Test drive: BMW 630i Gran Turismo

By daryl, 25 August 2019

The BMW 6 Series GT is grand in the most literal sense. In a market starved of the estates that bankroll the Bavarian outfit in Europe, BMW’s latest Gran Turismo offering is the biggest and consequently most practical non-SUV model in its line-up today. It is built on the same “Cluster Architecture” underpinning the 7-Series after all. Although it’s practically a descendent of the polarising 5 Series GT in essence.

With a built-up area of 104 square feet – yes, we’re going there – the 6 GT has the footprint of a ‘tiny house’ and is bigger than the G30 5 Series in every dimension. It’s obvious how big it is the moment you realise it’s an M Sport model, only to struggle to identify the sporty bits in the car’s vast ocean of Sophisto Grey metal. The wide side profile, which looks like that of an X6 but much closer to the ground, makes the 19-inch alloys look puny. But there’s plenty of substance beneath the bulk.

Yes, we’re taking about cargo space. The 6 GT is basically made of it. The boot is a 610-litre cavern that can be expanded to 1,800 litres with the rear seats folded down. For comparison’s sake, you only get an extra 35 litres behind the X5’s two-tier tailgate. And then there’s the rear quarters, which feel nearly as roomy as those of a 7 Series. You’d expect the GT’s sloping roofline to cut into some headspace, but BMW has managed to produce a sleeker iteration of a wagon with minimal trade-off in practicality.


Whether this sleekness translates to better visual appeal is still a contentious topic. After the original 5er and the discontinued 3 Series GT, this is BMW’s third attempt at producing a Gran Turismo. It’s arguably Munich’s best effort to date, but the aesthetic awkwardness still lingers. However, the Porsche Panamera has proven that weird can be wonderful, and more importantly, commercially successful. And if you give it enough thought, the 6 GT is shockingly similar to the hefty Porsche in terms of size, shape and concept, minus the equally hefty price tag.

At RM430,800, you could call the 6 GT a cut-price Panamera, but for the right reasons. Local assembly in Kulim is largely responsible for the relative affordability. Sticking to a tried-and-tested four-pot turbo helps with cost cutting as well. While the thought of a V8-powered M6 Gran Turismo to properly challenge the Panamera and even the AMG GT 4-Door is quite entertaining, the proposition of daily luxury makes more sense in 630i format. Not that it’s left wanting in this guise.

Its CKD pricing is the icing on a cake in which rivals like Audi and Mercedes-Benz will undoubtedly struggle to replicate.

Like the G20 330i, the 630i GT gets an updated version of BMW’s B48 mill, which develops 258bhp and 400Nm – 6bhp and 50Nm more than you’d get in the G30 530i. But it still feels a touch heavier than the 5er right off the bat. BMW’s official century sprint times confirm this, with the 530i’s 6.2-second time besting the 630i by a tenth of a second. Straight-line comparisons aside, the 6 GT is still a surprisingly effortless car for its size, especially with its vigour dialled up in Sport mode.

In this configuration, the 6 GT hunkers down, tightens its steering and has its powertrain response amped up to deliver a quintessential Bavarian driving experience: commanding on the straights and confident around the bends. The eight-speed ZF gearbox and adaptive air suspension are particularly impressive in the way they seamlessly switch between soft and spirited driving, with up to 30mm of ground clearance separating the latter’s comfiest and sportiest settings. You might as well raise the retractable spoiler while you’re at it.


Our only gripe about the 6 GT on the move is visibility, which is a by-product of the Gran Turismo design. The rear-heavy side profile makes everything further up feel a bit compressed, front doors and windows included. This can make crossing busy junctions a little trickier than usual. While on the subject of doors, we’re also not fans of BMW’s new door cards which drop the iconic grab handles for something more compact and consequently less premium. But this is just us starting to nit-pick.

No Gran Turismo BMW is complete without its unique set of quirks after all. As debatable as some of its features may be, the 6 GT manages to draw attention to its niche for all the right reasons, more so than its predecessors at least. In fusing estate-rivalling practicality with sedan-like performance that stays surprisingly true to the brand’s dynamic ideals, the 630i GT proves that the X5 isn’t always the answer to all of our driving needs. Its CKD pricing is the icing on a cake in which rivals like Audi and Mercedes-Benz will undoubtedly struggle to replicate.

We’d certainly like to watch them try.


  Engine   2.0 4-cyl turbo
  Price   RM430,800
  Power   258hp
  Transmission   8-speed auto
  0-100kph   6.3 seconds
  Economy   6.6L/100km
  C02   152
RATING: 8/10

FOR: Wagon-like practicality and flexible powertrain make for a great all-rounder.

AGAINST: GT looks still debatable, casual drivers may struggle to park the bulk.