The 6 Series Gran Turismo (GT) will be one of BMW’s lesser-spotted models that combines quirky looks with a hatchback design. AOL Cars tries it to see if it’s something you would actually choose over the more conventional BMW 7 Series.

What is it?

BMWs are quite a common sight now, with attractive finance deals and the lure of an upmarket badge attracting many to the brand. The 5 and 7 Series are no longer the rare(ish) cars that they once were, which begs the question, what practical BMW can you get if you want to stand out from the crowd?

Well, that’s where the 6 Series GT fits in. With levels of luxury and comfort rivalling that of the flagship 7 Series, but wrapped up in a unique-looking package.

What’s new?

Previously, the 6 Series GT was known as the 5 Series GT, but it has received a new name for 2017. While it may look extremely similar to the old model, we’re assured that it has a whole new body shape based on the BMW 7 Series and has been designed with long-distance cruising in mind. Its looks are extremely controversial – particularly at the rear, which does look a little bit like it has just been rear-ended. You do need to have a look close-up to see whether you could actually live with those looks. There are big tech improvements, though, including a smart upgrade to the iDrive multimedia system.

What’s under the bonnet?

There’s a good range of powerplants available, with both diesel and petrol engines on offer. The car we drove on the GT’s international launch was the 640i xDrive M Sport, which features a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit, producing 335bhp and 450Nm of torque. It was quick, getting from 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds, although the high running costs – 40.4mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 177g/km of CO2 – will turn many buyers to the diesel.

The 630d xDrive Gran Turismo is likely to be the biggest seller, and can hit 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. As for running costs, it returns 51.4mpg and emits 144g/km of CO2. Both engines come with eight-speed automatic gearboxes.

What’s it like to drive?

Unsurprisingly for a car that pride itself on its comfort, the ride is incredibly supple. In comfort mode it rides like a mattress, floating over bumps, although this does extend to corners where it also wallows and rolls like an SUV. Flick it into sport mode, though, and all is changed. The suspension lowers by 10mm, the steering quickens and it instantly feels more like a BMW should.

However, we were a bit disappointed by the engine in the 640 that we tested as it didn’t sound particularly impressive and the eight-speed automatic gearbox was slow in comfort mode. But where comfort is concerned, the 6 GT is hard to fault.

How does it look?

In a word, controversial. Few cars have the ability to divide opinion quite in the way that the Gran Turismo does. The GT series of body styles (there is a 3 Series GT, too) don’t appeal to everyone, but BMW knows that. It will just be hoping that this core group of buyers will open their wallets for this latest car.

What’s it like inside?

In the cabin, it’s impressively spacious and luxurious. In the rear, there’s loads of legroom and you sit higher up than you do in normal saloons. As you would expect from a BMW, the quality of the interior materials is impressive. You get a good contrast between wood and leather, but where the 6 Series GT really impresses is with its technology.

The smart key is one of its greatest features. The key has a digital display that can tell you the car’s fuel range, open and close the windows and can even help you park – yes, you can get out of the car and reverse it into a space using only its key. It works great and is surprisingly not as gimmicky as you would think.

The iDrive system has had a makeover, too, meaning you can use hand gestures now to complete basic functions, such as turning the volume up. The system seamlessly connects with your smartphone as well.

What’s the spec like?

Standard equipment on the 6 Series GT is impressive and includes LED headlights, a 10-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration.

Where you can really go mad, though, is with the vast range of options. The boxes that are worth ticking are the gesture controls, head-up display, soft-close doors and reclining rear seats. If you have money to burn, you can have massaging seats, rear-seat entertainment and that clever remote-control parking you can do with the smart key.

With the M Sport, you get 19-inch alloys, chrome exhausts and M trim throughout the car. This specification adds £3,600 to its £46,810 starting price.

Verdict

The 6 Series Gran Turimso makes a good alternative to an SUV if you like lots of space and comfort, and aren’t too concerned by the drive. However, its looks divide opinion so significantly that you need to consider whether you could actually live with looking at that rear end on a daily basis.

The Knowledge

Model: BMW 640i Gran Turismo xDrive M Sport

Base Price: £46,810

Price as tested: £57,570

Engine: 3.0-litre twin turbo petrol

Power: 335bhp

Torque: 450Nm

Max Speed: 155mph

0-60mph: 5.1 seconds

MPG: 40.4mpg

Emissions: 177g/km

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