Of late we have been reviewing quite a few premium machines here at Motoroids. More than two hundred horses, 500Nm of torque, 250 km/h of restricted speed, lightening quick auto transmissions, dashboards with hi-res screens and cabins packed tight with gizmos – it was all beginning to appear rather commonplace. Too much of everything is bad, and we were getting rather bored with what would make some people’s eyes sparkle with excitement. With so much technological indemnity, such surefootedness, an abundance of luxury having titillated us frequently, we needed something which raised the bar, offered even more power, more excitement, a bit more scare, even.
And then we laid our hands on the BMW 640d Gran Coupe – the first ever four-door coupe in the history of the carmaker whose acronym unfolds to ‘Brings Me Women’ for most testosterone heavy males across the world. An exhilarating fusion of earth shattering performance, extraordinary design and cutting edge tech, the 640 Gran Coupe emphatically reminded us why we love automobiles so much. While parallels are drawn with the Merc CLS and the Audi A7 as regards concept, BMW prefers considering the Gran Coupe a fitting competitor for the Porsche Panamera and the Aston Martin Rapide. A few hundred kilomteres with the car, and we knew why BMW has a reason to think that way. Hang on to the handles, as we share with you our invigorating experience with this unique driving machine.
Design and visuals
Long, low and extremely sharp – the 640 Gran Coupe, visually, is like a blade, potent enough to slice whatever comes its way in two. Inspired by the idea of a sharp object cutting through water, and the resultant lines and forms, the Gran Coupe is an embodiment of forward motion, even while being at a standstill. The long bonnet, the low roofline, the extended wheelbase – that blade like form lends the 640d a sense of dynamism rarely witnessed in the relatively tall modern cars.
The long bonnet has two power exuding chiseled curves tapering towards the nose. The Swept back headlamps have intricate detailing and some of the most tastefully put together LED clusters. The bumper houses the iconic kidney grille in the upper section, and has two side air intakes defined by chrome inserts. Sitting right above the intakes are rows of extremely powerful, and equally beautiful LED fog lamps.
The 640d Gran Coupe looks best in profile, where the protracted bumper, along with the low roofline and a balanced posterior lends this Bimmer a silhouette which is an embodiment of the idea of rapid forward motion. Massive 19 inch wheels add more muscle and are complemented by the strong beltline running through the handles. The front fender ends in a dramatic surface which extends all the way across the lower portion of the doors adding some more rippling muscles to the 640d’s profile. A chrome lining around the greenhouse balances the equation by adding loads of elegance and class.
The Sporty character carries over to the rear end with a boot which looks rather stubby as compared with the rest of the car – a virtue, for it adds to the resolute forward motion exuded by the car. From behind, you get to see the most exquisitely designed tail-lamps which look even more beautiful when lit. There’s a characteristic stop lamp spanning the width of the rear windshield. Together, the three lamps look beautiful and define the character of the 640d at the rear end.
The 640d is one of the most intricately detailed piece of metal on our roads today. Incomparably more beautiful to look at in the flesh than in pictures, the Gran Coupe is a sublime fusion of aggression and elegance. It has a very strong character, and in our honest opinion, has the authenticity to inspire many a designer in the future.
Engine and transmission
At the heart of the 640d is a maddeningly exhilarating, 3.0 liter straight-six twin turbo power plant dishing out 313bhp of raw diesel power, complemented by 630Nm of torque capable of moving mountains. While the peak power is attained at 4400 rpm, that tsunami of torque is available from as low as 1500 rpm and upto 2500 rpm. For those of you who don’t understand what it means, the 640d can out accelerate any regulation car from 20km/h in fifth gear, even if the competitor is allowed to shift up from first gear. With so much power and torque produced within such a useable band, it doesn’t matter which gear or what revs you’re in, the 640d just lunges forward with an intent to pierce through the horizon.
Mated to that diesel power house is an eight-speed automatic transmission. Silken smooth and flashing fast – the transmission works beautifully well with the engine. You can manually shift gears using the drive selector on the central floating panel, or via the steering mounted pedals. If you actually do that on the road, though, you’re a big show off, because for all practical purposes, using just the drive mode would be enough for you to have (much) more than sufficient power for any situation. If that amazes you, here’s the clincher – the car has an ARAI fuel efficiency rating of 18.8kmpl. And you may officially start scratching your heads now.
You can choose from four drive modes – Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, all of which have various mappings for transmission behavior, steering stiffness, suspension stiffness and throttle response.
Performance, ride and handling
The 640d is a special car as regards performance. BMW claim a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.4 seconds for this machine. In practice, it means a churning sensation in your stomach, an increase in blood pressure and outbreak of grin inducing chemicals in your brain. The 640 Gran Coupe has the uncanny ability to turn your peripheral vision into motion blur in a flash. In Sport mode, just feathering the throttle serves up so much power on the platter that you tend to get somewhat intimidated. Double ton shows up on the speedo in a blaze. Regulation cars, no matter what speed they’re doing seem to be at a standstill. You want to feel like the master of the universe – hop in the Gran Coupe and get driving on Indian roads.
We recommend you keep the head-up display on, for the Gran Coupe doesn’t seem one bit perturbed at some really high speeds. Chances are, you’ll keep pushing the pedal not realizing you’re about to go supersonic – specs in the distance magically translate into smoke spewing Tata trucks in the blink of an eye and sooner than you realize, you’ll have a halo above your head. Extremely in control in a straight line, the Gran Coupe has the capability of making a mockery of the times you generally take travelling interstate.
BMW have been making some of the best engines in the automotive world for ages now, and this one is no different. As the rev needle swings past 4000 rpm, the subdued burble of the engine sounds like divine symphony emanating from a distance. Shouldering the responsibility of being a cross between a limo and a coupe, the Gran Coupe cannot take the liberty of being an all out sports car, and that’s exactly what the engine sound denotes – exciting, but without mimicking an all-out sports car.
Unlike some other new Beemers, the 640d still doesn’t have a fully electric power steering. The electromechanical unit feels thoroughly feelsome and offers great communication with the road-surface, more so in Sport mode. It feels quite heavy and lends an incredible amount of assuredness to car at high speeds. BMW’s Servotronic steering tech, which controls the amount of steering assistance to suit the speed of the vehicle, works its magic across the speed range.
The power is sent to the rear wheels, and even with the wide rubber providing shiploads of traction, it ‘s rather easy to see this baby’s tail coming out in the Sport+ mode, which sends the electronic babysitter (DSC) on a holiday. Even so, the 640d is incredibly well balanced and offers total control as you playfully make her move sideways. Steering feels neutral and as long as you know what you’re doing the beautiful tail just wags as you want it to.
With the ESP on, in Sport mode, the 6 series digs its fangs in the tar and offers a drive feel which is incredibly reassuring and quite unmatched in the segment. Even with its extensive length, substantial weight, and a torrent of torque, the 640d handles nimbly and feels much lighter than its weight.
Riding on massive 19inch wheels and shod with ultra wide and ultra thin 275 / 35 rubber (pun unintended) at the rear and a relatively moderate 245/40 tyres up front, the 640 Gran Coupe offers a rather stiff ride. While those ultra thin tyres go a long way in keeping this four door coupe glued in to the tar, a significant loss in primary suspension compromises comfort. This is further complemented by a low ground clearance of 126mm which made us take utmost care on every speed breaker to avoid scraping the belly of this beauty. In effect, the ride quality is significantly stiff as compared to, say, a 5-series, and the theory applies even in the Comfort mode. Personally, we would trade our clothes on our body for handling ability, and loved the no-compromise attitude exuded by the newest Beemer on the block. However, taking into consideration the road conditions in our country some may not appreciate the low clearance and stiff ride so much.
BMW have put their Dynamic Damper Control wizardry at work to help matters a bit. The technology features a control unit on each wheel which evaluates movements four hundred times a second and adjusts the shock absorbers for optimum comfort in any driving mode. The system works exceptionally fast – so if the front wheels come across a rough surface, the data is relayed to the rear wheels for optimum cushioning.
Unfortunately our politicos have messed our roads to such an extent that even such wizardry doesn’t quite work. The ground clearance of the Gran Coupe is an issue, and the only remedy is to be extremely cautious.
Cabin quality, comfort and features
The dashboard, center console and instrument panel for the 640d Gran Coupe has been lifted from its 640d Coupe cousin – and what a cool thing it is to do. Just like the 6 series coupe, the Gran Coupe too features a modern, tech laden, hi-quality and distinctive interior. Draped in high quality leather, the dashboard and the rest of the upholstery looks and feels exceptional. BMW Individual program lets you pick from a range of trim levels, colors and features to make your Gran Coupe look exactly the way you want it to.
Our test car came draped in an interesting white and brownish red two-tone Nappa leather combo. The exclusive leather was part of Luxury Package which further improved the comfort inside the cabin with more comfortable special seats with ventilation and heating and special materials. The tough to fault BMW interior, which has been perfected so much that it’s difficult to alter in terms of ergonomics for the company was beginning to get boring of late. New materials and colors in the cabin add a dash of excitement and novelty. Ceramic dials and buttons for the ConnectedDrive interface and center console add another premium touch. The driver biased center console comprises of a high-resolution screen which displays various functions for complete vehicle control, phone connectivity, infotainment and navigation.
The 640d comes laden with fancy features and functions. Leading the charge is the optional Infra Red Night Vision system which improves visibility significantly in dark conditions. Then there are four cameras which present a 360 degree picture of the car’s surroundings while reversing. The optional Bang & Olufsen music system simply delivers the best audio quality you would ever hear on four wheels and the 12GB on-board hard drive has enough space to store MP3 files for a world tour.
The 640d also comes equipped with auto braking function for Cruise Control. The system with its advanced radar constantly monitors your car’s distance from the car ahead, and brakes automatically if you get too close. The system uses time as a unit to measure the proximity. Once the vehicle ahead pulls away, the system makes the car accelerate automatically to reach the set cruising speed. Functional between 30km/h and 180 km/h the system uses data from Dynamic Stability Control and Sat Nav to adjust the speed if need be.
Energy recuperation, stop / start function, active comfort seats (ventilation and adjustment), 6 DVD changer, Park Distance Control, LED adaptive auto headlights, rain sensors, four zone auto air conditioning, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, electric glass roof – the list of toys on the Gran Coupe is almost never ending.
The front seats are supremely comfortable. The Luxury pack brings additional comfort to the front passengers with ventilation, and thigh support adjustment in addition to every other traditional seat adjustment function. The seats can be adjusted for seat height, seat angle, back-rest angle, seating depth. In addition lumbar-support based on a system of air chambers can be adjusted for height and depth for maximum comfort.
Head room is a bit of an issue though, and tall passengers may end up rubbing their scalps against the expensive leather on the roof. At the back, the seats are well recessed and with ample thigh and lateral support for comfort. The leg space though sufficient for an average sized male cannot be called liberal.
Apart from the long list of standard equipment, there are additional extras which can be bought for a price. A detailed list of most features, along with pictures follows in this section.
USB and aux-in connectors under the front central arm-rest
Brake lights running across the width above the rear windshield lend the Gran Coupe its design distinction at the rear
Spoiler integrated in the bootlid
Rear view camera is under the BMW logo on the boot. The logo flips open as you put the car in reverse gear to let the camera come out. Very James Bond-ish
Under thigh support can be extended electrically. The feature is available under the Luxury pack
Bang & Olufsen audio system is unparalleled as regards quality of sound. Yours for Rs 6 lakh extra. Check out the buttons for the electrically operated side and rear window blinds
Rear passengers can push these buttons to move the front passengers’ seats fore and aft for better legroom. Driver seat cannot be moved from the rear once the car is set in motion. Smart!
Electric Sunroof may be a great feature for some cars. Here, it’s just another toy in the list
The central unit of the Bang & Olufsen audio system rises out of the dash in a dramatic fashion when the system is turned on. Fancy!
EfficientDynamics energy recuperation system charges the battery when you brake or coast
Ignition button on top with the Start / Stop system for fuel savings while idling at signals
Various functions and settings for the vehicle
The night vision camera caught Yatharth murdering someone in the dark!
There are two cameras – one on each of the front fenders.
The four cameras around the car provide a 360 degree view of the surroundings while reversing.
Check out the leather clad steering with a white lining. Super cool!
Cigarette lighter and ashtray is neatly hidden under the leather clad lids
Eletronic parking brake, camera on toggle for front fender units, Park Assist Toggle and the Hold Function.
Another compartment for bigger articles
Ceramic knobs add further exclusivity to the cabin. We loved the detail
Those air vents are made of forged aluminium – the same stuff your Macbook Air is carved out of. Adds tremendously to the cool factor of the cabin. Even the Bang & Olufsen speakers have the same finish. Another detail to die for
Check out those rimless door windows – they make the car look so much more appealing with the doors open. Beautiful!
The army of cameras around the Gran Coupe. BMW is watching!
Stylish and powerful LED foglamps
Door locks have proximity sensors. The handles look beautiful with those chrome inserts
Just look at the amount of detailing that has gone into those headlamps. Amazing!
Ultra low profile tyres on massive 19 inch rims. You can even opt for 20 inch wheels with the M Performance pack!
With an OTR price tag of close to 1 crore rupees (options cost extra), the 640d is not meant for those on a budget. It’s a no holds barred extravaganza which is meant to completely blow you away. It’s slightly more expensive than its perceived rivals – the CLS and the A7, but is decidedly a more dynamic and appealing package for the performance enthusiast. If you compare it with what BMW considers competition, the Panamera and the Rapide it looks like a steal, but then there is a perceived brand value associated with the former brands, and hence the bigger price tag on them.
The 640d is crammed tight with features and modern tech and has a shape which had half the people eating in a mall’s food court in Lonavla leave their meals and walk out to have a look. We are totally sold to the performance, handling and character of this machine, and really think that it isn’t expensive for what it offers.
The Gran Coupe is made to travel at blazing fast speeds on European roads. In a bid to achieve speed, dynamism and a razor sharp shape this GT makes some compromises on ground clearance, head room and suspension softness. For someone who’s ready to bargain that bit for a four door coupe which is sharp as a scalpel, the 640d Gran Coupe is an absolute no-brainer. In fact it’s the most exciting ‘practical’ car we have driven in a very long time!
Price: Rs 86.4 lakh ex-showroom
- M Sports Package / Luxury package – Rs 400,000 / 7,70,000
- 20 inch M alloys – Rs 1,85,000
- Adaptive Drive – Rs 3.8 lakh
- Alarm System – Rs 68,000
- Bang & Olufsen Audio – Rs 6 lakh
- BMW Night Vision – Rs 3.1 lakh
- Comfort Access – Rs 1.35 lakh
- Head-up Display – Rs 2.0 lakh
- Active Steering – 2.75 lakh
- Soft close function for doors – Rs 95,000
- Surround view cameras – Rs 1.0 lakh
- Engine 2,993cc / 6 cyl / twin turbo / diesel
- Max. output hp 313 / 4,400 rpm
- Max. torque Nm 630 / 1,500-2,500
- Tank capacity 70 liters
- Top speed km/h 250
- 0–100 km/h in s 5.4
- Compression ratio : 1 16.5 / Diesel
- Tyre dimensions front 245/40 R 19
- Tyre dimensions rear 275/35 R 19