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2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe - First Drive

Four doors on the 6 Series creates the perfect ten.

Greg Emmerson
Sep 5, 2012 SHARE
Epcp 1210 01+2012 bmw 640i gran coupe+cover Photo 1/3   |   2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe - First Drive

It’s always wrong to approach a car with preconceptions, especially a BMW because, no matter how funky they may look, the genius engineers make it all better. Yet we couldn’t wrap our heads around the need for a four-door 6 Series with a 640i badge despite having a 3.0L turbo engine. Could adding 4.5" to the 6 Series Coupe create anything remarkable?

After dining on a soup of my own words and hat, I’m here to tell you I was wrong, BMW was right, and the four-door Gran Coupe is an utter triumph.

It didn’t hurt that we drove a car upgraded by BMW Individual, resplendent in matte brown paint that sounds revolting but looks ravishing. Aside from avoiding synthetic chamois (they buff it shiny!), BMW assures us its $3500, seven-coat textured matte paints require no special treatment thanks to five years of development.

The matte reflections somehow captured the light, causing it to linger on those deeply sculpted flanks, the contoured hood drawing our eye to the wide grilles and the chrome blades in the front spoiler.

The exterior is full of delightful details like two faint creases in the roof above the rear screen, or the Gran Coupe insignia behind the side glass, the full-width brake light and the full LED headlights.

Epcp 1210 02+2012 bmw 640i gran coupe+interior Photo 2/3   |   2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe - First Drive

Yet it was the $5000 BMW Individual interior that persuaded us to elope. Again, the white and brown leather combination shouldn’t work but felt incredibly opulent. Each surface has contrast stitching in the opposite color, then there was a brown alcantara headliner, black ceramic knobs and shifter, lacquered white wood on the dash, console and inset into the steering wheel with a dusty grain, plus grey aluminum B&O speaker grilles, black plastic switches and vent panels, a wooden heater panel and hints of brushed aluminum. It’s a crazy mixture but it works splendidly.

The exquisite grilles are part of the $3700 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen option that includes a motorized center speaker following 300 hours of development and fine-tuning to create a rich, clean sound you don’t expect in a car. Yet it’s just one more piece in the Gran Coupe puzzle that completes the picture of a luxurious four-door coupe that could do serious damage to the Mercedes CLS it’s aimed at.

With the 445hp 650i V8 coming later this year, we had to make do with the 315hp N55HP 3.0L turbo six in the 640i, but this was no punishment. Priced almost $10k less than the upcoming V8, it suited the 6GC perfectly and was surprisingly rapid, reaching 60mph in 5.4sec from a standstill.

Connected to a creamy eight-speed auto, the engine was super-smooth, even at high RPM, allowing us to reach triple-digit speeds on single-lane roads that should have fuddled the suspension. And yet active steering, Active Roll Stabilization and Dynamic Damper Control kept the body flat and controlled. In fact, it required significant surface imperfections to upset the 6GC’s composure, and even then it communicated the problems and resolved them itself.

The Gran Coupe has BMW’s suite of performance engineering, plus the option of a $4200 M Sport package with 19" wheels (another $1300 for 20s), making it the best choice of sports coupe for entertaining journeys. It seats four (plus one on a raised, temporary center seat) in supreme comfort, isolating them from the world outside. It’s a place we’d happily spend a great deal of time.

Epcp 1210 03+2012 bmw 640i gran coupe+rear view Photo 3/3   |   2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe - First Drive

2012 BMW 640i Gran Coupe

Layout
longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine
3.0-liter six-cylinder 24v N55HP TwinPower Turbo, Valvetronic variable valve control, direct injection
Transmission
eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic
Suspension
double wishbone f, multi-link r, Dynamic Damper Control
Brakes
single-piston floating calipers, 13.7" rotors (f), 13.6" (r)
Wheels & Tires
18x8", 245/44 R18 or optional 20x8.5", 245/35 R20 (f), 20x9", 275/30 R20
MSRP: from $76895

Performance

Peak Power: 315hp @ 5800-6000rpm
Peak Torque: 330 lb-ft @ 1400-4500rpm
0-60 mph: 5.4sec
Top Speed: 130mph
Curb Weight: 4190 lb
Economy: 20/30/24mpg city/highway/combined (estimated)

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By Greg Emmerson
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