2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo review, test drive

    BMW’s updated Mercedes E-Class rival is comfortable to be driven in and engaging to drive.

    Published on Apr 08, 2021 12:00:00 PM


    We Like
    • Spacious, well-appointed interiors
    • Supple ride quality
    • Strong performance
    We Don't Like
    • Spare tyre eats into cargo area
    • Shape might not appeal to all

    The BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo (6GT) is a more practical and comfier alternative to the 5 Series sedan. For 2021, BMW has updated the 6GT with a midlife makeover and new features. This facelift couldn’t have come a moment sooner, as its key rival, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, also launched with a refreshed 2021 version recently.

    The 6GT is still available with three engine options – a 258hp 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in 630i guise, a 190hp 2.0-litre diesel in 620d guise and a 265hp, 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel in 630d guise; the focus of this review is the 630i, petrol version.

    2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo: what is it?

    Almost immediately, your eyes will gravitate towards the sleeker headlamps with twin L-shaped DRLs and its bolder and more aggressive-looking front grille, two of the most prominent updates of this facelift. But what really enhances this BMW’s desirability and appeal is the introduction of a new top-spec M Sport variant with the petrol engine, which gets smaller, sportier cosmetic changes, which seem to make all the difference. So, in-line with the sporty theme, the front bumper is sculpted to lend a racy appearance, it gets stylish, lightweight 19-inch M alloy wheels and blue brake calipers, and the rear bumper sports twin trapezoidal exhausts tips. Its lift-back shape, with its sloping roofline towards the stubby boot, remains unchanged and is still a defining feature of the 6GT, one that garners mixed opinions. The other styling highlights of this car are its uber cool frameless doors, which lift its premium quotient up a notch; however, the soft-close function is only reserved for the diesel M Sport version.

    Frameless doors up the premium quotient.

    BMW has introduced the sophisticated laser light technology in the 6GT M Sport variant, and these can be identified by the blue accents on the headlamp cluster. What’s interesting is that both high and low beam are laser lights, and these have an adaptive function that not only switches to low beam automatically when it detects oncoming traffic, but it’ll also turn up the beam to a certain degree with the steering angle for better visibility. In summary, these do an incredible job of illuminating the road at night, and what’s really impressive is that BMW claims that these can throw light up to 650m in high beam.

    M Sport variant gets laser light tech, marked out by the blue accents in the headlamps. 

    2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo: what is it like inside?

    Step into the bright and airy cabin, and the 6GT immediately impresses with its top-notch quality and levels of fit-finish. The lacquered wood, matte silver highlights and ambient lighting strips are tastefully executed, and now with the larger twin 12.3-inch screens – one for the instrument cluster and the other for the infotainment – the overall design looks properly modern. Speaking of which, the instrument cluster has been upgraded from being part-digital to a full-digital unit, and the infotainment screen has grown in size and packs in more features, like an advanced voice command system, as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Sound quality has been upgraded, too, with a new 16-speaker Harman Kardon system. Other features include paddle shifters, a panoramic sunroof, four-zone climate control, gesture control and an iDrive controller for the infotainment system, driver’s seat memory, ambient lights, drive modes and wireless charging to name a few.

    There’s a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto (and Apple CarPlay) this time.

    Shifting focus to one of its talking points – its rear seat. Firstly, getting in and out is quite easy due to the wide opening door cavity, the placement of the rear seat, and the option to raise the car by 20mm, thanks to its air suspension (more on that later). Once seated, you’ll appreciate the sheer amount of space on offer – knee-, leg- and headroom are in abundance. What’s nice is that thigh support is spot on and the seatback reclines by 9 degrees to a comfortable angle (E-Class offers a 37-degree recline); the soft pillows on the headrest further enhance comfort. Rear passengers get motorised window blinds to block out the sunlight or for some privacy and they also have the luxury to set different temperatures on the climate control on each side. Also on offer are two 10.25-inch infotainment screens that can operate exclusively, and what’s unique is that, in addition to USB, HDMI and screen mirroring options, a Blue-ray (CD/DVD) player is also included. However, not all’s perfect, and the rear armrest is placed a bit too high for comfort, and although there are multiple charging provisions at the rear, there isn’t a wireless charging pad here like in the E-Class. And then there’s the electric notchback that opens up to a cavernous 600-litre boot; however, with the spare wheel placed on the floor, cargo area is severely hampered.

    Rear seat passengers will appreciate the space on offer; backrest reclines by 9 degrees.

    2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo: what is it like to drive?

    Engine and transmission duties are carried out by a 258hp/400Nm four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmitting power to the rear wheels, just like the 2018 version. Owners will love this engine’s smooth and refined character, as well as the strong manner in which it delivers performance. What’s more is that this free-revving motor spins all the way till its 6,800rpm redline rather effortlessly. With three driving modes – Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport – the car changes its character from being a docile cruiser to a quick sprinter at the touch of a button; you also have the option to leave it in Adaptive mode where it examines the driving behaviour and adjusts the responsiveness, damping, steering weight, and more, automatically. The 8-speed torque converter is quick, seamless and intuitive at all times, so you’ll seldom find the need to take over manual control using the paddle shifters.

    While smooth and refined, the 258hp 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the 630i also puts out a strong performance.

    Unlike the Mercedes E-Class, which offers air suspension only in the top-spec E 350d variant, the 6GT offers it as standard across the range. Despite riding on 19-inch wheels, ride comfort is supple, and this car cushions the cabin from all but the sharpest of road surfaces, keeping unwarranted thuds and road shocks at bay. You can even manually raise the ride height by 20mm for easier ingress/egress or to cross unusually large speed breakers (up to speeds of 35kph); it also lowers the ride height from standard by 10mm at the press of a button or when speeds cross 120kph. Sport mode stiffens things up a bit, and when you up the pace, it nicely wraps itself around the driver, masking its size well. Show it a set of corners, and even though there is a more roll compared to the 5 Series sedan, with a 50:50 weight distribution and a sharp turn-in, the 6GT infuses great confidence in the driver when being driven hard, something we’ve come to expect from all BMWs.

    When you up the pace, the 6GT nicely wraps itself around the driver, masking its size well.

    2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo: should I buy one?

    The new M Sport variant in the petrol line-up and the new kit on offer certainly come at a price. At Rs 67.90 lakh (introductory price) for the 630i M Sport variant, this BMW is much more expensive when compared to the 530i sedan that’s priced at Rs 56.00-61.50 lakh and a bit pricier than the new E-Class E 200 petrol, priced at Rs 63.60-67.20 lakh. The 630i, however, has a stronger engine than the E-Class, gets air suspension, and strikes a great balance between sporty driving manners and a comfortable chauffeur-driven experience. The backseat is easy to get in, it is spacious and comfortable, the ride quality is supple, and equipment levels are generous too. And now, with the facelift and M-Sport treatment on the outside, the 6 Series has certainly become a lot more appealing than before.

    All prices, ex-showroom, India

    Also read:

    2021 BMW 630i Gran Turismo video review

    BMW 630i detailed road test

    2021 Mercedes E-Class review

    BMW 330Li review

    Tech Specs

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