BMW 640D M Sport Coupe – Review
By Liam Bird
Were it not for a last minute email informing me that Friday’s driving event was cancelled, I would have been driving BMW’s latest 640d to North Wales. Snowdonia’s roads would have provided the perfect playground in which to find out whether or not – as the Bavarians claim – BMWs really do bring you Joy.
I could have called in at Ruthin too, to view the memorial to Tom Pryce, Wales’s as yet only, Formula 1 driver. That little excursion however, would have to wait for another day. Funny how it didn’t take Mrs B too long to come up with another way of spending what was now an unplanned long weekend.
Newcastle was to be our destination. A little shopping and a night on the “toon” were suggested. Brunch in Tebay services was to be my reward for playing chauffeur, and the chance to visit Lord Armstrong’s Victorian Mansion, Cragside – the first house ever to be lit by hydro-electrically powered light – meant my arm needed no further twisting.
Friday morning bright and early we pointed the 640d northwards. It used to be so easy. BMW’s numbers used to denote series and engine size. A 320 was a two litre 3-series and so on. That’s not the case now. The 640d hides a 3-litre twin-turbo diesel under its sculpted bonnet in a bid to keep performance up and the all important CO2 emissions down. The promise too of 53.1 MPG meant that although our journey was a long one it needn’t break the bank – well, not in fuel at least.
The first impressions you get of the 6-Series is just how precisely it’s constructed. The chunky door handle fills your palm and a long door swings open to reveal a beautifully trimmed, well appointed and nigh-on ergonomically perfect interior. Accommodation is strictly 2+2. The rear seats do allow just enough headroom for shorter passengers but if anyone up front is anything more than average height, legroom further astern is virtually non-existent.
As I guide the 640 out of town and towards some of my favourite roads, I switch the Adaptive Drive setting to ECO+ in a bid to eek out every last mile from the 70-litre tank. Madam busies herself by twiddling the I-drive, BMW’s all encompassing central control system, to sync the phones, tune the DAB, and set the sat-nav.
Neither of us fathoms how the optional internet works though – honestly, in a car? Speaking of options “our” 640d came with a whopping £11,780 worth of them. If 20 inch alloys float your boat they’re £1,100. Variable damper control costs the same. The Adaptive Drive system – the effects of which are still in question – will set you back £3,400, adaptive headlights another £1665.
Then there’s Surround View which employs wing-mounted cameras to help you out of obscured junctions. That’s £530. £630 please for upgraded speakers. And a head-up display too at £980. I have to admit I quite liked that one. I’d recommend the reversing camera too. At £330 it’s a snip and it’s virtually an essential. The 640d feels spacious on the inside. But it’s not until you attempt your first tight parking space in it that you realise just how big it really is.
Comfort seats, I can confirm, are worth every penny of their £830 asking price. Driving wise the 640d is everything you’d want a Grand-Tourer to be. The performance is effortless thanks to 313bhp and a seamless 8-speed gearbox. Lesser traffic is dispatched with ease. The steering does lack a little of a true sports car’s sharpness. But the sheer size of the 6 means you’re unlikely to go throwing it around. Although with all the safety aids switched off and Sport + deployed you can in indulge in as much over-steer as you desire.
The 6 series is as equally at home entertaining as it is munching the miles. Six hours and nearly 300 miles after starting out, the 6’s sat-nav guides me through Tyne-and Wear’s Friday rush hour and towards the hotel car park. Tomorrow I’ll drive to Cragside, further north still, before embarking on what inevitably will be an even longer drive home. Another grand tour it is then. Ultimately that’s what the 640d was made for.
BMW 640d M Sport Coupe
Engine: 2993cc 6Cyl Diesel twin-turbo
Power: 313bhp @ 4400rpm
Torque: 464lbft @ 1500rpm
Transmission: 8 speed auto, rear wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph 5.3 sec
Max Speed: 155mph
MPG: 51.4 Combined
Price: from £66,745 (car driven £78,525)