Updated BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo Lands (Thankfully) Outside the U.S.
- BMW is facelifting is unloved 6-series Gran Turismo hatchback model for global markets.
- The 6-series GT was dropped from BMW’s U.S. lineup already.
- We take a look back at its ungainly Gran Turismo predecessors.
BMW’s strangest car is getting a makeover. The unloved 6-series Gran Turismo is facelifted one last time, before the episode of misleadingly named “Gran Turismo” hatchbacks at BMW will likely come to an unceremonious end.
The front end looks noticeably sharper, with an aggressive shark nose and more angular headlights. The side view, on the other hand, remains virtually identical, and the same is true of the rear even though BMW claims there are “fewer lines.” Moreover, all engine variants now get the same trapezoidal tailpipes, a move that will sadden the enthusiast because it is yet another sign that the choice of powerplant is less important than ever in terms of visual distinction.
Functional advantages of the facelifted model include improved headlights with a laserlight option; the optional rear-wheel steering system now works at lower speeds, which improves parking performance; and BMW has upgraded the electronic nannies in the form of improved infotainment and driver-assistance systems. Under the hood, every engine is now fitted with a 48-volt hybrid system, and the portfolio still includes four- and six-cylinder diesel and gasoline units, which are exclusively mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.
We doubt the 6-series Gran Turismo has found enough of a success to warrant a successor, particularly since the model has been met with disdain on the U.S. market, where it has not been available for some time.
History of BMW’s Gran Turismos
As ungainly as the 6-series Gran Turismo looks, it is a proud achievement when compared to its predecessor, the 5-series Gran Turismo (pictured above). That car made it onto our list of 10 Ugliest Cars for Sale back in 2013. It first came to market in 2009 after a protracted gestation period, during which it morphed from the “Space-Functional Concept” to “Progressive Activity Sedan” in order to finally usurp the “Gran Turismo” designation.
Dubbed “a new concept not just for BMW, but for the entire automotive world,” it was fitted with two unique elements. First was a horrendously expensive and complex split tailgate, which could be partly or fully opened. And secondly, a thick partition was found between the passenger compartment and the trunk, which ate into the space on both sides. These features were unceremoniously dumped when BMW replaced the 5-series GT with the 6-series GT.
Unfazed by the ridicule for that very special 5-series, BMW proceeded to take the epitome of the sports sedan, the 3-series, and add a Gran Turismo derivative. The “weird hatchback,” as we called it last year, featured the long wheelbase of the China-market stretched 3-series sedan and a raised seating position and center of gravity.
Goodbye 3-series GT
BMW 3-series Gran Turismo Will Soon Be Gone
We know BMW North America was not particularly keen on adding the 3-series Gran Turismo to its lineup, and we bet no tears were shed when BMW announced there would be no successor to this very particular 3-series variant.
Have a look at the facelifted 6-series Gran Turismo, which we suspect will continue to do just fine as an airport and hotel shuttle. Give it a few more years, and then BMW may go back to focus even more on actual Gran Turismos—like its 4-series and 8-series coupes.
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Jens Meiners has covered the auto industry since 1996 and written for Car and Driver for much of that time. He is a juror on the World Car of the Year and International Engine of the Year and founder of German Car of the Year. Jens splits his time between New York and Nuremberg, where he keeps a growing collection of historic cars.