however, this silent and smooth powertrain has been tweaked from 252bhp/350Nm to a higher 258bhp/400Nm. And we have to admit that the extra 50Nm of torque makes this 6’ GT even peppier when compared to the 530i.

You instantly notice the eager manner in which the 630i gets off the mark and picks up pace. Now although it packs enough performance to keep the driver entertained, the 6 GT’s power delivery isn’t aggressive, which fits in with the intended nature of the GT. But, you somehow forget all that when you hold down both the brake and accelerator pedal in Sport mode, and glare into the instrumentation that reads out ‘Launch Control Activated’! 

There’s absolutely no drama when the 6 GT launches off the line (hardly any wheel-spin) while the eight-speed transmission shunts torque down to the rear wheels. The 100kmph mark comes up in 6.69 seconds, and even overtaking is a breeze since the 40-100kmph and 20-80kmph runs in kick-down take just 5.15 and 4.15 seconds. What’s also nice about this motor is that it lets out a strong throaty roar at the higher spectrum at about 6300 revs. Plus, the transmission also sportily downshifts to the red-line.

Having said this, there are pre-set driving modes to suit variable driver requirements in terms of damping, engine and gearbox response, and steering feedback. These include Sport, Comfort, Comfort+, Eco Pro and Adaptive. We noticed that ‘Eco Pro’ offers the best fuel efficiency since its responses are mild. Comfort mode is more responsive than Eco Pro as it holds lower gears longer before upshifting.  

In ‘Sport’, however, the transmission holds lower gears for instant thrust which makes it ideal if all you’re looking at is maximum performance. Plus, it is also customisable where the engine, transmission, damping and steering characteristics can be toggled between Sport and Comfort. Adaptive mode, on the other hand, learns from your driving style and automatically sets the parameters.

With the 630i riding on air springs, it’s a given that the ride quality was going to be plush. That said, in Sport mode the suspension gets firmer and the sharp bumps can be felt within the cabin at slow speeds. But Eco Pro and Comfort modes just flatten out most road imperfections at slower speeds with hardly anything transmitted into the cabin. Pick up the pace and all modes help in superior damping. But there’s no running away from the characteristic air-suspension up-and-down motion at higher speeds which is more pronounced in Eco Pro and Comfort modes.  

Steering the BMW 630i seems effortless despite its size thanks to the accurate feedback. While it feels considerably light in Eco-Pro and Comfort mode, ‘Sport’ appears to be heavier along with quicker responses too. We admit that the confidence inspired through its steering, coupled to the rigid frame lends the 630i good stability especially at highway speeds. Of course, there is some roll around tight corners since it is a huge car, but it never really gets unnerving.

Should I buy one?

All in all, BMW’s 630i GT costs Rs 72.54 lakhs and seems a direct competitor to Mercedes-Benz’ E 200 (due to its extravagant rear cabin space) which retails for Rs 68.8 lakhs (both prices on-road Mumbai). Frankly speaking, other than the looks, there’s very little that one may dislike about the 630i GT. It boasts of a spacious and comfortable cabin that oozes quality and a premium feel. Then there’s the adequate boot space for that road trip you’d planned, a cozy ride quality and just about the right amount of grunt from its engine. 

For those who love to drive, even its handling is more than adequate to bring a smile to your face. Practically speaking, we believe the 630i GT interestingly ticks all the boxes and is quite the GT car.

Where does it fit in?

Pull the Merc E 200 out of the equation and the 6 Series GT can compete price-wise with cars like the Audi A5 (fastback coupe). There’s also the option of buying the regulars such as the Audi A6, Volvo’s S90, and the Lexus ES.


Pictures: Kaustubh Gandhi 

 

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BMW 6 Series GT Price in Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Hyderabad₹ 72.78 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 70.26 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 72.2 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 77.69 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 74.46 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 67.55 Lakhs onwards
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