Pleasantville pops up fairly regularly on a map of the US. States such as Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Pennsylvania and even Hollywood has one (although their one is set on TV and back in the 1950’s). To me, the thought of living somewhere ‘pleasant’ has a great appeal, it doesn’t sound too stressful or overtaxing, just hot summer days with a lazy ice tea on the veranda and shooting the breeze with good friends…
Alright, it does sound a bit dull. However, somewhere equally congenial and yet far more engaging is the front seat of BMW’s new 6 Series Gran Turismo.
Dressed in a virginal white on 20” alloys, my first reaction to the BMW 640i Gran Turismo was that it was quite the sight. It’s lower and wider than the 5 series GT that it replaces but maintains the same length (a shade over 5 metres long). Its front has all the trappings of the new 7 Series while the rear adopts elements of the 5 Series (funny that, since it’s it’s slap bang in the middle). The M-Sport package came as standard and included such niceties as M-sport brakes and M exterior styling. LED headlights, adaptive high beam, parking assist, 3D tail lamps and a retractable spoiler (that offers additional downforce as you move into treble digits but can also be activated manually via a button near the gearstick).
The model I had been given sported a few (ok a lot of) optional extras too, such as adaptive 2 axle air suspension (that I could raise and lower to my heart’s content), comfort package (that included a heated steering wheel), Innovations package (with remote control parking) and Nappa leather.
The main thing about the Gran Turismo is that it’s roomy tourer (although BMW does actually have a Tourer which is a wagon). Let the auto tailgate raise, drop down the seats, and you’re presented with 1,800L of luggage space (610L with the seats up) and that is bags of room for your bags – or anything else you wish to carry. On the subject of space, the rear passengers have quite literally oodles of the stuff. Leg and headroom that would make a limo stand up and take notice all with a leather and Poplar Grain grey fine-wood trim finish satisfying all the snobs amongst you.
This is all very well and good, but it’s the driver’s seat that I found the most pleasant place to be. It’s multi, multi electronically adjustable. Bolsters, recline, incline and in fact sublime, seriously, if you can’t get comfy in this seat you may have a problem worth consulting your medical specialist about. Then there’s the tech. Huge head up display, above an adaptive digital instrument cluster. Hand ‘gesture’ motion, controls the audio department (which is supplied by Bowers and Wilkins), a beefy M sport steering wheel, shiny gear paddles, adaptive cruise control and a full-length panoramic roof to let the outside in, but only if I wanted to.
Under the bonnet is a 6 cylinder lump that offers up 250kW’s to play with and a rather substantial 450Nm of torque. 0-100 comes at a rather significant (yet deceptive) 5.3s, with reported consumption claims boasting 8.5l/100k. These numbers are actually quite impressive and yet the drive itself is more subdued, which I don’t mean in a bad way.
The cabin is quiet, very to be more exact and the ride is smooth and forgiving. The 640i xDrive (4 wheel drive system), combined with its sizable girth makes for a vehicle that seems to absorb the corners rather than take them, and on the open road, it’s a case of relaxing and going along for the ride. It’s not un-involving when you want it to be but on the whole, you tend to assume a more passive role, even on the commute to work.
There’s no argument that the 640i Gran Turismo is a big ride, but it carries it well. Visibility via the sculpted A-pillar is great and the sensors and 360-degree images that are presented on the 10.25” infotainment screen takes the stress out of tighter city maneuvering.
I spent nigh-on a week in the driver’s seat and mixed things up with trips that ranged from a couple of hours to a couple of minutes (I really must walk more) and enjoyed them all. Motorways were an excuse to recline a little further while traffic jams turned into more reflective ‘me time’ which I welcomed with open arms, I even found myself smiling and waving at other road users when merging, which is all very pleasant indeed.