Engine – A balance between power and efficiency
With the V8–powered 650i Gran Coupe coming to market only in August, the model of choice was the entry-level, six-cylinder 640i. Carrying under the hood the N55 3.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged unit, the sleek 640i is propelled by 315 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 330 pound-feet of torque, which comes together at 1,400 rpm and it’s flat until 4,500 rpm.
While the power is adequate for a 535i model, we felt that the nearly 4,200 lbs four-door coupe could benefit from a slightly more powered engine to satisfy our cravings for agility. But the truth of the matter is that BMW is aiming to find the perfect balance between efficiency and performance, a compelling offering for the demographic of this car. Mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox, the inline-six takes the 640i Gran Coupe from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.4 seconds, a straight line figure that won’t matter much since its purpose is quite unique.
Driving – A mixture of joy and calm
The 640i really shines on curvy roads where the extremely well balanced chassis handles our aggressive driving style without a hiccup. The car is quick to get into corners and when in Sport or Sport+ driving mode, it plants itself well into the road even at higher than advised speeds. The joy of driving is enhanced by the shifting paddles that invite you to more aggressive driving by sawing up and down the revs.
As one expects by now from modern BMWs, you can alter the suspension’s settings, as well as the transmission’s shifting, power delivery and the ESP settings by simply playing with the adaptive drive button. The driving modes range from Eco Pro to Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ (our favorite on this trip).
Our test model came equipped with the optional adaptive antiroll bars (Active Roll Stabilization, $2,500) and Integral Active Steering ($1,750). The latter option offers variable-ratio at the front, plus a rear end that steers out of phase with the fronts at low speed and in phase at high speed. This takes some time to get used to it while driving, but the increased stability at high speeds is well worth the money.
On plain straight lines the car turns into a perfectly civilized cruiser and high speeds could be easily overlooked, leading to unnecessary speeding tickets that some of our automotive colleagues with a “Need for Speed” experienced first hand. The ride is smooth and the softer driving modes provide a relaxing ambiance.
Should I buy one?
In the last decade BMW has been entering new niche markets and even though the sales volume projection for the Gran Coupe is fairly conservative, we believe that the high-end four-door coupe will make its way every year into the hands of a few thousands extrovert drivers. Its looks help us forget about the 5 Series Gran Turismo and gives us the confidence to declare the Gran Coupe as the best-looking BMW in production. The market has already been validated by Mercedes CLS and Audi A7, so the idea of coupe with four doors is infinite easier to describe or explain to future customers.