BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe: launch build-up
MSN Cars is driving the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe this week - and not before time...
BMW’s long-awaited Mercedes CLS rival, the 6 Series Gran Coupe, finally arrives in June. Mercedes has had the four-door coupe sector sewn up since introducing the beautiful first-generation CLS back in 2004, and the entire model range benefitted from the halo effect of that near-perfect car.
Now on its second (less pretty) generation, the CLS continues to influence Mercedes model development, most recently with last month’s striking Concept Style Coupe concept car looking set to do what the CLS did for the executive car sector in the smaller junior executive sector. Mercedes might at last have just the car to give the BMW 3 Series a resounding fright – and all thanks to the ripple effect from the iconic CLS.
But, in all this time, BMW has not had a rival to it. Remarkable, given the competition between these two German powerhouses, but true. All it’s offered in this class is the BMW 5 Series saloon and Touring, plus the far less practical 6 Series Coupe and Convertible.
To blame? Model cycles. Mercedes caught BMW napping. It didn’t have the ability to respond swiftly, so had to wait for the new 5/6/7 Series platform to be launched before it could stretch it and make a convincing four-door model.
Audi was fortunate. Its own model proliferation policy meant the A6 platform was already able to take more variants. That’s how the A7 Sportback came to being. But, with all the cult-admiration will in the world, the avant-garde hatchback is no sensuous CLS rival.
The 6 Series Gran Coupe is. Indeed, given how Mercedes chose not to stick with the elegance of the original CLS with its Mk2 model, BMW arguably makes the prettiest four-door coupe of all. When looks are such a defining factor of these cars, this is important.
I know this because I saw it in the UK last December, at a private BMW function. Embargoes meant I couldn’t report on what I saw, but the impressions were such for me to very much look forward to seeing it in the metal out on the road.
Soon, I will. I’m writing from the plane to Italy, to drive the 6 Gran Coupe for the first time. I’ll report back later on my findings: for now, it’s running through the press pack and picking out the details.
One thing really stands out for now, though. BMW expects, in a full year, to sell just 700 6 Series Gran Coupe – compared to 1,000 6 Series Coupe and 400 6 Series Convertibles. In other words, the prettier and more practical model will sell half the number of the less flexible variants. Surely some mistake? Particularly given how even Porsche sells 1,000 Panamera in the UK each year?
Well, I’ll find out why later. Come back then for more views (and first drive impressions) on the 6 Series Gran Coupe.
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