The 6er’s last stand will determine its fate in the future

The turn of the year marked the official demise of the BMW 6 Series in the U.S. But while it will no longer be offered in the U.S. market, the 6er will live on on the other side of the Atlantic. Proof of that comes in the form of new spy photos our eagle-eyed photographers culled of the soon-to-release, mid-cycle 6 Series Gran Turismo. Prototypes of the updated 6 Series GT have been spotted sporting barely enough camouflage to cover its entire body. A few physical changes are expected to come for the facelifted model, including some design cues that we’ve already seen in other new Bimmer models. The updated BMW 6 Series GT is scheduled to hit the market in the middle of 2020 as a 2021 model. It stands as the last 6 Series model in the market.

Exterior

  • New headlamps
  • Bigger kidney grille
  • New front and rear bumpers
2021 BMW 6 Series GT
- image 874792

The updated BMW 6 Series GT sits in a precarious position.

As the last standing member of the 6 Series family, the 6er GT isn’t expected to have a long life.

Heck, it might even be discontinued after this version hits the market, officially ending — at least for now — the 6 Series line. But as sad as that is to think, the reality is that the 6 Series GT is still around, at least over in Europe. And while it’s still here, BMW will do whatever it can to make sure that the model sells well in those markets. Part of “making sure” that this happens is giving the updated 6 Series GT a fresh, if not up-to-the-times, look that’s infused with current design bits already in use among other BMW models.

We see parts and pieces of that in this new batch of spy photos of the upcoming 6 Series GT. The noticeable lack of camouflage gives us a good look at the model’s body and very little has changed as far as the GT’s overall profile. The swept-back rear section remains one of the sedan’s most noticeable design characteristics. You’ll also notice that the GT’s shoulder and body lines are still there, the latter of which still cuts down toward the body before slowly rising as it approaches the rear doors. Even the distinctive look of the 6 Series GT’s side mirrors remain the same. All of this explains why BMW didn’t bother wrapping this section of the 6 Series GT prototype’s body. Since there’s nothing new to hide, why waste precious camo wraps hiding something that everyone already knows about?

2021 BMW 6 Series GT
- image 874797

On the other hand, the parts that are covered in the swirly livery hide the new design details.

Starting in the front, we can see hints at revised headlights that look thinner and tighter compared to the headlights of the current 6 Series GT.

The shape still looks the same, but the actual composition of the lights is different now, specifically the addition of the horizontal, fork-looking LEDs that are replacing the hook LEDs from the current model. Bimmer’s famous kidney grille looks a tad bigger, too. Don’t be surprised if BMW adapts the merged-kidney look on the 6 Series GT. We’ve already seen it in the new 3 Series and 7 Series models. If the 6er GT isn’t long for this world, then BMW might as well dress it up to fit its current design language. The front bumper appears to carry a few redesigned bits as well. It’s hard to make out the extent of the changes in the air intakes, but don’t be surprised if it’s also been tweaked to look more streamlined with the rest of the changes in this section of the sedan.

2021 BMW 6 Series GT
- image 874796

Changes in the rear section are less noticeable. The rear bumper is also new relative to the old one and we can see new exhaust tips peeking from the bumper cutouts. The taillights aren’t covered so the assumption there is that Bimmer’s going to carry over that design to the new 6 Series GT.

Interior

  • Possible new infotainment system
  • Likely new instrument cluster
  • Layout and space remains the same
2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo High Resolution Interior
- image 720240
Don’t expect too many changes in the interior of the updated BMW 6 GT.

That’s as much as we know, and the lack of any noticeable shots of the cabin from all the spy photos we received suggests that the new GT’s interior will look all-too-familiar to a lot of people.

Guess what, though? That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If there’s one thing that nobody can say about the 6 Series GT, it’s that it has a cramped interior. Lounging around in the cabin of the sedan will not only make you feel good about yourself but it’ll also make you wonder why BMW is ditching the 6 Series line completely. It doesn’t matter if you sit in the front or back of the car; the seats are awesome and there’s enough space for you to really get comfortable. Electric front seats should still come as standard, though you can upgrade for the more plush ones among a plethora of upgrades that BMW should continue to offer to its clientele. You can even score a back-seat option pack that also includes rear entertainment screens and heated back seats, among other goodies.

The 6er GT’s dashboard should still look the same, too. You’ll get the usual trim of wood, leather and metallic accents, created and refined to meet Bimmer’s incredibly high standards of craftsmanship.

2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo High Resolution Interior
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If there are changes to expect, they should come in the forms of an updated iDrive infotainment system and, potentially, improvements to the instrument cluster. It’s unclear as to what extent these changes or improvements come in, but let’s hope for improvements in the gesture control system. The current system was a tad too complicated to handle and it was prone to flakiness at certain points. The rest of the system’s features should take some getting used to, especially if you’re the type who prefers to just drive in peace without having to be reminded of your day-to-day schedule.

Overall, the current BMW 6 Series GT’s interior is about as comfortable a space as you can find in this segment. The tech can get a bit unnerving if you’re driving the car, but once you get the hang of it, then there shouldn’t be any problems. Besides, it’s not like you didn’t ask for this kind of sophistication. If you’re going to buy the updated BMW 6 Series GT, all of that comes with the cost of your purchase.

Drivetrain

  • Multiple engine options
  • Current engine lineup will remain
  • Possible addition of hybrid powertrain
2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 720237

The new BMW 6 Series GT should come with the same engine lineup that’s offered in the current model. There are a handful of engine options to choose from, including gasoline and diesel varieties.

The base version 630i model is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine that produces 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission routes the power to the rear wheels, enabling the sedan to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds. It’s not particularly slow, but it’s not going to set speed records, either. Opt for something that packs more punch and that should lead you to the 640i, which also comes in xDrive form. It’s powered by a bigger 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine that produces 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The same eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard on the 640i, and it’s capable of pushing the 6er from a standstill position to 62 mph in just 5.4 seconds. The all-wheel-drive xDrive version is 0.1 seconds faster.

Like most big sedans in Europe, the 6 Series GT is available with diesel engines. The most basic of the lot is the 620d, which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel unit that produces 188 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It’s the least powerful version of the 6 Series GT and the performance numbers reflect that. This version can go from 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds, and that’s even with the help of Bimmer’s trusty eight-speed ZF transmission.

2021 BMW 6 Series GT
- image 874801

More powerful diesel versions are also available. The 630d and 640d are powered by the same 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces different states of power depending on the version you choose. The 630d and 630 xDrive’s turbodiesel engines produce 261 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque while the 640d xDrive’s inline-six diesel unit produces 315 horsepower and a whopping 502 pound-feet of torque. Therein lies a noticeable gap in performance between the 630d and the 640d. The former can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds (6.0 seconds for the xDrive version) whereas the latter can cover the same ground in just 5.3 seconds.

All these engines should still be available on the updated BMW 6 Series GT. That’s not the real news, though.

Word has it that BMW is also considering adding a hybrid version into the mix, possibly with the 3.0-liter six-cylinder gas engine joining forces with an electric motor.

We’re already familiar with this setup from the BMW 7 Series 745e, and in that model, the hybrid unit produces a total of 389 horsepower with up to 36 miles of all-electric range. If this hybrid powertrain finds its way into the 6 Series GT — we’re optimistic that it will because Bimmer wants to sell a lot of these models — then it could come with the same power and performance figures.

BMW 6 Series lineup specifications
BMW 6 Series GT Models Engine Horsepower Torque Drive Type 0 to 62 MPH Top Speed
630i 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine 255 horsepower 295 pound-feet of torque Eight-speed automatic 6.3 seconds 155 mph
640i 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine 335 horsepower 332 pound-feet of torque Eight-speed automatic 5.4 seconds (5.3 seconds with xDrive) 155 mph
620d 2.0-liter inline-four turbodiesel 188 horsepower 295 pound-feet of torque Eight-speed automatic transmission 7.9 seconds 155 mph
630d 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel 261 horsepower 457 pound-feet of torque Eight-speed automatic 6.1 seconds (6.0 seconds with xDrive) 155 mph
640d xDrive 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel 315 horsepower 502 pound-feet of torque Eight-speed automatic 5.3 seconds 155 mph

Prices

2021 BMW 6 Series GT
- image 874791

BMW hasn’t released pricing details for the upcoming BMW 6 Series GT. That’s to be expected given that information like that isn’t released until the model debuts. In the meantime, you can assume that the updated 6 Series GT’s pricing wouldn’t be such a leap from the prices of the current model. With that in mind, the current 6 Series GT is priced in the U.K. from £43,910 - £59,010 depending on the trim. Over in Europe, prices start at €66,500 while here in the U.S., the 6 Series GT sold from $70,300 to around $93,000, at least when it was still available.

Competition

Porsche Panamera

2018 Porsche Panamera High Resolution Exterior
- image 681041

The BMW 6 Series GT occupies a space in a segment that’s filled with worthy rivals. No more is that evident than in the presence of the mighty Porsche Panamera. The German saloon is considered one of the best models in its class, and it’s hard not to see why. It’s fun to drive if you’re the driver and it’s relaxing if you’re a passenger. The Panamera also boasts a healthy engine lineup that starts with a 2.9-liter V-6 engine that produces 330 horsepower. Opt for the Panamera S and you stand to benefit from the same V-6 unit, only it’s been tuned to produce a whopping 440 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. The Panamera Turbo is the quintessential favorite in the lineup, thanks in part to its 4.0-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. If you’re the type who loves the environment, you can opt for the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, which pairs the aforementioned V-6 engine with an electric to develop 462 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. All these engines make the Panamera one of the best models in its class, and it’s certainly priced like one, too. If you’re thinking of buying one, you need at least $85,000 for the opportunity to scoop one up.

Read our full review on the 2020 Porsche Panamera

Audi A7

2019 Audi A7
- image 770776

The Audi A7 is a more direct competitor to the BMW 6 Series GT. You can see that in how the A7 is designed with the same long sloping roof. There are differences, though, in the way both models are packaged. That puts the onus on picking one over the other in terms of looks on the you, the buyer. Under its hood, the A7 is powered by a 3.0-liter six-pot that pumps out a cool 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. If you want even more power, you could opt for the Audi S7 with a 4.0-liter V-8 and 450 ponies on tap or go all out with the RS7 and its 560-horsepower goodness. Either way, the Audi A7 is a worthy rival to the 6 Series GT, though if you’re in the U.S., that choice becomes moot because the Bimmer isn’t available anymore. But the A7 is available, so if you want one, call your bank and tell them you’re going to spend anywhere from $68,800 to $76,550 for an A7. Go for the S7 and you’re going to spend $82,900 while the range-topping RS7 will set you back a tidy $110,700.

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi A7

Conclusion

2021 BMW 6 Series GT
- image 874802

The BMW 6 Series GT is a good car. Sure, it traces its roots from the 5 Series Gran Turismo, but the 6er GT does come with a style and technology refresh together with a longer wheelbase and more interior room. All these aspects work in favor of the 6 Series GT, but unfortunately, there is a cloud hanging over the 6 Series GT that’s not going away anytime soon. Simply put, the 6 Series GT is a lame-duck model. It’s the last remaining 6 Series model in the market, and the arrival of the BMW 8 Series has made the model irrelevant, at least that’s the case in the U.S. market. It’s unclear how long BMW will keep the 6 Series GT, but this update shows that it could have a few more years left in the market. Whatever happens after that is anyone’s guess, but based on Bimmer’s recent moves, don’t expect the 6 Series GT to last beyond its current generation. It’s a bummer to think that you’re buying a model that’s not long for this world, but at least you can still score one for a cheaper price than have to spend more on the 8 Series. Such perks appear to have an expiration date.

  • Leave it
    • It’s not avaialble in the U.S.
    • It’s the last of what is already a deceased breed
    • Why would you a buy a model that’s walking dead?
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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