Tom Crosby: BMW boasts beautiful interior for 2018 640 iDrive

Tom Crosby

In the automotive beauty contest held every year, BMW is a steady contender but never radical and never ugly.

However, just like how character and other attributes contribute to the overall beauty of a human, BMW is a top tier contestant every year for its plush, ergonomic, comfortable interiors and its heralded “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra.

Soft mocha-colored Dakota leather that warms the senses, flawless fit and finish, a two-section moonroof, Harmon Kardon sound that resonates acoustically and driving manners with muscle when needed resided in our test drive BMW 2018 640 xDrive Gran Turismo. It epitomized the meaning of a coupe-like luxury sedan and was made bigger and taller than the discontinued BMW 540 Gran Turismo to combat declining sales due to the buying tsunami for SUVs and trucks. The increased interior dimensions alone should up appeal to those who crave ample cargo and passenger space.

Of course, it all comes with a commensurate price – $84,010 that includes $14,315 in options needed for safety, technological connections, comfort and cabin mascara to highlight interior visual appeal with rich premium materials.

Our BMW 640 all-wheel xDrive used a 315-horsepower turbo-powered inline-six cylinder engine mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel mounted manual shifters. Acceleration was powerful and immediate enough for all highway maneuvers.

Driving enthusiasm comes with Driving Assistance Plus, Dynamic Handling, M Sport and Executive Packages totaling an extra $9,150. Drive modes included ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT, COMFORT+ and customizable ADAPTIVE. Result: Superb handling on 19-inch run-flat all-season tires and a ride atop double wishbone front suspension and rear air suspension as comfortable as sitting in your favorite lounging chair. The 10.25 inch dashboard touch-screen – also manipulated with BMW’s proven center spine knob – is rich with info and features.

Map graphics are sharp and easily scaled. Navigation feedback is real-time for weather, traffic, etc., although voice recognition can be spotty. Speed limit data is erratic on the screen and on a legibly improved heads-up windshield display easily viewed from an elevated seat position.

Parking aids are top-notch with 360-degree surround sensors to avoid dings in the parking lot and the parking assistant can park for you.

Other pluses include speed sensitive steering, a finger gesture control system that can activate some features and a tailgate that elevates with an under bumper foot swing. Top crash safety ratings are expected.

LIKES: Handling, ride, luxurious interior, driving modes, technology, quiet.

DISLIKES: Clunky stop/start, speed limit misreads, visors non-extendable.

BOTTOM LINE: Plenty of unique performance pluses and plushness for the price.

2018 BMW 640 xDrive Gran Turismo

Base price plus destination fee: $70,695 ($84,010 as tested)

Vehicle weight: 4,409 lbs.

Wheelbase: 120.9 inches

Length: 200.9 inches

Width: 74.9 inches

Engine: 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder twin turbo

Horsepower: 335-hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 1,380-5200 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic w/manual paddles

EPA rating averages: 20-mpg city, 28-mpg highway

Range: 18 gallons, premium

Performance: 0-60 in 5.1 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.