HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. | Seventy automotive scribes gathered for the annual Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Fall Rally to drive the auto industry’s 2013 product line last week.
The event is one of two such rallies held in spring and fall to showcase manufacturers’ new vehicle lineup to the Chicago-based automotive media organization.
To open the 2013 model year, automakers brought 70 cars, trucks, crossovers and sport utility vehicles for journalists to test drive on urban roads and highways in the metro-suburban area northwest of Chicago.
Among the many vehicles I tested was the 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe.
The 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe opens new doors to styling with a four-door coupe that ushers a quartet of adult occupants to its swanky cabin through four doors harbored beneath the sleek coupe-like roofline. Three adult passengers in the rear quarters are best reserved for cross-town jaunts.
Arrival of the 6-Series Gran Coupe adds the next-generation sedan to the BMW portfolio.
The 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe’s graceful silhouette is created by a low-profile roofline that arches from a steep-raked windshield to the full length of the car’s passenger compartment.
Absence of side window door frames and tapered rear-side glass compliment Gran Coupe’s youthful appearance. A sharp-creased beltline highlights the profile from its muscular front wheel arches to the sculpted rear fascia and exquisite tail lamp treatment.
A classy Gran Coupe emblem fixed on a racy checked flag field is prominently displayed behind the rear side glass.
BMW’s new 6-Series Gran Coupe concurs 4.4-inches of overall length over its two-door coupe brethren, which translates to increased legroom for rear passengers set in a beautifully appointed fine-grain Merino leather interior.
However, back seat headroom suffers for riders over six-feet tall due to Gran Coupe’s rear tapered roof. All doors open wide of easy access.
Front and rear seats are contoured and well-cushioned to meet the comfort demands of a daily commute or cross-country trip.
Generous trunk space also becomes the benefactor of Gran Coupe’s added length capable of swallowing oversize luggage or cargo. A set of clubs also fit.
The base 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that builds 315 horsepower. All-wheel drive comes with the 650i xDrive Gran Coupe model.
I tested the 4.4-liter turbo V8 Gran Coupe that generates 445 hp managed by an 8-speed automatic transmission to yield fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon in town and 25 mpg on the highway.
The transmission features BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control with automatic Sport and Manual Modes operated by steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for precise driver-directed control.
Sport Mode transmits a noticeable amount of road feel from its taut suspension setting. Dialing to the “comfort” setting affords a more compliant ride quality. Steering communication with the road is precise and agile in any mode.
The 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe is built in Dingolfing, Germany, base priced at $86,500. Add $895 for freight.