Just as technology continues to evolve in the mobile industry, the same goes vehicles. Cars are increasingly becoming more technologically advanced to the point that they’re basically a smartphone on wheels.
For about a week or so, I got to test out the 2018 BMW 640i Gran Turismo which one of the company’s most tech-packed vehicle. Any sort of technology feature you would want in a car it has, from smartphone integration and navigation to self-parking and advanced cruise control.
From the outside, the BMW 6 Series GT looks similar to other BMWs. It has the company’s signature kidney grills and logo on the front. BMW’s GT series of vehicles combines the styling and agility of a luxury sedan with the cargo capacity of an SUV.
The trunk in the BMW 6 Series GT is fairly large, and the rear seats can fold down with the push of a button. One thing to note is that because of the sloping roof line, visibility out the rear window is slightly narrow.
The BMW 6 Series GT can seat 5 people comfortably. The driver and passenger seats have an optional massage seat function and can also be adjusted in so many ways. There are also air-conditioned and heated front seats in the model I tested.
The BMW 6 Series GT has two displays in the front. One is a digital instrument cluster that’s behind the steering wheel. The other is the main 10.25-inch iDrive Control touch display. The iDrive screen can be controlled via the iDrive controller, via touch or using your voice. There is also some gestures to control the volume and navigate through the interface but I didn’t find myself using them that often.
The iDrive controller makes it really easy to navigate through the interface, especially while driving. You can also use the top of the controller as a touchpad to draw out letters when searching for places.
The vehicle also came with a heads-up display for the driver that shows you your speed, navigation and whether your advanced cruise control and lane keep assist is active.
The BMW 6 Series GT model I tested had all the bells and whistles in terms of tech and safety features. One is the Advanced Driver Assistance Package which includes Steering and Lane Control and Lane Keep Assistant to help you stay between the lines, Evasion Assist, Cross Traffic Alert. It also included Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go, which allows you to set a certain speed and if another car comes in front of you, your vehicle will slow down.
To use the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assistant, it just takes one button (for each) on the left side of the steering wheel. And you can easily change your set cruise control speed using the small toggle below the buttons.
The vehicle also came with something called Parking Assistant Plus with Surround View which basically gives you a 360-degree view of your vehicle when reversing. It even creates a 3D model based on GPS location.
There is also a self-parking feature, which in order to use, you hold down the parking button and the vehicle will tell you to stop, take your foot off the brake and put the turn signal on and it will attempt to park the vehicle for you. I tried this feature a few times but it didn’t always want to activate when I slowed down near a parking space. But when it does work, it’s cool to see the vehicle park itself.
The BMW 6 Series GT also included another way to park your vehicle with the BMW Display Key and Remote Control Parking feature. The Display Key is a remote that has a touchscreen display that allows to set the car to a certain temperature before you get in as well as park in tight parking spaces. Basically, the Remote Control Parking feature allows you to do is move the vehicle forward or backwards at a slow speed to help you get into a parking spot that you may not be able to open your door in.
The vehicle also came with the Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System which is a $4,900 CAD option. The speakers in the 6 Series GT sounded great and gets super loud. You can also adjust some sound settings.
There is also a smartphone connectivity package that adds Apple CarPlay, Wireless Charging, Wi-Fi hotspot and USB ports. Unfortunately, BMW doesn’t Android Auto, I asked them what their position on Android Auto is and this is what they said:
Within Canada and North America as a whole, we know that our customer base is predominately iOS users. Additionally, the Android operating system offers the user a multitude of ways to change and personalize the interface, which could lead to discrepancies between the device and vehicle.
The BMW 6 Series GT is on the expensive side, it starts at $76,700 CAD but if you want any of the features I mentioned, you’ll have to pay extra.
- Premium Package – $6,500 CAD
- Universal Remote Control,
- Soft Close Doors Side and Rear Sunshades,
- Ventilated Seats Comfort Seats,
- Front Massage Function for Driver and Passenger,
- Ceramic Controls,
- Parking Assistant Plus with Surround View,
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner,
- BMW ConnectedDrive Services Professional
- Dynamic Handling Package – $4,900 CAD
- Integral Active Steering,
- Executive Drive
- Advanced Driver Assistance Package – $1,500 CAD
- Driving Assistant Plus,
- Steering and Lane Control,
- Evasion Assist,
- Cross Traffic Alert (Front),
- Active Cruise Control w/ Stop and Go,
- Lane Keep Assistant
- Remote Parking Package – $1,500 CAD
- BMW Display Key
- Remote Control Parking
- Smartphone Connectivity Package – $750 CAD
- Apple CarPlay
- Wireless Charging w/ Extended Bluetooth and USB
- Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Standalone options
- Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System – $4,900 CAD
- Ambient Air Package – $400 CAD
The total cost of the BMW 6 Series GT I tested was $97,150 CAD.
Software & Connectivity
The BMW 6 Series GT comes with BMW’s iDrive 6 System. As mentioned earlier, the iDrive interface can be controlled via the iDrive controller, using the touchscreen and voice.
On the main screen, you have your usual array of menus with Navigation, Media/Radio, ConnectedDrive, Communication, Notification and My Vehicle.
Navigation is where you’ll find maps and the ability to enter destinations. The map interface is nice to look at, with easy to read street names and traffic information.
Media/Radio shows your connected mobile devices and different radio options. ConnectedDrive is where you’ll be able to see the weather, news and contact BMW via their concierge service.
Communication is where you’ll be able to make calls and manage your phone. Notifications will show you messages from your smartphone. My Vehicle is where you’ll be able to make changes to the vehicle.
As mentioned earlier, the BMW 6 Series GT comes with Apple CarPlay (with the Smartphone Connectivity Package) which allows you to connect your iPhone directly to the car. Navigating through the iDrive interface is very easy, all the menus are large and can easily be read.
Voice control in the BMW 6 Series GT also works well. To use it, all you have to do is press the microphone button on the steering wheel. BMW’s voice recognition system works well, you can say a whole address without needing to say it in parts and you can even use voice control to send messages or make calls. You can access your phone’s voice assistant by holding down the microphone button.
Overall, the BMW 6 Series GT is a really nice vehicle that’s packed with lots of optional tech. But all that does come at a cost. I really wished that BMW included Android Auto, it’s also not only nice to have but what if when you bought the vehicle you had an iPhone but later you on you switch to an Android phone, you’re kind of stuck with only having only Apple CarPlay and no way to fully connect your Android device besides Bluetooth.
- iDrive is easy to use and navigate
- Driver assistant features like Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist work well and easy to use
- Voice control works well
- Navigation is crisp and easy to read
- 360 surround camera is nice
- No Android Auto
- Self-parking feature is a bit finicky and doesn’t always work
- Gestures are cool when they work