Lisbon, Portugal - Even for a firm that specialises in carving out ever-new car niches, the quirky-styled BMW 5 Series GT seemed like the answer to a question no one was asking.

Now this hatch-coupe mashup has been revealed in its second-generation guise and renamed the 6 Series GT. Its purpose, says BMW, is to combine luxurious interior comfort with flexible practicality.

While it still seems like a car that’s a little uncomfortable in its own skin - like it can’t decide whether it wants to be a hatchback or a coupe - it’s noticeably sleeker and less frumpy than the 5 Series GT it replaces.

Along with a lower rear roofline that gives it more of a fastback design, it’s also roomier than before. Built on the same platform as the 7 Series, the new 6 Series GT is a large car that comfortably seats full-sized adults in the front and back, and under the electrically-opening tailgate is a boot that’s been enlarged from 500 to 610 litres (expanding to 1800 litres with the seats flipped down).

Graceful ride

Despite the extra space BMW has shaved around 150 kg off the weight and improved the aerodynamics, which benefits both driving dynamics and fuel consumption.

At the media launch in Portugal it carved the bends with a fleet-footed feel for its size, though you can always feel it’s a large car. It delivers a graceful ride, thanks partly to self-levelling air suspension at the rear axle. Ride comfort can be further enhanced by opting for the adaptive suspension which features front and rear air suspension plus Dynamic Damper Control.

With the full air suspension the vehicle’s ride height can be manually increased by 20mm at the touch of a button to negotiate dirt tracks or steep ramps.

The cabin adopts BMW’s latest, more upper-class look with a more interesting choice of materials including the textured wood that’s become de rigeur in upper-class cars.

SA release in November 2017 

South Africa will get two versions when the 6 Series GT goes on sale here during November in two six-cylinder versions: the 630d and 640i xDrive, each with eight-speed Steptronic auto transmission. They’re available in standard, Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport trim.

The rear-wheel drive 630d makes outputs of 195kW and 620Nm, for claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 6.1 seconds, a governed 250km/h top speed, and fuel consumption of 5.6 litres per 100km.

The three-litre turbopetrol engine in the all-wheel drive 640i musters 250kW and 450Nm which is good for 0-100 in 5.3 seconds and a 250km/h max, and is claimed to sip 8.5 litres per 100km.

Driver aids such as active cruise control, lane keeping assist and remote parking are available at extra cost.

PRICES: (standard models)

630d 195kW/620NmR1 084 378
640i auto250kW/450NmR1 123 350

Drive 360