Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
With 19 new 2018 BMW, MINI and Roll-Royce vehicles to evaluate at the BMW Performance Center West, Thermal Club in Palm Springs, California you can imagine the level of technology, innovation and luxury experienced during this pivotal moment for the brand. From the 2018 M5 to the newfangled Phantom the options were diverse and monumental. One of the key vehicles I zeroed in on was the all-new 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo which represents dynamic utility in full fashion.
California is BMW’s number one territory in terms of sales with 70,000 new vehicles sold there last year so it was ideal to host such a largescale media event at the Palm Springs location which welcomed 11,000 visitors through the doors in 2017. These numbers are important due to the fact that 30% of Performance Center participants go on to purchase a BMW within 36 months. Here instructors focus on experiences, programs and consumer events with a goal of making you a better driver. I can vouch for their ambitions since I’ve been to the location in South Carolina at least seven times to off-road, rock M cars, hone my defensive driving skills and emphasize overall vehicle safety tactics.
The 6 Series GT is somewhat of an anomaly in the automotive industry and has very few competitors in my book. It’s one of those vehicles that you either love or you don’t. Yet, representing as a true BMW Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) it serves two purposes for individuals with multi-faceted lives like myself. I love cars and SUVs that offer stately performance, advanced technologies, well-established connectivity and most importantly, utility to visit Home Depot for supplies and materials. Since I am a do-it-yourselfer the need for extended storage such as laying the seats flat is essential. This ride of choice also has to instill a bit of ruggedness. I don’t want to feel like I can’t grind out because my whip is too pretty or squeaky clean. No issues with the 640i xDrive Gran Turismo in that department. In fact, I also had this vehicle back home for a week and made a few runs to pick up renovation materials and spring cleaning supplies for the yard.
“The all-new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo is geared towards discerning customers who place great importance on individuality. It is an eye-catching statement, packaged into a flowing, sculptural design language which gives the car a modern and sporty feel. The raised seating position ensures an imperious brand of driving pleasure, and the luxurious levels of space provide everything you need for a relaxing journey,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.
Out in the Sonoran Desert area of Palm Springs I concentrated on the acceleration, dynamics and cornering capabilities of the GT. It looks bigger than it drives and is much faster than it looks. The SAC is powered by BMW’s well-respected 3-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6 cylinder which is partnered with the quick-shifting 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission with shift paddles on the thick sporty steering wheel. With the power of a V8 and the efficiency of a 4 cylinder the 640i xDrive Gran Turismo distributes 335-horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque between 1,380 and 5,200 rpm which in-turn allows the vehicle to dash 5.1 seconds from 0-60 mph. Fuel economy is not that far off from the X2’s 2-liter at 20 city mpg and 28 highway mpg for the GT. With Driving Dynamics Control you can set the GT in ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT modes. Trust me, when selecting SPORT and utilizing the paddles to shift the 6 Series moves like Lebron on a fast break! Of course the NBA forward is tall, solid and agile like the GT, which was also equipped with the $4,100 Dynamic Handling Package that adapts to road patterns by way of the two-axle air suspension with each wheel receiving air supply independently of the other. Moreover, with Active Roll Stabilization body roll around the mountaneous roads was minimal.
On the East Coast it was snowing when the sun should have been shinning bright for the welcoming of spring. No problem since I’m an all-wheel drive fanatic, and no matter if the vehicle is a sports car, SUV or pickup I have to have the ability for all four wheels to receive torque. BMW must have read my mind because the 2018 BMW 6 Series GT is offered specifically with xDrive all-wheel drive so I continued running my errands without a qualm as snow, sleet and heavy rains came down.
The GT is perfect for active families as the kids enjoyed the legroom and ease of jumping in and out when I ran them around town for school and sports practices. At 11 and 14 years of age both girls can operate iDrive with no issues, especially when they needed to connect their phones to initiate Apple CarPlay for Spotify from the 10.25” stagnant screen. The simplicity of the circular Touch Controller has revolutionized how we interface with infotainment systems and continues to set the bar. BMW’s WiFi hotspot was also a family favorite technology as well as the ambient lighting and wireless charging. Personally, I look for panoramic sunroofs and premium audio like the Harman Kardon surround sound system for $875 that satisfied my soul.
Another must for any BMW model is the M Sport Package which is only $1,200 on the 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. The 19” M light alloy wheels were sinister as ever and really helped the SAC’s profile pop.
Specific safety and assistance technologies are introduced as the Active Driving Assistant which commingles a multitude of cameras, radars and sensors in the form of Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Frontal Collision Warning to name a few. For another $1,700 Driving Assistant Plus gives you Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Active Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Avoidance and Traffic Jam Assistant. MSRP is $69,700 for your 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. Our loaner totaled $84,010.