In the growing luxury car market in India, the mid-size luxury sedan space offers multiple options for buyers. With the recent launch of the Mercedes E-Class LWB, a game changer model in the country, its German archrival BMW started feeling the heat.
But soon the Bavaria-based automaker introduced the BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo (GT for short) to take on competition and provide a good product for the competitive Indian luxury car market.
I took a long test drive to check it out.
The new BMW 6-Series GT sits above the BMW 5-Series. But because it is locally assembled at BMW factory in Chennai, it is not more expensive. Thus, with a price tag of Rs 58.90 lakh, it is about Rs 7 lakh more than the equivalent 5-Series. But you get more spec to compensate for it.
While the BMW 6-Series GT fits the range, it is not a conventional sedan, but it is a liftback or a Gran Turismo. Globally, it has replaced the old BMW 5-Series GT that was also sold in India.
But interestingly, the new BMW 6 is sleek Gran Turismo yet from the popular brand and it is closer to a sedan in shape as well.
Undoubtedly, it is a big car, but the roof flows gracefully into the raised rear, the bulk of which is cut down by long, slim tail-lamps that wrap around the sides with a tremendous-looking 3D effect.
But the front view is not quite as dramatic. It is rather sports an ordinary-looking BMW face which is much too similar to the BMW 5-Series. The other thing to note is that the BMW 6 GT has been launched in only its base Sport Line trim, and that means it does not get the aggressive body kit of the M Sport, nor the chrome embellishments of the Luxury Line trim, and that makes it look a little ordinary.
The wheels, too, look a bit plain, and a size too small for a car of this size although they are 18-inchers but the good news here is that you can choose different sizes and styles from the options catalogue.
Overall, the BMW 6-Series GT is a handsome-looking car with a lot of appeal.
Inside the car, things are typical BMW. Although the cabin design reminds you of the BMW 5-Series, the BMW 6-Series GT gets more plusher tan leather upholstery. It also gets dark wood brushed aluminium inserts on the dashboard and justifying the premium price tag are a couple of features that are exclusive to the back seat like entertainment screens, reclining seat by about 9-degrees and electric window blinds.
In terms of features, there is a 10.25-inch iDrive touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay connectivity and gesture controls, fully digital instrument console, panoramic sunroof, 4-zone climate control, BMW Display Key, driver's seat memory function and adaptive air suspension.
Undoubtedly, the unique selling proposition of the BMW 6-Series GT is the amount of space it offers in the rear seat and huge legroom, all thanks to the 3070 mm wheelbase (which is about 95 mm longer than the 5-Series' wheelbase).
The front seats offer good support but come with limited adjustability. The rear seat too is comfortable and considering the sloping roofline, headroom is adequate and there is decent under-thigh support as well. The headrests get soft pillows so that you snooze faster.
While the rear sloping windscreen has limited visibility, the 610-litres boot space, on paper, is large enough but the space saver tyre eats into a considerable amount of that space. Nonetheless, the rear seat comfort is not as plush as in the Mercedes E-Class but it is a great improvement over the BMW 5-Series.
The BMW 6-Series GT was initially launched only with a petrol engine but at present the brand also offers a diesel variant.
I drove the petrol variant which draws power from a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged motor producing 258 HP of power and 400 Nm of torque.
Undoubtedly, this powertrain is refined and butter smooth at all times. It sprints from 0-100 km/hr in just 6.8 seconds and the top speed is 230 km/hr.
The powertrain feels superbly responsive lower down and accelerates with a lot of eagerness. Turbo lag is well-contained and this engine screams at higher revs as it likes to be revved hard.
This model also offers multiple driving modes such as Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Adaptive modes.
After getting into the Sport mode, the response from the engine and transmission becomes more eager. A special trait that BMW engineers have infused in this 2.0-litre motor is that only in the Sport mode, the driver will get the feeling of driving a BMW.
The Eco Pro is the miserly mode that dulls down the engine's enthusiasm in favour of optimum fuel economy, while the Sport mode tightens up the chassis, makes the steering feel more direct and sharpens the drivetrain response. Around twisty roads t, this car still manages to put a smile on an enthusiast's face despite its comfort-oriented dynamics.
There is an 8-speed automatic gearbox taking care of the transmission duties and it is a very smooth-shifting unit. You can manually take control of things as well via the steering-mounted paddle shifts and whether you want an upshift or a downshift, any due moment, the gearbox responds perfectly all the time.
The BMW 6-Series GT comes with air suspension that makes the ride quality brilliant and adding to this are the 18-inch wheels with 245-section rubber. Suspension is setup slightly on the softer side when compared to the BMW 5-Series and only on very sharp bumps or potholes does one actually feel movement inside the cabin.
While the drive quality is as good as in the Mercedes E-Class, braking performance is supreme as the vehicle stops then and there in its stride.
Safety net on the BMW 6-Series GT is loaded with a host of safety features. It is equipped with 8-airbags, ABS with brake assist and dynamic braking lights, cornering brake control, dynamic stability control with dynamic traction control, ISOFIX child seat mounts, electric parking brake with auto hold function and runflat tyres with reinforced side walls.
Should I buy one?
Undoubtedly, Mercedes-Benz pulled out a surprise when it launched the long wheelbase version of the Mercedes E-Class in India. And BMW responded with the BMW 6-Series GT, which priced at Rs 58.9 lakh, compares favorably with the E-Class, to take on it and challenge the segment leader.
Overall, the BMW 6-Series GT delivers on most fronts offering more luxury, space and comfort. Above all, it is more practical with fun-to-drive quotient. The car is well-engineered with lots of high tech features. It is also offered with a choice of two punchy engines, making it a strong product in this price range. If you value space, comfort, and practicality and enjoy the occasional drive without a chauffeur, the BMW 6-Series GT could be your car.