BMW’s all-new Gran Coupe is an exotic love child born of two rich gene pools. Its mother, a BMW sports car. Its father, a BMW luxury sedan. The result: a new breed of luxury automobile. So new is this auto genre, that it does not have a formal name yet. I call them executive fastbacks.
Some cars have many competitors. The Gran Coupe, only has three – a Porsche, a Mercedes and an Audi. These are not typical four-door luxury sedans. Carriage builders have been sport-tuning their large sedans for decades. What makes the BMW Gran Coupe series (and its competitors) unique is the blending of low, aerodynamic coupe lines with long, four-door sedan wheelbases.
Mercedes ignited this eye-catching genre with its gorgeous CLS sedan. The CLS stole the profile and curves from a swooping two-door, and pressed them into a four-door, big-dollar beauty rocket. Porsche soon followed suit with its four-door Panamera, a mutant that could not be more obvious in its attempt to pose as a two-door. The Panamera looks like a classic Porsche from some angles, and from other angles, it looks like, well, something else.
BMW and Audi have both followed suit, though with more graceful fastbacks than Porsche. We were privileged to spend some time in BMW’s variant of this new luxury-sport genre, the Gran Coupe. We are pleased to report the Gran Coupe looks drool-worthy from every vantage point.
At the wheel and throughout the cabin, this long, sleek sedan matches its pleasant lines with exceptional handling and comfort. The base Gran Coupe scuttled about town at the behest of powerful inline six, good for 315 horsepower. That’s more than enough power for most people. Then again, the people who fork over $70K+ for an executive fastback are not “most people.” Many will opt for the larger V-8 engine, dubbed the 650i. The larger engine pushes 445 horsepower and can be had in all-wheel drive. Yes, please, on both.
BMW claims to do just one thing: “Build the ultimate driving machine.” The cockpit of the Gran Coupe affirms this focus in every touchable component. Sure, the passenger seats are comfortable, but this is a captain’s car, to be sure. With a three-spoke steering wheel, elegantly designed center stack and digital gauges, the Gran Coupe bleeds purist passion.
Options? There are too many to list, but we will recommend two. The Driver Assistance Package includes lane departure warning, too many cameras to list, blind spot monitoring and speed limit information. It’s quite handy. The Executive Package (well named) includes soft-close doors (yes, that is a thing), more climate control than Al Gore could dream of, ventilated seats and a heads-up display.
The only bad news about the Gran Coupe is obvious. When you cram four doors into the profile of a two-door, you are left with a ridiculously shaped backseat. This is true of all executive fastbacks. It’s part of their allure, really, the impracticality of a vehicle built for performance.
Don’t get me wrong, the backseat of the Gran Coupe is better than the back seat of a Civic. But no executive fastback is going to be as comfortable for the aft passengers as a normal sedan, because normal sedans are designed with passengers in mind. Executive fastbacks are designed with, well, executives in mind.
If you are one such executive. Or someone else with plenty of money and fewer passengers, then the new executive fastback genre offers some gorgeous driving options. We recommend the Gran Coupe as one of the best examples.