2018 BMW 640i Gran Turismo
BMW seems to on a mission to be all things to all people…or at all least to all luxury car buyers. So, in addition to being early adopters to the luxury SUV game, they’re now trying to fill every niche possible, including ones that only they seem to be competing in. Well, maybe that explains the 6 Series Gran Turismo; let’s see if there is a method to their marketing madness.
It’s hard to classify the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. It’s certainly not your typical sedan or hatchback; and don’t confuse it with the 6 Series Gran Coupe either. But, if you remember the 5 Series GT from 2010, think of this 640 GT as its replacement; or perhaps the closest thing to a 5-series wagon that we’re likely to get here in the states.
And like its predecessor, there’s an enormous amount of space inside, thanks to a 120.9-inch wheelbase that’s almost 4-inches longer than a 5 Series sedan.
It’s still a far cry from beautiful, but the design appears much more cohesive than before. The rear remains tall; but in profile, it now looks more like a traditional 5-door hatchback, and less like a truncated wagon.
The aggressive nose, and lots of taut body lines, are all BMW hallmarks, and BMW continues to have some of the coolest headlights out there. Standard wheels are 19s.
You’ll enjoy all of the roominess no matter which seat you find yourself in.
Those up front will also experience the typical BMW sporty cockpit feel; while those in back, will get full-size sedan amounts of legroom and headroom.
Interior design is similar to the 5 Series and just about every other BMW for that matter; high quality materials, large dash-top mounted infotainment screen, iDrive controller, electronic shifter, shift paddles on the wheel, rudimentary manual controls, and great looking wood trim.
And of course available niceties such as a head-up display, soft close doors, 3D surround view, heated seats and steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, and even remote control parking.
Under the power-operated rear hatch is a very wide opening, and 31.0 cubic-ft. of nicely finished space. Folding the seatbacks, ups it to 65.0 cubic-ft. Even though the swoopy roof will cut into cargo height, capacity is directly in between BMW’s X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles, and more than the bulbous looking X6.
Much like the 5 Series, it has the perfect balance of luxury and sportiness. Want to relax and cruise on the highway? It does that with true tranquility and silkiness. Want to whip it around your favorite back road? No problems there either; it stays very flat and responds immediately to every input.
Though our car was aided by the available Dynamic Handling Package, which adds Active Roll Stabilization and Integral Active Steering to the Dynamic Damper Control air suspension. It all works together to make the Gran Turismo’s 4,400-lbs. all but disappear through high speed sweepers.
The experience however was slightly different through our tight cone course. Here, the steering feels over-boosted, and we wished for more feedback from all parts of the car. Yet, grip remained fantastic throughout.
There was traction a-plenty for launching as well; and a launch mode that worked flawlessly, getting us to 60 in just 4.8-seconds.
Power pours on strong, and never lets up; despite a bit of a see-saw weight-transfer effect when the 8-speed automatic transmission triggers a shift. And a healthy bellow from the exhaust accompanied us for the entire 13.3-second trip through the ¼-mile, at which time we were travelling at 105 miles-per-hour.
Making all of this happen, is BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo engine; rated at 335-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. All-wheel-drive is standard.
There’s plenty of whoa to go along with the go. 99-feet was our average stopping distance from 60. We did experience some fade as the runs added up, but there is an awful lot of weight to bring to a stop that quickly.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 28-Highway, and 23-Combined. Our average on Premium was just about right on, at 23.2 miles-per-gallon. Making for an average Energy Impact Score, with yearly use of 14.3-barrels of oil, and C02 emissions of 6.4-tons.
Things are as simple as it gets when it comes to pricing; just one version of the Gran Turismo, starting at $71,195, to which you can add a host of options, either in package form or a la carte.
Well, if you were looking for a very luxurious ride with plenty of comfort and performance, there were already plenty of BMWs to choose from. Now you can add one more to the list, the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. It is the best of BMW sedans, SUVs, and hatchbacks, all rolled into one. We agree that the brand may indeed be slicing the marketing onion super thin, but if that means competing in a class of one, no one does it better than BMW
- Engine: 3.0 liter
- Horsepower: 335
- Torque: 332 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 105 mph
- EPA: 20 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 14.3 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.4 tons/yr
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined