Review: BMW 640d

Review: BMW 640d
Review: BMW 640d

The better-looking successor to the BMW 5 Series GT is a big improvement

BMW rarely gets things wrong, but with the old 5 Series GT, it stumbled badly. Meant to be a more practical five-door version of the 5 Series, its bulbous looks and unhappy appearance made it a bit of a white elephant in Europe: sales were but a fraction of the 5 Series saloon.

But the basic design, felt BMW, still had merit. Some people want more practicality than a saloon, but don’t necessarily want an estate. So here is a much-improved successor to the 5 Series GT, now called 6 Series GT, as if to distance itself from its unfortunate predecessor.

BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo M Sport 

Price: £57,570
Engine: 6cyls, 2998cc, turbocharged petrol
Power: 335bhp at 5500-6500rpm
Torque: 332lb ft at 1380-5200rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Kerbweight: 1835kg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.3sec
Economy: 35.3mpg
CO2 rating: 183g/km

The dimensions have been refined, to make the 6GT less ugly than the 5GT. The wheelbase is longer, it’s lower, and the rear hatchback is significantly lower – BMW was determined to eradicate the big bum of the old car here. It also doesn’t have the pointless dual-function bootlid of the old one; instead, it gets a deployable spoiler that pops up at speed.

Despite the change in dimensions, it’s still roomy inside – appreciably more so than a 5 Series. Occupants sit high and there’s lots of space in the rear. The cabin is extremely luxurious, notably more so than before, and the refinement once on the move is excellent.

It also rides really well. Our test car was fitted with the full welter of suspension tech – air springs, active anti-roll bars, adaptive dampers – and in Comfort mode it proved extremely supple indeed. Sport is less opulent, but even this is a smooth operator, rolling less through corners and remaining settled even when cornering hard. You can really tell the suspension owes plenty to the luxurious 7 Series.

Although it rides well, it also handles much better than the 5GT. There’s a newfound dynamism to it, despite its considerable size, with a willing agility lacking on the old car. While it’s heavy, it’s actually around 150kg lighter than the old car, and this really shows.

In the UK, we’re getting a 255bhp 630i petrol, a top-line 335bhp xDrive 640i petrol, and a 261bhp 630d diesel. The latter will sell best, but perhaps inevitably, it was the poshest model given to us for first driving impressions. With all that power, it’s naturally an effortless performer, one that’s generally refined only when you rev it hard; although it won’t sell well in the UK, due to its greater thirst than the frugal diesel, it’s still an appealing buy for those with the means to run it.

Overall, the 6 Series GT is a much more appealing model than its best-forgotten predecessor. While still not as elegant as some grand tourers, it’s a considerably more well-resolved machine, one that now offers a welcome set of benefits over a comparable 5 Series for those seeking high-riding luxury, ample space for four and a big boot.

Most will be sold to China and the US, but the select few who’ll choose one here in the UK now won’t be penalised for choosing something a bit different. Those seeking a serene way to cover high miles in indulgent comfort should find it particularly likeable, and that’s something you could never say about the old one. Job done, BMW.

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