Is the BMW 650i Gran Coupe the ideal family car?

BMW_650_Gran_Coupe_NF01If you have always wanted a BMW 6-series, but wanted something more practical, something that can fit a family comfortably; in the past you were out of luck (or you’d settle for a 5-series, which is not a bad alternative).
However, for 2013, there is no longer any reason to settle for anything else, because along with the coupe and cabriolet (convertible) version of the 6-series, you can buy the car pictured on this page.
What this is, is a four-door version of the 6-series, and it’s called the Gran Coupe. But, has the cars character been diluted by the addition of two extra doors?
To find out, I was given the keys to this car recently, and was asked to drive around in it for a week to find out what I thought of it. It was a tough assignment, but for you, my readers, I took it on. I am a people’s person after all.
OK, back to the car. I have been a big fan of the styling of the new 6-series coupe and cabriolet, and while most cars look terrible when stretched – the Gran Coupe doesn’t.
This is a well-proportioned, elegant looking car. It doesn’t scream out for attention, but attention it surely gets. Driving around, you notice the double and triple takes by other road users. Since the Gran Coupe is still relatively new, many people haven’t seen it and judging by their reaction, they are liking what they are seeing.
They would approve of the interior also (I most certainly do). Open the door and you’ll find an interior that is beautifully designed and very inviting. The high-quality leather looks, feels and smells nice, and the raised stitching on the dashboard is a lovely touch.
Up front, you get a cockpit that is certainly angled towards the driver, which helps, because this car has a lot of gadgets, and you don’t want to fiddle around looking for buttons. It has been over a decade since BMW launched the first iDrive unit, and the one in the 650i Gran Coupe is the latest and greatest version of this system. It is remarkably easy to use and allows you to flip through this cars many, many features like audio, personal settings, navigation and its hands-free phone. A small point about the hands-free phone system in this car, I have used Bluetooth systems in many cars, but none have worked as flawlessly as the one in this 6-series, so good job BMW.
bmw 6 gran coupeThe front passenger, well – he or she won’t have too much to do, and while one passenger felt the legroom in the footwell was a bit tight, everyone loved the massaging seat.
In the back, while most four-door coupes severely lack legroom, the Gran Coupe is not bad at all. Sure it is no limo, but with the driver seat set to my position, I could easily sit in the back seat and my knees wouldn’t even be touching the front seat. As for entertainment in the back, that will depend on what the owner specifies, but on my tester, it had power privacy-blinds for the side windows and the rear screen.
So it looks good and has a wonderful interior (almost forgot to mention, it also has a huge trunk), but what is it like to drive?
The short answer, just like any other luxury BMW, which means, it is fantastic.
The first thing that will impress you is the engine. It has a 4.4-liter, twin-scroll, twin-turbo, V8, that produces 445-hp and a mammoth 480-lb/ft of torque. This is enough power to rotate a small planet, so as you can imagine, it propels this 2,015-kg car quite effectively. Mash your foot into the carpet and it will sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 250 km/h (unrestricted, it can go much faster).
Speed is one thing, but the way the power is delivered to the drive wheels is what really impresses. No matter what the weather is doing to the road, the xDrive all-wheel drive system ensures that the car will travel in the intended direction, no matter how quickly you want to cover ground. This is a brilliant long-distance cruiser.
Part of the reason this vehicle is so smooth and quick is its transmission. Like most new BMW’s, it has an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is not only smooth, but shifts gear faster than you can blink.
There are more luxuries on board to ease your travels also. There is the active cruise control, which will not only help keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead, but will bring the car to a complete stop if needed. There is also a front collision avoidance system that beeps at you if the car ahead suddenly slows down or you are catching it too quickly. Also available is a night-vision camera with pedestrian detection, which comes in handy on dark streets, plus a camera system that not only helps you park the car, but also to help you see around corners. This is one of the most technologically advanced cars ever made.
6GC_picThe best thing about it is, that despite all the gadgets keeping a watchful eye over what you’re doing, they never seem to dull your driving experience. This car is a pure joy to drive. I have already told you how well it goes, but show it some corners and it will make you smile again.
I know I should be nit-picking, telling you what is wrong with this car, but I can’t. It is that good.
If there is a niggle, it is that I can’t afford to buy one, yet. Base price for this model is $99,800. My very well-equipped tester stickered at $131,100. That is a lot of money, but if you can afford it, trust me, you should have one.

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