It was rare enough that you may have only seen the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo in pictures. You’re all the better off if you weren’t forced to feast your eyes on the crime against automotive design that was the sixth-generation 5 Series’ hatchback.
With the new seventh-generation 5 Series, there is no Gran Turismo, at least not yet. But after suspending the coupe from the more expensive 6 Series range, BMW is once again expanding the 6 Series lineup with, that’s right, a Gran Turismo. Oddly,Â the 6 Series that’s least deserving of a GT tag now wears the badge, but fortunately this new BMW GT isn’t as offensive as the last.
Where isÂ the 6 Series Gran Turismo positionedÂ in the BMW hierarchy? Imagine, if you will, a buyer who wants more space than a regular BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (which is actually a sedan) but wants greater cargo flexibility than the BMW 7 Series affords; a buyer who doesn’t want a full-blown family friendly X5 “SAV” but requires a liftgate of some sort; a buyer who finds the X6 too tall. BMW now hasÂ a car for that buyer.
In America in the fall of 2017, that car will be the $68,895 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo, propelled by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.
Although the 6 Series is, at its core, a 5 Series, BMW doesn’t consider the 6 Series Gran Turismo the direct follow-up to the 5 Series that ended production earlier this year. “We are staying away from calling it a successor because the car has gotten substantially larger in size and the positioning has changed,” BMW spokesperson Alex Schmuck tellsÂ Automotive News.
Riding on a lengthy 120.9-inch wheelbase, the 6 Series Gran Turismo stretches 3.4 inches longer between bumpers than the old 5 Series Gran Turismo. Yet the 6 Series GT tips the scales with around 300 fewer pounds than the extinct 5 Series GT â€” a boon toÂ fuel economy, acceleration, and handling.
BMW says the 6 Series Gran Turismo’sÂ design is “coupe-inspired” and “combines the long-distance comfort of a luxury sedan with the aesthetic appeal of a coupe.” The roofline, BMW says, flows “like a coupeâ€™s into the rear.”In reality, the 6 Series GT is a big four-door hatchback, a car that more closely resembles the latest 5 Series than the 6 Series Gran Coupe. BMW’s discontinued 6 Series coupe, meanwhile, will effectively be replaced in the United States by the 8 Series. And with the 5 Series wagon not making its way to the U.S. and the 5 Series GT now becoming the 6 Series GT, the 5 Series is now a sedan-only car in America.
Maybe it’s not easy to keep it all straight. Perhaps it seems odd to think that BMW needs to fill the narrowest of niches with cars that lack a high degree of conventional beauty. But at the very least, can’t we be glad there areÂ choices? In the United States, BMW offers two 2 Series bodystyles, three 3 Series bodystyles, three 4 Series bodystyles, a 5 Series sedan, now three 6 Series options, a 7 Series sedan, plus five X models, the i3, i8, and Z4.
Still you gotta wonder how they’re going to squeeze a three-door shooting brakeÂ between the 6 Series and 7 Series. The BMW 6.5 Series just doesn’t have a pleasant ring to it.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.