By Carl Malek
BMW has finally lifted the veil off of its latest 6 Series variant, the 2012 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. Closely related to its fellow platform sibling the two door 6 Series coupe, BMW claims that it officially refers to the Gran Coupe as a 4+1 vehicle meaning that the new four door was designed to put form and styling over function and rear seat room. The Gran Coupe is also the first time BMW has attempted to put a sedan between the more conventional 7 and 5 Series sedans in its model lineup to help give it a more formidable competitor to rivals such as the Mercedes CLS and the Audi A7.
When compared to the two door version, there are some minor differences that set the Gran Coupe model apart from other models in the 6 series line. The Gran Coupe will be about 4.4 inches longer than the two door, which will give it an official length of 197 inches from front to rear. This extra length helps enhance rear seat room and is largely disguised by its stylish profile which draws most of its inspiration from the coupe variant. A key piece of this styling is its sloping roof-line, which furthers enhances its two door like profile. BMW claims that it will equip the 6 Series Gran Coupe with the latest in high tech features, including LED headlamps, the company’s familiar iDrive system, BMW’s extensive driver assistance features, and the latest iteration of BMW’s Heads Up Display.
The first version of the Gran Coupe that will arrive on North American shores in the summer of 2012 will be the base 640i model. The 640i will be powered by BMW’s N55 3.0 liter turbocharged inline six engine which is good for 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, thanks to the use of the company’s twinpower turbo technology as well as direct injection and variable valve timing. BMW claims that the 640i can hit 60 mph in the 5 second range and top out at an electronically limited 155 mph.
The more performance-oriented 650i model will arrive later in the year packing BMW’s 4.4 liter twin turbocharged N63V8, which belts out 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque to either the rear wheels or through all four wheels via the xDrive all-wheel drive system. This engine gets its 45 horsepower increase compared to the V8 found in the coupe thanks to the use of an upgraded valve timing system. The added power also gives the 650i a 0 to 60 time of 4.6 seconds with xDrive variants clocking in a bit quicker at 4.5 seconds despite the added heft of the all wheel drive system. Both the V8 and the six cylinder will be paired to an eight speed ZF automatic transmission when they arrive in dealer lots. Sorry three-pedal fans, but a manual transmission is currently not in the cards.
It was originally speculated that the 2012 BMW 6 series Gran Coupe would make its formal debut at the 2012 North American International Auto show in January, but expect the Gran Coupe to actually make its formal debut at the Geneva Motor show in early March followed by its U.S. debut at the New York International Auto Show in April. More details should be known by then so stay tuned.