It’s easy to dismiss the 640i in favour of the 640d, but the petrol model is £2,515 cheaper, almost as fast and packed with character. While it can’t match the 640d’s 50.4mpg economy, that’s not so important if you don’t do many miles every year. Either way, this latest BMW sets a new dynamic benchmark for luxury four-door coupes.
In July, the 650i arrives, fitted with a storming 444bhp 4.4-litre turbocharged V8, yet the most popular petrol car will be the six-cylinder 640i driven here.
It’s powered by the same direct-injection turbocharged 3.0-litre engine as the 6 Series Coupe and Convertible, and it works just as well.
Although the Gran Coupe weighs roughly 70kg more than the Coupe, throttle response is still razor sharp, with no sign of turbo lag, while the sweet-sounding exhaust note transforms from a burble to a howl if you let the engine rev.
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The 450Nm torque output is no match for the 640d’s 630Nm, but even so, the versatile eight-speed auto box is quite happy trickling around in a high gear in auto mode, or can swap cogs in a blink when you floor the throttle.
The torque deficit means the diesel feels quicker through the gears, but 0-62mph times are identical, and the petrol car feels more exciting at full tilt.
The problem with the 6 Series Coupe is it never feels as dynamic as its name might suggest. Yet considering that our Gran Coupe has space for five (at a squeeze), a 1,265-litre boot with the rear seats folded and is more than five metres long, its body control and dynamics are deeply impressive.
There are five driving modes to choose from – ECO PRO, Comfort, Comfort+, Sport and Sport+ – each delivering progressively more aggressive responses from the gearbox, steering, throttle and stability system.
The electromechanical steering feels sharp, but not too light. The ride is supple, even with the dampers on the firmest of five settings, and body roll is kept in tight check. Apart from light wind noise around the wing mirrors, refinement at high speed is superb. There’s even fun to be had with the traction control switched off.
So the Gran Coupe is all a BMW should be: fast, fun to drive and luxurious – but at £61,390, the 640i is £10,890 more expensive than the 302bhp Mercedes CLS
350 and £13,300 more than the 296bhp Audi A7
Admittedly, the Gran Coupe is better appointed and feels marginally more luxurious than both, but the price difference is still a tough pill to swallow.
Our car had every possible handling aid, too, including active roll bars and £1,220 Integral Active Steering (which steers the rear wheels as well as the fronts for crisper responses). So if you want to get the most from your Gran Coupe, you’ll need to shell out a good deal more than the basic list price.