There are many things in this world which are very much an acquired taste. These are things that we do not fancy when we first experience them, but often start to like them more when we get to know them better.
These are things such as raw oysters, the Smelly Tofu, Toddy, RWB-tuned Porsches, and of course, BMW Gran Turismo (GT) models.
The first ever GT model to come from Munich was the F07 5 Series GT which was unveiled in 2009. Built on the same platform as the F01 7 Series, BMW referred to the 5 GT as the 5-door fastback version of the F10 5 Series.
Designed to hit middle ground between the sedan and wagon versions of the 5-Series, the 5 GT was well received well in markets like China and the USA, which led BMW to introduce a smaller version, the 3 GT, four years later.
As well-built, well-equipped, and practical as the GT models were, they were just downright ugly and disproportionate. Dubbed by many as the ugliest BMW models ever, even our reaction when we first set eyes on the 5GT and the 3GT was “Err, what the hell is this?”
The body of a limousine, combined with the raised coupe-like roofline, unfortunately resulted in something that looks like a shoe with wheels, which explains why the model didn’t really get accepted well by many.
However, things finally took a turn for the better when BMW revealed the 5 GT's sleeker successor in 2017, the 6 Series Gran Turismo which we’re looking at right now.
- Engine: 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo, 4-cylinder, petrol
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Max Power: 258 hp from 5,000 to 6,000 rpm
- Max Torque: 400 Nm from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm
- Price: RM 430,800 without insurance
- Origin: Locally assembled in Kulim, Kedah
About a year after the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo made its global debut in Frankfurt, it was launched in Malaysia in the sole form of the locally assembled 630i M Sport, which is priced at RM 430,800 on the road without insurance.
Codenamed G32, the 6 Series GT sits between the G30 5 Series and the G11 7 Series in BMW’s portfolio in Malaysia, going against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS class, Audi A7 Sportback, Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, and the Volvo V90.
It's powered by a 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that delivers 258 hp and 400 Nm, channeled to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The century sprint is completed in just 6.3 seconds.
Like its predecessor, the 6 Series GT comes with an extensive list of standard features which includes:
- M Sport Aerodynamics Package
- Panoramic Glassroof
- Head-Up Display
- Sensatec leather dashboard
- Black Dakota leather upholstery
- Harman Kardon Surround Sound System
- Wireless phone charging
- BMW Display Key
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Change Warning
- Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation
- Crossing Traffic Warning
- Speed Limit Info
- Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
Designed by Hussein Al-Attar, the man who also designed the sexy M2 Coupe, the 6 Series GT, which shares the same CLAR platform as the 7 Series, is 5,091 mm long, 1,902 mm wide and 1,538 mm in height, making it 155 mm longer, 34 mm wider, and 59 mm taller than the G30 5 Series.
Despite the enormous size, it looks much sleeker and more pleasant to the eyes compared to its predecessor thanks to the lower roofline. Plus, the M Sport kit it comes in also makes it look sporty, and a tad more athletic than the G30 5 Series sedan.
Up front, the 630i GT features a pair of adaptive LED headlights that flank the signature BMW kidney grille.
As for the sides, the trademark Hofmeister kink is found on the end of each rear window, but the key highlight is the sweeping down roofline that merges into the tail section.
The rear end also features a spoiler that automatically deploys when the vehicle reaches 110 km/h. 20-inch double spoke 648 M alloy wheels complete the exterior of the 630i GT.
That being said, the 6 Series GT actually received a lot of positive feedback from the public during our stint. For once, a BMW GT model had people going “wow”, and “interesting”, unlike the predecessor which only got people cringing.
However, if we are to put it side by side with its rivals, it is still far from being one of the better looking ones.
Inside, the 6 Series GT is essentially a combination of the 5 Series’ front half and the rear half of a 7 Series, minus the bells and whistles you get in the latter.
The seats, dashboard, steering design, centre console, and infotainment system are all identical to what you get in the G30 5 Series. Plus, the 6 GT also comes with stylish frameless doors.
Once we got into the rear, we were overwhelmed with the amount of leg space available, thanks to the fact that the 6 GT’s wheelbase length is identical to the 7. Despite having a lower roofline, there was more than enough head space.
The seats are also mounted slightly higher off the floor compared to the 5, which translated into easy ingress and egress, and a slightly more upright and comfortable seating position.
The infotainment department was taken care by the iDrive 6.0 system which comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Navigation system Professional, enhanced voice control, gesture control, and the party piece, a 600W 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system.
What we love the most about the interior is how it comes to life at night. The wide central display, fully digital instrument panel, the two-part panoramic roof, and the ambient lighting just turn the cabin into an absolute feast to the eyes.
On top of all of the above, there is a huge 610-litre boot which can accommodate three large luggage or golf bags easily. But that’s not all. Once the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats go down, there is a massive 1,800-litres of luggage space at your service.
Overall, the 6 Series GT’s interior is a mighty fine place to be in. Not only is it so well built, but it also feels quite luxurious. In addition, there is also an unparalleled level of practicality and convenience.
The 6 GT drives like how you would expect a BMW to drive. There is constant availability of power, composure, and refinement, and the steering is also weighted nicely.
Thanks to the adaptive air suspension and Dynamic Damper Control system, bumps and lumps were all absorbed impressively, translating into a super comfortable, refined, and isolated journey. Where the 6 GT really felt at home was on the open roads.
Due to its size, which is about the same as a Panamera, manoeuvring it through tight spots, parking it in shopping malls, and driving in narrow roads in housing areas can be a little tricky, but all the sensors and driver assist features are there to keep things in check.
Can it be driven ambitiously through twisty roads? Yes, but after a certain point, there is noticeable body roll, and the weight of the car becomes more apparent during braking.
So, the moral of the story is that the 6 GT, like its name suggests, is actually a Grand Tourer which makes travelling long distances an absolute pleasure. If regular canyon carving is your type of thing, please look elsewhere.
Like every other car out there, the BMW 6 Series GT has its pluses and minuses. On the upside, it is basically a 5 Series with the spaciousness of a 7 Series, and the practicality of an X5.
Plus, it is an excellent vehicle to be in. Not only is it nice to drive and to travel in, but there is no shortage in terms features either but why is it that we don’t see any on the road?
Well, from what we can see, there are two issues with this car. First, we have the looks of the car.
Yes, it is sleeker and better looking than the 5 Series GT which it replaces but it still takes time to get used to. When seen from certain angles, it still looks a little funny.
And then, we have the price tag of RM 430,800. If practicality is what you’re looking for, you’re better off with an X5 xDrive40e M Sport which is RM 40,000 cheaper.
If you love the mechanical capabilities and the features of the car, you have the option of going for the 5 Series which is about RM 60,000 cheaper.
So, looks like the only ones who would choose the 6 GT over everything else in the BMW portfolio in Malaysia are those who prioritise the spaciousness of the rear seats above all else.
But price and looks aside, it is a car which makes a lot of sense for those who often travel with their families or friends, and carry a lot of stuff.
In a nutshell, the 6 Series GT is like a nice family oriented man with a lot of positive characteristics, but just lacks in the looks department. You just have to take him out, spend some time with him, hear what he has to say, and it is highly likely that he will impress you once you see beyond his physical appearance.