Published on July 24th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair0
BMW 630i GT Review: Objectively Awesome
If you look back at some of my older work here, the BMW 6 GT served as a bit of a punching bag. It represented what BMW had become rather well. It had little respect for its lineage and traditions and it just reeked of some really poor nomenclature decisions. It came as a bit of a surprise when BMW Malaysia announced that it would be locally assembling the 630i GT next to their 5-Series in Kulim. And for just RM450,000 at that!
Yes, RM450,000 is a lot of money, but it’s extremely inexpensive for a vehicle bearing the ‘6-Series’ badge. These often cost between RM650,000-RM800,000. To be honest, though, this new 6GT is more of a direct replacement to the discontinued 5GT model.
And that used to cost nearly RM700,000 back when it was available, so whichever way you slice it, the new 630i GT appears to be the luxury bargain of the decade. That being said, the 5GT used to come fully imported and with a 6 cylinder engine, so you were paying more for tangible differences from a locally-assembled 5-Series.
I personally haven’t driven the 530i (but I have the 530e), so I can’t say with confidence if the 630i’s appreciably better to drive. But I’m confident that it does have higher utility.
What’s even better is that just like the new X3, this rather large 6GT has the athleticism and urgency of a much smaller, much lighter vehicle. Just like that vehicle, this new 6-Series is just as comfortable as it is communicative. It’s truly amazing what BMW’s engineers have done here. The car retains the flow and leanness we’ve come to love about BMW, but raises the bar with regards to how it performs.
It’s still a little bit strange that we’re finding 2-litre inline 4 petrol engines in vehicles like this, but the tuning of the motor leaves little to be desired. It manages to pull endlessly, offering acceleration at any speed.
It does not, however, have the effortless big-heartedness of a larger displacement engine. The power is still pretty much hiding up there above 3,000RPM. So for a car with “GT” in the name, it really lacks For the best balance of fuel efficiency and power, the “cost” is pretty minimal.
Here’s where my problem has always been with this generation of the 6. It attempts to project an image of a car above its station. Had BMW pushed the envelope with regards to looks, they probably could’ve gotten away with it. But we have seen this shape a generation ago on the 5-Series GT. The 6 GT just massages a few lines and appropriates the identity. From the outside looking in, it feels like this 6-Series is just a consequence of BMW’s restructured nomenclature, where the space occupied by the 6 now fits 8-Series models.
But that’s just the first layer of problems we have in this category. We’ve got our shovel ready, so let’s dig a little deeper.
The second issue is the lack of progress from the previous generation of BMWs. We took a photo of this next to the car it replaces, the 5 GT.
Yes, there’s a difference, but it’s hardly the revolution we saw on the last two generations of BMW models.
From afar, the cabin looks actually pretty great. In fact, there are elements of this dashboard that are genuinely quite good.
The floating display, for instance, with customisable elements was quite nice and intuitive.
And we also appreciate just how well BMW made use of the space to create a really comfortable and premium space. Whether at the rear or in front, the seats are incredible.
But once you zoom into the details, there’s a sense of excessiveness and maybe even a little tackiness to the interior. The seats feature not just piping and double stitching, but extremely intense cross pattern stitching down the middle too. I mean, it’s intricate and shows an element of complexity, but isn’t it a bit… much?
Then you have elements like the letters ‘GT’ being embossed onto the trim. We saw this in the X3 too. Hardly subtle, and not something we’d expect to see even a generation ago. Pair this to the custom coloured interior LEDs and the 6GT is starting to feel very detached from its sombre roots.
Even the pedals are designed to look a little too over the top. A simpler brushed aluminium look would have sufficed, but these seemingly alien-themed M Sport pedals were installed instead.
And that’s really strange because when you look elsewhere, you can see restraint and fluidity in equal measure. Why this isn’t applied consistently throughout is the big mystery.
There’s a reason the BMW 6GT ended up winning the luxury sedan category (though sedan isn’t exactly what it is). Despite its flaws, despite being very different from 6’s of the past and despite the general direction of modern BMWs, the car’s fundamentally impressive.
It sets the benchmark for comfort, handling and utility for the luxury four-door segment. And it does that while trying to juggle an identity crisis without asking for an excessive amount of money. If you’re unaffected by the subjective problems this car presents, the 6GT is objectively awesome.
BMW 630i GT M Sport Specifications
Engine: Inline 4, Twinscroll Turbocharged direct injection petrol
Gearbox: 8-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 258hp @ 5000rpm
Max torque: 400Nm @ 1550rpm
Top Speed: 250 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.3 seconds