ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: This is my first go-around with a BMW 6-series Gran Coupe of any kind. I must say it looks pretty darn good, from the rear three-quarter view in particular. The interior is nicely done, featuring lots of leather-covered surfaces with accent stitching everywhere, and comfortable and supportive seats. There’s also decent room in the back for passengers, with door openings that aren’t too difficult to fit through with the sloping rear roofline.
BMW’s lovely 3.0-liter turbo inline six-cylinder powers the 640i, which feels sluggish when the car is in comfort mode with the transmission short shifting up. I preferred the car’s behavior in sport mode, when there was more pep from the engine and the transmission held onto gears longer.
I didn’t get to throw the car around much on the snow-caked roads that we’ve been dealing with during this extremely long Michigan winter, but I was glad that our test car was an xDrive model. Even with the all-season Goodyear Eagle LS2 runflat tires, I didn’t have a problem blowing through unplowed parking lots and maneuvering on slick surfaces. However, if I was looking at putting a 640i in my garage, I would just get a rear-wheel drive model that weighs 175 pounds less and has a base price that undercuts an xDrive model by $3,000. With rear-wheel drive, I would have more fun in spring, summer and fall and then I would get a set of winter tires for when the snow flies.
I can say from my overnight stay that the car behaves like a typical BMW when driving normally. In sport mode, steering feels crisp and is well weighted. The ride is firmer over frost heaves, no doubt in part because of the runflat tires that we have quite a history with around here. Our long-term 550i xDrive sedan from a few years back chewed through these Goodyear tires like it was going out of style. We had blowouts and numerous sidewall failures. I think we ended up purchasing seven or eight of those tires from the Tire Rack over the course of our year with the car. So every time I hit a bump or pothole with this 640i xDrive, I cringed. I do want to get some time with a 6-series Gran Coupe in warmer weather, though.
Is this 2014 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Coupe competitive with the other luxury four-door vehicles with coupe-like rooflines? If we are considering price, then not so much. The base price of this Bimmer stacks up closest to the Audi S7, which starts at $81,095. The S7 is all-wheel drive, has a sporty drive character, but packs 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque from its force-induced V8. It takes the 650i xDrive Gran Coupe with its 4.4-liter turbo V8 and 445 hp to stack up closer to the S7. The catch there is the all-wheel drive 650i begins at $94,775. So the BMW is hardly the value player in this space.
It sure looks good, though.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: If I remember right, this is the first time I have ever driven one of these. This 6-series Gran Coupe occupies a niche segment much like the Mercedes-Benz CLS. Mercedes will probably sell about 5,400 CLS-classes this year, while BMW will move 6,000 6-series, I’m guessing. BMW cleverly doesn’t break out Gran Coupe sales from the standard 6-series two-door coupe, so I can’t predict how many Gran Coupes find homes this year.
I like the car’s looks just as I like the CLS. Yes, a bit of interior roominess is sacrificed, but it’s a damn good-looking car. Speaking of the interior it, too, is good looking, well built and comfortable. This might be the best BMW interior I’ve been in lately.
There are numerous choices for adjusting suspension, throttle response, steering weight, and the like, including sport, sport+, comfort, etc. Comfort or eco mode makes it a nice around-town cruiser, though like many BMWs it suffers from harshness issues over road imperfections. Granted, this is the time of year where the roads around here completely stink, but still, potholes are to be avoided if possible. I blame the runflats. Don’t know if I’m right, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
In sport or sport+, the car gets significantly more fun. It’s quick off the line and the all-wheel drive means it hooks up nicely. The harder you push it and the faster you go, the better it responds, like a good BMW should. There are modes for driving long distances while still being comfortable, and there are modes for playing race car driver. So it’s got something for everyone.
With all that said, I’d take an Audi S7 equipped like our long-termer is. Its as-tested price is $1,000 less than this 640i xDrive Gran Coupe’s, has a much better ride and is more practical.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR RORY CARROLL: I’m assuming this 6-series Gran Coupe is meant to be a better looking/more stylish version of the 5-series. I don’t really find that to be the case, but styling preferences are just preferences, and some people really seem to like the way this low-roofed, four-door 6-series looks. I’ll give them that — it’s certainly not as unattractive as other recent offerings from BMW. The brown interior was a nice surprise; it’s more visually interesting than what you’ll find in less-expensive BMWs.
This 640i xDrive Gran Coupe is surprisingly noisy over broken pavement; in fact, I’m having some difficulty thinking of something I’ve recently driven that I can to compare it to. The loveable 3.0-liter straight-six even felt strangled in this car.
For $90K, I’d much rather take our long-term S7, like Raynal said, and another option or two. I can’t think of a single way in which this BMW is better than the Audi.
2014 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Coupe
Base Price: $81,025
As-Tested Price: $89,675
Drivetrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged I6; AWD, eight-speed automatic
Output: 315 hp @ 5,800-6,000 rpm, 330 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,365 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 20/29/23 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 15.7 mpg
Options: M Sport package including 19-inch alloy double-spoke wheel, LED fog lights, M steering wheel, aerodynamic kit, shadowline exterior trim ($4,400); Adaptive Drive w/ ARS ($2,500); multi-contour seats ($1,300); cold weather package including heated steering wheel, heated rear seats ($450)