We can?t think of any car that has influenced sedan styling more during the last decade than the Mercedes-Benz CLS. When it rolled into Mercedes showrooms in 2004, it became an instant trendsetter. It also created a completely new niche or perhaps even a category ? the four-door coupe. The influence spread quickly with major luxury brands adding their own interpretations. More recently, many of the mid-size and compact sedans have picked up the swooping four-door coupe roofline that distinguishes the ?look.?
Fashionably late to the party, the BMW entry arrived as the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe. It was developed from the company?s elegant super model, the 640i Coupe. Starting from that world-class design pedigree, the BMW 640i Gran Coupe adds two doors, a more spacious rear seat and the sexy roofline that identifies the category.
We thought the tasteful application of the Gran Coupe name on the rear pillar added an elegant touch. The simple Gran Coupe name shows through the rear door windows when the door is closed not unlike a designer mark on an article of clothing.
No other car that we can think of gets a 4+l designation in the description. The ?4? indicates comfortable seating for four passengers plus 1in a pinch. The ?1? get to sit on an uncomfortable hump in the rear with that person?s feet straddling the extended center console. It does have a seat belt, so it qualities as a seat. The interior is filled with soft leathers, French stitching and couture-like elegance. Seating is firm, but supportive to handle the seating challenges of high speed driving.
The Gran Coupe lineup is offered in four models: 640i, 640ixDrive, 650i and 650ixDrive, which have base prices ranging from $77,395 to $91,095 including the destination charge. The extensive standard equipment list on each includes items like navigation, active Xenon lighting, adjustable speed rain sensing wipers, Park Distance Control and dozens of other top-drawer features.
Avoiding any hint of a one-size-fits-all strategy, BMW offers pages of packages and options that maximize customization possibilities. Customization, however, than can raise the ante on a model like the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe we drove by enough extra to buy a new Mini Cooper Clubman Hatchback ($21,400). If you check all the option boxes, those extras can add enough to the base price to pay for a nicely equipped BMW 3 Series.
The 2013 BMW 640i models are powered by an upgraded version of BMW?s twin turbo inline six-cylinder engine. It drives through a super smooth and quick shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The 315 horsepower is capable of a 5.4-second 0 to 60 mph run and with an electronically controlled 155 mph top speed. EPA fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. We actually averaged 24.1 mpg during the week we got live with the 2013 BMW640i Gran Coupe.
All 6-Series models have BMW?s EfficientDynamics system which adds to fuel efficiency with Brake Energy Regeneration, engine Auto Start-Stop, on-demand operation of ancillary components, lightweight construction and aerodynamics. The Auto Start-Stop system re-cranks the engine like a fresh start, which makes it rougher and less seamless than many systems we?ve driven.
Under the hood of the upper level 650i Gran Coupe is BMW?s innovative 4.4-liter twin turbo V-8 producing a neck snapping 445-hp and a 0 to 60 mph time for the ixDrive of 4.3 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds better than the rear drive model.
With features like Chassis Management, Active Roll Stabilization and Integral Active Steering, the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe can make any driver a better driver. Using the Driving Dynamics Control function the driver can also optimize performance levels for highly skilled drivers by dialing in how much the vehicle electronics participate.
The 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe supports extra-efficient and economy-conscious driving styles by changing the accelerator mapping, automatic transmission control strategies and auxiliary system power consumption. Using the vehicles ECO Pro mode also helps the driver use a more economy-conscious driving style to further reduce fuel consumption.
In addition to a simple four-gauge no-nonsense instrument cluster, BMW provides information to the driver via a massive 10.2-inch high definition display screen that sits atop the center control stack like a big screen television is mounted to the wall in a living room. Using the console mounted iDrive the driver or front seat passenger can control multimedia functions, navigation, and connectivity as well as electronically tune vehicle performance functions. The iDrive experience, although more user friendly than previous versions, is still akin to learning a foreign language. We?d like to see a Rosetta Stone class in iDrive or at least an ?iDrive for Dummies? offered with each car.
The 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe is much more than just a pretty face that goes fast ? it is a precision tool constantly reminding the driver that he or she behind the wheel of the ?The Ultimate Driving Machine.?