BMW's big hatchback becomes 6 Series Gran Turismo
IN a repeat of a strategy which has previously allowed it to liberate more money from its customers' pockets, BMW is renaming the car previously known as the 5 Series Gran Turismo... as the 6 Series Gran Turismo.
BMW did a similar trick when it gave us the 4 Series and 2 Series in place of cars which had previously worn, respectively, 3 Series and 1 Series badges.
This time, the new version of the 5 Series GT is subject to name inflation, a move eased by the fact that the upcoming 8 Series line of cars will replace the large coupe, convertible and four-door Gran Tourer that currently ply their trade as the 6 Series.
Whether the name change is enough to inject some fizz into the fortunes of what is essentially a large five-door hatchback version of the excellent 5 Series remains to be seen.
Something about the outgoing 5 GT, which is usually found on the streets of Belfast doing sterling work as a taxi, reminded me of an old Rover SD1, albeit about 35 years late.
And so it is with the 6 GT, though BMW is at pains to stress that it has "athletic" lines and an "elongated silhouette", which could be interpreted as an admission that the 5 GT was less than handsome. Either way, the 6 Series Gran Turismo is less svelte than Audi's rival A7.
As you should expect, the new BMW gets the same high-tech arsenal that makes the new 5 Series saloon so irresistable.
Longer and lower than the old 5 GT, the new car manages to be both lighter and more spacious.
Options includes your-new-party-piece remote control parking, a wifi hotspot for up to 10 devices and remote 3D view.
If you must have one of these cars instead of a fine 5 Series Touring estate, at least it is roomy. With a volume of 610 litres, the boot is 110 litres larger than that of the 5 Series GT. It grows to 1,800 litres when the seats are folded.
It will be launched with three engines, two of which will be available with four-wheel-drive. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard.
Something about the outgoing 5 Series Gran Turismo, which is usually found on the streets of Belfast doing sterling work as a taxi, reminded me of an old Rover SD1
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit in the 630i Gran Turismo delivers 255bhp and peak torque of 295lb.ft, taking the car from zero to 62mph in 6.3 seconds, with a combined fuel consumption of 43.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 148g/km.
The 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine in the BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo (335bhp, 332lb.ft, 5.3 seconds, 35.3mpg,183g/km).
The BMW 630d Gran Turismo uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine (261bhp,457lb.ft, 6.1 seconds, 57.6mpg, 129g/km). It is also available with xDrive four-wheel-drive (6.0 seconds, 49.5mpg, 150g/km).
A spolier pops up from the tailgate when the car exceeds 75mph - it retracts below 50mph - and self-levelling air suspension comes as standard at the rear axle.
Prices start at £46,810 for a 630i Gran Turismo, rising to £53,970 for the 640i version. It is due to go on sale in November.