By: Jag Dhatt
A BMW 650i Gran Coupé (GC) – now here’s terminology that will have many scratching their heads. Is it a two-door? Nope. Okay, then does it have a hatch? Nope again. So what is it? Well, the 650i GC is a beautiful, sleek, sexy, “hatch-back looking” vehicle that gives buyers the size of the 6-series, but with two extra doors and a full trunk. It’s quite a stunner, really, and fits in nicely between the flagship 7-series and the mid-sized 5-series. BMW, it seems, now has a vehicle that fits any buyer’s needs, unless of course, you’re in the market for a pick-up truck.
Initially unveiled in 2012, the 6-series Gran Coupé comes in two variations for the North American market: the 640i and the 650i, the latter of which was my test vehicle. With the Frozen Grey matte paint scheme, the 650i xDrive GC reminded me of a shark – quiet, streamlined, slick and yet brutally aggressive and powerful. In my opinion, this is probably one of the best looking cars in this segment. But, our tester came equipped with 18” winter tires and wheels, which doesn’t really show off the beautiful lines of the car like a set of 20” or 22” would. Too bad I was driving this in spring and not summer. Now, if you’re looking at other options, the Audi A7, Mercedes CLS, Porsche Panamera and even the Jaguar XJ are in the same “grey” coupé category. If we’re talking about comparisons still, what will come as a surprise is that the Gran Coupé is quite a bit more expensive than the others listed, and starts at $102,000. That’s a lot of money for this car. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.
BMW has trademarked the slogan, “the ultimate driving machine” and it’s for good reason. I’ve owned two BMW’s and I couldn’t agree more; this 650i Gran Coupé continues the tradition. For a car to be labeled with such prestigious nomenclature, it has to be impeccable all around. Our test vehicle included the $7000 Executive Package and it’s well worth the cash. There’s full hand-stitched leather on the dash and door panels, beautiful two-toned heated and cooled leather seats (front and back), surround view camera, heads-up display, and a full TFT dash, just to name a few. Interior fit and finish is perfect – BMW doesn’t disappoint, and neither does the engine.
If I were to buy a 6-series Gran Coupé, there’s no question I would buy the V8. The 4.4L N63 engine, complete with turbocharging, provides such an amazing driving experience that honestly, you can’t point any fingers at. There’s 445hp and 480 ft-lb of torque, to all 4 wheels, that’s useable right throughout the rpm range. If you want to cruise, there’s a nice growl from the exhaust that’s not overpowering. However, if you need to pass someone on the highway, stomp on the gas and the baffles open, allowing the standard sport exhaust to really sing its tune. One thing that BMW has really capitalized on is not charging extra for the Adaptive Drive modes. On this particular 650i GC, there’s ECO Pro, Comfort Plus, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, so yeah, just pick one. With this car, everything just works so well together: the engine, 8-speed ZF transmission, suspension, and of course, the xDrive. Each manufacturer has its own 4-wheel drive system and BMW’s works just as well as any others, giving drivers confidence while driving on any road conditions.
Driving the 650i xDrive is a real treat, and even more so when the seats wrap around you as if they’re custom tailored. Just before I had this vehicle, I had driven the 2016 Lexus GS F, which I think has one of the best seats on the market. Personally, I prefer the GS F seats, but the 650i did have massage, so there’s a toss-up here. Rear passengers enjoy a good amount of space, but it’s a little snug for a car of this size. And on top of this, BMW says this is a 5-passenger car, but in all honesty, the middle rear seat has this huge center console; if you’re the unfortunate one straddling it, you won’t be too happy. This car has about the same rear legroom as the Jaguar XJ, and slightly less than an Audi A7. That being said, the seats are all very comfortable, even for long drives.
Back to the driving aspect, the BMW 650i xDrive put a smile on my face for the entire week. This car is a great balance between a sports car and a luxury sedan that will fit a family of four. During my time with the car, there were a few harrowing days of stormy weather, with rain beating down day and night. This vehicle, equipped with a plethora of safety features, made me feel safe and secure. I had the opportunity to drive the Gran Coupé to Squamish and back, and what a treat. Opening up the throttle on the windy roads shows sports car DNA of this coupé. The steering is fantastic and really connects the driver with the road. This vehicle did everything I expected it to, and then some.
So, are there any shortcomings? Well, yes, and they are minor. First of all, this is not a true 5-passenger car as BMW claims, but for short drives, it’s manageable. Second, I was surprised that there was no power trunk, a feature that’s standard on many cars, even non-luxury ones. It should be standard equipment.
Finally, there’s that price sticker. This is the most expensive vehicle in this segment, but BMW doesn’t seem to mind because they know people are willing to pay a premium price for this premium vehicle. If price is not a deterrent, the 650i xDrive Gran Coupé may be the perfect car for you.