Class: Premium Midsize Car
Miles driven: 326
Fuel used: 16.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 20.1 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/28/23 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $69,700 (not including $995 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Options on test vehicle: Bluestone Metallic paint ($550), Driving Assistance Plus ($1700), Dynamic Handling Package ($4100), M Sport Package ($1200), Executive Package ($2150), heated steering wheel ($190), front and rear heated seats ($350), ceramic controls ($650), power rear seatback adjustment ($500), remote-control parking ($750), Apple CarPlay compatibility ($300), Harman Kardon audio system ($875)
Price as tested: $84,010
The great: Smooth, strong powertrain; luxurious interior
The good: Cargo space is larger and more versatile than a traditional sedan’s
The not so good: Steep pricing; so-so observed fuel economy compared to EPA estimates
As you might guess from the numerical part of its name, the BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo fits in between the Bavarian automaker’s 5- and 7-series sedans. However, it doesn’t exactly fit in with them.
The 640 GT is a hatchback of ample cargo capacity that’s new—sort of—for 2018. It rides an exclusive 200.9-inch wheelbase that’s roughly between the spans of the two more famous conventional sedans. The 640 effectively replaces the discontinued 5-Series Gran Turismo hatch, keeping BMW in the submarket for premium midsize liftbacks that has sprung up in recent years. Where the 5 Gran Turismo came with choices—rear- or all-wheel drive; turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder or 4.4-liter V8—the 640 GT for the U.S. market is configured solely with AWD and the six.
BMW asks a minimum of $70,695 (with delivery) for the 640i Gran Turismo. Contained within that sum are an 8-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles and launch control; selectable “Eco Pro,” “Comfort,” and “Sport” driving modes; 4-wheel disc brakes; and 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-season run-flat rubber. Up front are adaptive LED headlights with automatic high-beam control and LED fog lights. Overhead is a panoramic moonroof. At the rear is a power liftgate.
The interior features leather upholstery, 16-way power front sport seats with 4-way lumbar adjustment and driver’s-seat memory, and ambient lighting. A 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with power tilt and telescope functions is at the driver’s disposal. The list of comforts and conveniences runs to keyless entry, automatic climate control, digital instrument cluster, remote-services access, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with HD and satellite radio, and navigation. Built-in tech includes BMW’s iDrive 6.0 central-control system for audio, navigation, and apps; a 10.2-inch touchscreen; voice control; enhanced USB and Bluetooth connectivity; a Wi-Fi hotspot; and wireless charging.
A couple of trim packages are available for the 640i Gran Turismo. The test car was kitted out with the M Sport group, a $1200 extra that contributed to its full price of $84,010. The package pitches in lower-body aerodynamic enhancements, distinctive light-alloy wheels, dark “Shadowline” exterior trim, a SensaTec vinyl dash covering, an anthracite-colored headliner, fineline ridge wood trim, and an M-brand steering wheel.
The powertrain is a thing of beauty. The turbo six gains 35 horsepower from its 5-Series Gran Turismo days, now clocking in at 335 ponies. Torque registers a peak 332 lb-ft that enters its wide band as early as 1380 rpm for quick and slick getaways aided by the creamy-smooth transmission. If anything threatens to darken the mood, it will be stopping for gas. This driver recorded 20.7 mpg after putting 223.1 miles on the test car, with a 50/50 mix of city and expressway driving. That’s somewhat short of the EPA-estimated 23 mpg for combined mileage. (The agency’s respective city and highway projections are 20 and 28 mpg.)
The single biggest add-on to the test car was the $4100 Dynamic Handling Package with integral active steering, air suspension, roll stabilization, and variable dampers. To this tester, ride in the Comfort mode was cushy enough to verge on wallowing, with a little roll in cornering. However, this will probably feel right for most driving like day-in/day-out commuting. Punching up Sport induces a firmer ride that’s less forgiving of road imperfections, plus a moderate increase in steering effort.
Passengers enjoy a spacious cabin with excellent legroom in both rows and genuine 3-across adult seating in back. (One rear-seat passenger with some ride-sharing experience said it would be the ideal Uber car—yeah, if Uber drivers were inclined to use an $84,000 BMW as a work car. . . .) Driver vision suffers a bit from thick A- and B-pillars, but the over-the-shoulder view is quite good thanks to thin rear-door and roof pillars.
Personal-storage options include a low-set glove box, split-top console box of modest dimensions, pull-out tray to left of steering column, big front-door pockets with bottle holders, smaller rear-door pockets with holders, hard-sided pouches on the backs of the front seats, and a shallow covered bin in the pull-down rear armrest. Two covered cup holders reside in the console in a space shared with the wireless charger; two more pop out from the rear armrest.
This tester’s two biggest beefs with the 640 GT were on the inside. The lesser of the two was a driver’s seat in which he never quite got completely comfortable. Adjustments were made to the seatback angle and lumbar firmness, but he always felt a little bent at places he didn’t want to be bent. The topper, though, was the completely aggravating iDrive infotainment control. Mastering it will take study. That takes time, and we’ve always been told that time is money, so add that on to the cost of ownership.
Cargo space under the hatch loads at bumper height onto a flat floor. Under the floor are two sizeable bins for more storage, and a piston props up the floor so you don’t have to hold on to it with one hand while trying to place or remove items in the bins with the other. There are 31 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, which fold in a 40/20/40 split to create an expansive load area. Note that the seats don’t fold truly flat, and there is a narrow gap between folded seatbacks and the rest of the cargo floor. At least levers on sides of the cargo bay make it convenient to remotely release the seatbacks.
With its powertrain and interior room, the 640i xDrive Gran Turismo does what other large BMWs do. (Unfortunately, the same can be said for its infotainment operation.) But its cargo-handling capability places it apart from the norm.
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