The luxury family sedan segment is an intensely competitive battlefield. The players are all global biggies and most of the cars themselves sport a dual character making them both enjoyable to drive and to be chauffeured in. In the Indian context most owners will tend to be seated at the rear, though it must be tempting to assume that many, if not all, will want to get behind the wheel at least once in every full moon.
Mercedes-Benz’s strategy to bring the long wheelbase E-Class changed the dynamics of this segment. And the recently launched facelifted 2021 model has only made it stronger. BMW’s 5 Series has been a steady contributor to the German luxury brand’s sales in India. Yet, the Munich-based car maker had chosen to take the fight to the E-Class with its 6 Gran Turismo (GT). The extra size of the 6 Series and the novelty of the GT body style has been a good, appealing package for buyers. Earlier this month, the facelifted 2021 model 6 GT was launched. Here is what it has to offer.
Externally, the new 6 GT looks like a facelift, alright. Its profile and stance remains largely unchanged. What you see in these pics is the M Sport trim variant of the 630d - BMW speak for the diesel in-line 6-cylinder version of the 6 GT. The car’s profile remains the same, though individual elements get updates, like the sportier front and rear fenders, the sharper angles for the LED DRLs and the light signatures in the headlamps, the 19-inch M Sport alloy wheels, and the trapezoidal tail-pipe ends at the rear. The new 6 GT’s kidney grille seems to have grown in size just a notch and it continues to be one of the sportiest looking GTs from the side. The curved roofline slopes down sharply from the B-pillar to the edge of its notchback end. The GT tailgate is hinged high on the roof and opens to reveal huge access to the boot. The drama of the frameless doors design never ceases to please; my test mule also featured auto soft closing doors (available only in the 630d M Sport). The new model also gets a few new colours both for the body and for the cabin theme.
BMW Laserlight for low and high beams is an addition that will be best appreciated at night, when the extended 650 metres beam throw really helps. It’ll also be appreciated by folks in oncoming vehicles who won't be dazzled by the 6 GT’s auto dimming high beam.
The facelifted 6 GT’s cabin too remains familiar. The large glass house thanks to the steeply raked windscreens, the frameless windows and the panoramic sunroof make this a well-lit, airy cabin. The dashboard, door panels and the sporty seats continue to be clad in stitched leather panels. The layering of the dashboard layout has been done in a semi-hexagonal form with a pleasing mix of elements sporting sharp angles with softly curved edges in classic BMW style. The change that is striking is the larger screens for the instrument cluster and the infotainment. The instrument cluster is fully digital now and the new 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the centre stack offers additional functionality including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Gesture control is a carryover feature and it works perfectly except when you have a co-passenger and you are talking to them animatedly, when the system gets a bit confused.
The cabin also gets a choice of trim elements to opt for depending on the variant. My test mule sported matt-finished wood inserts, brushed aluminium highlights and a 3-spoke, multiple-function M Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. Space available in the cabin is good and there is more attention to the comfort of rear passengers in the new 6 GT. Four-zone climate control, a 9-degree incline for the rear seat backrest and powered privacy sheers for rear windows. The boot is large, but the spare wheel takes up a lot of space.
The 2021 model 6 GT is offered with three powertrain options. The 2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine of the BMW 630i generates maximum output of 258hp and peak torque of 400Nm with 0-100 kmph acceleration in just 6.5 seconds. The 2-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine of the BMW 620d packs a maximum power of 190hp and peak torque of 400Nm and does 0-100 kmph in 7.9 seconds. My test mule was the 630d with its 3-litre, 6-cylinder in-line diesel engine producing a maximum output of 265hp and peak torque of 620Nm with 0-100 kmph acceleration in 6.1 seconds, making it the quickest car in its segment. The rear wheel drive character of the 6 Series comes through in the way it behaves. The 6-cylinder engine is responsive and refined; it is paired to the really quick and intuitive 8-speed steptronic sport automatic transmission. TSI turbo-charging and generous amounts of torque being available in the low and mid-rpm range means that handling driving conditions in city and on the highway is effortless. Adaptive 2-axle air suspension is standard with a self-levelling feature meant to maintain same height irrespective of load in the vehicle. At speeds above 120kmph it lowers the ride height by 10mm. It can also be raised by 20mm at the touch of a button to handle more challenging terrain or that monstrous speed-breaker.
The ride quality in the new 6 GT continues to be good. Electronically-controlled dampers at each wheel individually adjust to the road surface and also change character based on the mode chosen using the driving experience control switch. Predictably, it is firmer and more agile in Sport and Sport+ modes. In city conditions and in Comfort mode, it is more pliant; one can simply choose adaptive mode to let the car’s system decide.
The new 6 Series Gran Turismo is more focused, helpfully, on rear seat comfort. The rear entertainment package includes two touchscreen monitors and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon Surround sound system. There is a full complement of safety features including cornering brake control, and dynamic stability and traction control.
The 6 GT can be a comfy boat, but it can also be great fun if you want to push it into corners and get ‘handy’ with it. Prices start at ₹67.9 lakh and range up to ₹77.9 lakh (ex-showroom).