I swerved left to avoid a big pothole but the rear wheel went over it and I could hear a sound followed by dub-dub. I immediately knew what it meant.
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My Skoda Laura completed 10 years this year, and I was looking forward to upgrading to something better for a while now. I wanted something that was a step up in all regards while still maintaining that practicality that I’ve started to appreciate over the decade of owning the car. I was also clear that I wanted to stick with a sedan-like form factor. Furthermore, I also wanted to stick with a diesel if possible, as I did experience great efficiency & torque all through my ownership of the Skoda. I still look at EVs with mixed feelings, as I genuinely feel they are in their infancy, and it’ll take another decade or more to actually bring them on par with their fossil fuel counterparts.
With all of that said, the only option that was in front of me was a G30 BMW 530D at that time. It offered a torquey 6-cylinder diesel motor, was a sedan, and was slightly better in terms of space as well. The M340i might have been an option for me if I were single or did not have kids. The 320Ld while offering quite a punch in standard trim was still underpowered when compared to my tuned Laura. The 520d didn’t really excite me as well. The other suggestion I got was to look at the 6GT, with the notion that it offered a mix of practicality & performance, especially when compared to the 5 series.
In Oct 2022, I had the chance to see a brand-new GT 630D in the flesh. The interior space was amazing, and the car really felt like it was built for the highways. I still had to convince myself to put down approx 1cr for a brand-new car, and in that time, I saw that the 3-litre diesel was being taken off from both the 5 & 6GT. Was disappointed and felt I should have been taken the decision sooner. I then started looking at the classifieds to see if anything popped up for sale. That’s when I got to see fellow bhpian Mohit Tater’s 6 GT put up for sale. It was a 2021 model, in mineral white colour, had the 3-litre diesel motor, and had all the features including the 360-degree camera (which I believe got deleted in later variants).
I reached out to Mohit, got all my queries answered satisfactorily and I had made up my mind for the purchase. He’s a petrolhead himself, having owned a 60th anniversary Mini and an X1 in addition to the 6 GT. The car was purchased and maintained at BMW Bird Automotive, so that meant the complete service history was available with them. The car’s tyres were changed a few months back (running RFTs), as was the battery.
We both decided that we’d meet up in Gurgaon post-Diwali and take it forward from there. I flew down to Gurgaon on the 17th of Nov, and the car was given for a 360-degree checkup at Bird the same day. The report came out with a thumbs up, with the mention that the wiper blades need to be changed in some time and that the brake pads had 9mm of thickness left equating to a few thousand kms of usage. Monsoons are over in Bangalore, so I wasn’t too worried about the wipers. I was mentally prepared to get the pads changed as soon as I got the car, so no concerns there as well. The car was under warranty until May 2024, and I had the chance to extend it further before it expired. I only needed to think about purchasing the BSI package, which again I felt could be done after I purchased the car.
After their test drive, it was cleaned and delivered. In the meanwhile, we finished all the paperwork necessary at Birds with the help of Mohit’s contact from there. We went for a test ride the next day and I found that it was in mint condition, both internal and external. The leather still had that fresh smell of a new car inside and after having seen Mohit drive, I knew I had made the right choice. We then finished up the payment formalities and I had the keys to my now new BMW 6 GT!
The Driving Home Experience – Part 1
The feeling that I had actually purchased a BMW 6GT took a long time to sink in, and I was still overwhelmed. My plan was to drive the car back to Bangalore all the way from Gurgaon, a distance of approx. 2100kms. I know that sounds really crazy to drive an unfamiliar car cross-country. I felt this would be the best way to sample the car and get acquainted with her.
My original plan was to drive from Gurgaon to Nagpur the first day, take a break and then drive from Nagpur to Bangalore the second day. By the time we finished the formalities and dropped Mohit at his place, it was almost 10:45 am and Maps was showing 15hrs of driving to reach Nagpur. That would mean I’d reach there past midnight, so changed the plan to 3 days instead. Covering from Gurgaon – Narsingpur, Narsingpur – Hyderabad and then last day from Hyderabad – Bangalore.
The drive from Gurgaon towards Mathura was peaceful. After Mathura, the container truck traffic started picking up and it was just slow progress. I stopped somewhere after Morena for a late lunch, refuelled and proceeded towards Gwalior. It took another couple of hours to cross Gwalior and I was just frustrated with the amount of traffic on the road. The road quality was worse after Gwalior and Jhansi, with potholes appearing in strategic locations and you had no way of going around them but to slow down to a crawl. Around 7pm, I reached this place called Lalitpur and decided to stop as the roads were becoming worse and I was tired as well. Had a quick snack, and wiped the windscreen clean before resuming the journey. At this point, I was shown an ETA of 10:30pm to reach the hotel at Narsinghpur.
The roads were in poor condition all through and then disaster struck around 9:30pm. I was trying to avoid a pothole by keeping the wheels on either side and then saw another one appear to the right where the front would be. Swerved left to avoid that, but then the rear wheel went over that pothole and I could hear a sound followed by dub-dub. I immediately knew what it meant and stopped and checked the tyres. The right rear had burst open in the outer sidewall and I had to replace the tyre. Called up Mohit and apprised him of the situation, he also advised me to switch to the donut and proceed.
It was quite dark so it was a bit of a trial to place the tyre jack properly under the car. I had done this procedure twice on my Laura earlier, so was familiar with it. Thankfully, the wheel nuts weren’t too difficult to remove, and swapped out to the donut. I then remembered the advice from various forum members to keep the donut tyre pressure to 60psi, so proceeded slowly to find a station. Luckily found one close by and it was what the trucks use as well. Filled it up, then proceeded towards Narsinghpur keeping speeds below 70kph. The roads were still in terrible condition so was very watchful of the speeds and where I placed the wheels. In between spoke with Mohit, and he mentioned he’ll try to arrange for a new rear tyre to reach me. I made it to the hotel at midnight and just crashed.
In the morning, I checked for options in Nagpur – either BMW service centers or tyre shops that have this spec tyre in stock. Given it was a Sunday, most were unreachable, and the few who answered said they could only revert back on Monday. By then Mohit had arranged for a new rear tyre through his friend and said it would be sent via road transport from Jodhpur. It meant, that it would arrive by Monday evening and that implied I had to stay in Nagpur for one extra day.
While most sellers would call it a day after taking the payment, Mohit was super helpful all through this episode. Massive thanks to him for arranging the new rear tyre and getting it to me. Made it to Nagpur driving again keeping speeds below 70-75kph all through. Used the cruise control feature liberally to maintain that speed. Drove through the beautiful Pench forest section – the roads were concrete and were in good condition in stark comparison to the quality of NH-44 between Jhansi & Narsinghpur. As I approached Nagpur, the quality of roads improved drastically. Reached Nagpur towards the evening and checked in.
The tyre was sent via transport bus by Mohit’s friend and the bus was scheduled to reach Nagpur by 3pm. In the meanwhile, I wanted to check if there were other options, so I went to the BMW service center and enquired about the rear tyre availability. This was just as insurance and I was prepared for a no answer. To my surprise, they had it in stock and I purchased it as an insurance. Also, checked the tyre pressures for the other wheels, as well as the brake pad thickness to ensure I was covered for the rest of the journey. Grabbed some lunch post this, picked up the tyres sent by Mohit from the transport and then went to the tyre shop to get the rear tyre swapped.
Found a nearby store named Ajmera Tyres and got the work done. I also decided to get the wheel balancing and alignment done. They took approx an hour to balance and align the wheels and they did a great job. I saw they had the balancing & alignment equipment from Madhus. Now the TPMS system was constantly lit complaining that the tyre pressures couldn’t be recognized. Got that resolved by resetting the TPMS system after the wheel change. Got the car washed and waxed in preparation for the journey the next day. Visited a place called Ceramic King in Gokulpeth, Nagpur. The owner Vishal is a very detailed and knowledgeable person, and had some good conversations on cars and bikes when over there. If you are in Nagpur, and looking for a good detailing shop, definitely consider this place.
The Driving Home Experience – Part 2
Got some rest and started off from Nagpur at around 5:45am. A brand new rear tyre, with additional front and rear tyres as back up, gave me a sense of confidence. Also, the roads from Nagpur were turning out to be much much better. There were only a few areas where there was either some diversion due to road work, or bad patches. By now, I had learned the trick, so I would slow down completely whenever I saw bad patches irrespective of the depth of the potholes. I had originally planned to stop overnight at Hyderabad but then decided to take a chance as I heard the road conditions were much better from here onwards.
I covered a distance of approx. 1100kms from Nagpur hotel to my home close to 14hrs excluding the breaks. This is the part where I truly got to experience the 6 GT. What an impressive car she is. An amazing weapon on the highways. She’s built for such cross-country touring and is happy to just munch the miles whilst keeping the passengers comfortable, safe and fresh.
The car comes with the following driving modes
- Eco Pro
I used the Comfort/Comfort+ mode for most of the duration and with that the suspension was very compliant allowing very little of the undulations to filter through. There was a bit of body roll when changing lanes, and that meant the steering wasn’t as sharp, but you’ll get used to that by applying the right amount of force to effect the lane change. I tried out Sport mode in some places where I could see arrow-straight roads and boy was that fun. You could feel the car lowering by an additional 10mm in Sport mode, and that meant the car felt a lot more glued to the tarmac. The throttle response was also more direct now, as with the gear changes. She would hold onto a gear a lot longer before shifting up. In gear acceleration was just phenomenal, as she would surge with an incredible pace with the slightest tap on the throttle pedal. She’s a big girl, weighing close to 2 tons, but that weight completely disappears once the car is moving.
I also tried Eco Pro mode just for the fun of it. As the name suggests, the throttle response was blunt (in comparison to other modes) encouraging smoother acceleration as well as coasting. The onboard computer would show how many extra kms you gained by letting the car coast. Here is where I’d like to mention one thing. The coasting actually is incredibly efficient as I could not see a drastic drop in speeds immediately. Rather it was more gradual and that shows the whole BMW efficient dynamics principles working behind the scenes.
The car comes with M Sport brakes by default. To sum up the brakes, they are sharp, have fantastic bite and are so confidence-inspiring. Hitting the anchors from higher triple-digit speeds sheds a lot of speed in short distances. I had to recalibrate my brake pressure application coming from the Laura. I was able to stop just in time for a couple of unmarked speed breakers after crossing Anantpur only because of the incredible stopping power offered by these brakes. I did not notice any brake fade all through the return trip.
Now, this car has air suspension on both axles and is designed more for comfort than outright handling. Having said that, I found the body roll when changing lanes to be acceptable when on Comfort/Comfort+ setting. Switching to Sport mode changes that dramatically – the suspension becomes taut, and the car lowers by another 10mm in this mode. Lane changes and cornering is significantly better. Dimension-wise, this car has approx. 50cm extra wheelbase than my Laura and that was noticeable in terms of straight-line stability.
Also, in Comfort / Comfort+ setting, one could feel the suspension working to keep the ride stable as much as possible vs. in Sport mode, it works to offer a better feel of the road and hence improved handling.
A few online reviews mentioned the steering to be precise but lacking in feel. I did not observe that, perhaps I need to push more to get to that point. They also mentioned the tendency to understeer on the extreme, which I did not observe as well. There was this sharp right-hander while entering the Hyderabad outer ring road, and since was empty, I tried to carry momentum all through – the car did not understeer and as I applied throttle, it did manage to keep a more neutral stance bordering on oversteer. Very similar to my Laura after I got the suspension & anti rollbars changed.
261hp/620Nm enough said. The motor & the superb ZF gearbox make up the crown jewel of the car. The motor has got loads of grunt all through the rev range. Being a diesel, it doesn’t need to be revved to the redline. The majority of the grunt comes under 4k revs, so it is prudent to stay below that. There is a mild thrum that filters through to the cabin at idle to indicate the motor is running. That gets masked completely when running due to the tyre noise. The motor gets audible only when you floor the throttle, otherwise is fairly quiet.
The torque build up is right from around 1k rpms all the way to 4k rpms. The power band is on the narrow side – only 3k rpms wide, and the 8-speed gearbox is essential to extract the most from this motor. When you are driving in the Comfort / Comfort+ mode, you can just use the paddle shifter to downshift and that immediately brings you to the meaty part of the torque band allowing safe and exciting overtakes. The gearbox puts you in the fat part of the torque curve and that just takes things to a whole different level.
I will not be doing justice to the engine if I only talk about the power & torque. Yes, this is an inline-6 producing chunky torque but at the same time, is incredibly efficient when driven at highway speeds. The steady speeds from Narsinghpur to Nagpur on the donut tyre yielded a mileage of 22kmpl. No, there is no typo here.
Similarly, my trip from Nagpur to Bangalore yielded an overall mileage of 15kmpl. This was just incredible in my view. Just for comparison, if it were my tuned Laura, such a trip would have yielded about 13kmpl.
Other important stuff
The headlights are just amazing, again in comparison to my decade-old Laura that came with halogen projector lamps. The 6 GT gets BMW-led laser lights, which give a good amount of throw-in high beam, lighting up roads quite well. I felt the low beam was strictly for city riding only, as the lights seemed to be aimed closer to the front of the car. I’m not sure if there is a setting to adjust this, but this was my experience in the night. I had to drive with high beams on the highways to be able to see the distance at speeds.
Works superbly and chills the cabin in a short time irrespective of the outside ambient weather. Driving through Nagpur, Telangana & AP meant 30C outside temperatures and the A/C had no trouble handling even when parked in the outside sun during breaks. The automatic setting takes care of the cooling and I had set it at 22C for the duration of the journey.
I’m no audiophile, but I found the audio quality to be good and adequate for my listening needs. Phone calls were also clear and crisp.
With this generation, the display definition is crisp and renders the details quite well. The touch system is very responsive as is the gesture control. The software seems to be well integrated and gives that seamless experience one would expect when working with such a system.
The wireless Apple Carplay feature is a boon for me. On my Laura, I had retrofitted the latest Columbus navigation system to allow wired Carplay. This was taking it to the next level. Carplay now occupies the full screen as compared to the pre-facelift edition, so that gives that extra bit of detail.
Soft closing doors
Again a boon as I don’t have to give a solid push to close the door. Just need to softly push and the car takes care of the final part. Very handy.
360 degree camera & parking sensors
Again very handy, especially when parking against curbed roads or tight spaces. The infotainment system automatically switches to the parking camera view when it detects you are close to another object which makes it quite handy.
The steering wheel is chunky and nice to hold on. The padding is generous and never did I feel discomfort anywhere in the journey. The steering is precise and if you are running Sport mode, you can feel a bit of the front tyre grip when pushing in corners.
The driver & passenger get fully adjustable seats with memory function. It took me a while to get the correct position, but after that, I never felt that fatigue especially in the second part of the journey where I drove close to 1100kms in one day. The standard Nappa leather upholstery in the car takes the comfort to another level.
This car comes with a spoiler that automatically extends and retracts based on the vehicle’s speed. I initially thought the spoiler was more for the show and did not add much to the dynamics. I was again wrong. The spoiler extends when you cross 110kph and stays extended until the speed drops below 70kph. Once the spoiler came up, I could feel that extra resistance/weight in the back of the car, and that was reassuring when taking long sweeping corners.
Mohit had coded out the warning sounds at 80 & 120kph. He had also configured a bunch of options in iDrive like comfort access, automatic lock and a bunch of other nifty things that added to the overall experience. I might end up getting something like Bimmercode/Carly for diagnosis later, but for now, I am to be covered.
Last but not least, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Mohit, Ratchet and a whole other bhpians who’ve been posting their experiences dealing with stuff like RFT, keeping 60psi tyre pressure in the space saver etc., And to a whole bunch of amazing & helpful people I got to interact with on my way from Gurgaon to Bangalore.
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