The BMW 640i impresses with lots of gadgets and ample luxury.

SINGAPORE (Mar 26): When you first set eyes on the BMW 640i, you get a sense that it is going to be a special ride. While it is definitely a big beast of a car, it has an elegance about it that makes you think “this looks expensive to buy”. And with a price tag of about $400,000, you would not be wrong. But what exactly are you getting for your money?

Well, this is the latest BMW 6 Series, so expect plenty of gadgets, lots of luxury and a plush cabin for the driver and passengers in true German premium style. And, of course, this is a 6 Series with a twist, as it is a Gran Turismo. While this model is actually the successor of the 5 Series GT, the category is still relatively unknown in Singapore. As well as being a popular video game, Gran Turismo is Italian for “grand tourer” — cars that are designed to travel long distances in comfort. While the average journey in Singapore is hardly on the “grand” scale, many Singaporeans are attracted to the comfort and class of a GT. They also like their cars big.

The 640i GT definitely delivers on that front. It measures just over 5m in length and has a 3,070mm wheelbase, the same as a 7 Series. BMW has stretched the car’s dimensions so the body looks sleeker with its lower roofline and resembles a sporty coupe. Not only does the long body look good to the naked eye, but it also means a more spacious cabin; not just more spacious, but well-designed throughout. As an experiment, I managed to squeeze my 10-year-old son and four of his teammates in the back without any fighting for seat space. Instead, they fought over the controls to the electrically reclining rear seats.

The cabin is definitely roomy, and it looks even more cavernous with the panoramic glass roof open. And if that is not enough, you could squeeze another five 10-year-olds in the boot, given its massive size. Not many things surprise me at my age, but the boot is enormous, the biggest capacity in the BMW lineup, in fact. And if you fold down the rear seats, the space grows to a whopping 1,800 litres. Be warned, though, that the boot lid opens up a lot higher than conventional cars.

After a big tick for space and comfort, the expectations were high that the drive itself would deliver a top performance as well. And the stats looked good — a beastly 3.0-litre turbocharged engine that gives you 340bhp of power and 450Nm of torque. For those who know their Beamers, this is the same power plant as the 540i and 740i.

While a big engine in a big car makes sense, it does not always make for a smooth and accomplished ride. But in the 640i, it definitely does. The delivery of power is like going down a giant slide in silk pyjamas — so effortless. Acceleration is gentle, regardless of how hard you put your foot down. By the way, this is an M edition (the sports performance arm of BMW), so it can get up to 100kph in a very impressive 5.3 seconds.

Handling gets another thumbs up. There are many models on the market that are already breaking down the myth that big cars lack agility turning and going around corners. You can add the BMW 640i to that list. It is as nimble as a much smaller car and handling it is effortless, helped by the xDrive all-wheel drive system.

The 640i also comes with Driving Assistant Plus, which allows level two autonomous driving. This means that the car is able to drive autonomously without your hands on the wheel. You can quickly and easily switch on the steering assist and adaptive cruise control, and let the car handle the crawling traffic for you. With Driving Assistant Plus, traffic jams are much less of a headache. Again, I use the adjective “effortless”, as it sums up the BMW 640i.

This car relaxes you the more you drive it. You could easily get into it in a bad mood and then arrive at your destination 30 minutes later in a happy state. It is a car that rewards you when you are a little less aggressive with it, despite all that power.

After all, this car is meant to be a long-distance cruiser. Oh, and did I mention the two choices of built-in perfumes you can spray in the cabin, among many nice little touches onboard? Perfect when you are chauffeuring a team of sweaty 10-year-olds.

BMW 640i GRAN TURISMO M SPORT
$396,888 including COE
Engine: 2,998cc, six-cylinder, inline
Power/torque: 340bhp/450Nm
Fuel consumption: 8.5L/100km
0 to 100kph: 5.3 seconds
Top speed: 250kph


Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast