The 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé is one smooth style-monger. We hit the roads of Santa Barbara to review the V8-powered 445-hp coupe.

CONS:

  • A pricey entry in its class

BMW-6-Series-Gran-Coupe-logoSanta Barbara, CA — In terms of sheer functionality and desirability, few carmakers can hold a candle to BMW. Their 3 Series has been the leading sport compact car platform since dinosaurs roamed the Earth (or so it seems).

In driving the latest 5 Series sedan not so long ago, it struck me that it’s the only car in the world anyone could ever possibly need. Plus, the fastest version of said car, the M5, is also arguably the best car in the world—it’s perfect for setting quick lap times at the track and hurriedly dropping off the kids at school.

Of course, not every BMW is as successful as the 3 and 5 Series, but they have had more hits than  misses. Now, they have another model to add to the hit list—the 6 Series Gran Coupé. Based on the latest-generation 6 Series Coupe, which was released in 2011, the Gran Coupé bears a definite mechanical resemblance, but brings even more style and versatility to the table.

There’s one version of the Gran Coupé available for our shores, the confusingly named 650i xDrive. The latter portion of the nomenclature refers to the BMW all-wheel drive system, while the former has no conceivable bearing on much of anything, given that the car is powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. (In the past, the BMW numbering system related directly to engine size.)

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé Review BMW-6-Series-Gran-Coupe-grill

Under the hood

This engine has become a familiar and respected part of the modern-day BMW fleet and for good reason: In this application, the V8 generates a very healthy 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. Under normal circumstances, these numbers would translate into a very fast car. But the Gran Coupé is more about smooth, effortless performance than outright speed.

On the road: driving impressions

Part of the reason for this seemingly calm demeanour is the car’s size. This BMW is a very weighty car that was clearly designed for blasts along the closest unlimited-speed highway rather than carving up the canyon roads of Southern California. (Driving impressions were based on the 640i, a less powerful rear-wheel drive car that also weighs significantly less than the 650i xDrive; all other aspects of the two models are more similar.)

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé ReviewThis doesn’t mean to say that the Gran Coupé doesn’t offer the traditional BMW qualities, such as precise steering, superior balance and a very involving experience behind the wheel. The car also features a very slick 8-speed automatic transmission and a start/stop system, both of which serve to help drive fuel efficiency.

Design

This BMW is a very weighty car that was clearly designed for blasts along the closest unlimited-speed highway rather than carving up the canyon roads of Southern California.

But other aspects of the car have stolen the show—in particular, the exterior and interior design. In a word, both are fantastic. The shape of the car echoes the modern “four-door coupe” movement that began back in 2004 with the original Mercedes-Benz CLS. Since that time, there have been a number of entries in this sub-segment, including the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera and one that hits much closer to home, the ill-advised BMW 5 Series GT.

This BMW is a very weighty car that was clearly designed for blasts along the closest unlimited-speed highway rather than carving up the canyon roads of Southern California.

Nearly everything that was wrong with the 5 GT from an aesthetic standpoint has been remedied in the 6 Gran Coupé; ungainly has yielded to glamorous in the biggest possible way. (If I was a gambling man—and sometimes I am—I would wager that the BMW 5 GT, introduced just four years ago, will either be dropped from the line-up or completely overhauled very soon.)

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé Review 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé Review 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé Review 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé Review

Cabin and Interior Impressions

The theme continues on the inside, where the Gran Coupé is, to these eyes, the most luxurious and comfortable BMW ever built. The test version featured a stunning two-tone colour scheme, supremely supportive seats and a relaxed vibe that should in no way be taken to mean “boring”.

For many drivers, especially those with the means, BMW is the obvious choice for obvious reasons. In the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé, the manufacturer has something even more compelling on their hands—a car with all the proper mechanical underpinnings wrapped in a slightly unconventional and decidedly compelling shape.

Also check out: 2012 BMW 650i xDrive Review: A Coupe for All Seasons

The sole hitch may be the car’s price, which starts at $99,800. While this is a premium 4-door coupe from a premium manufacturer, it’s also significantly more expensive than a few of its key rivals. So: a winner then, but not an outright winner.

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé Gallery:

Mark Hacking is an award-winning car, motorcycle and motorsports journalist whose work has appeared in Azure, enRoute, Intersection, NUVO and Toro, among many others. He is the former editor of Performance Racing News, the former managing editor of DRIVEN, and a member of both the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and the Motor Press Guild of California. An avid racer, Mark is a three-time podium finisher at Targa Newfoundland and, this past season, raced in the VLN Series at the Nürburgring with the factory Aston Martin team. His motto in life: Drive fast, take chances.

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