'IT'S good to listen' a certain well-known bank advertisement declared when it use to run across our television screens so there was great anticipation when BMW announced it was to replace the 5 Series GT, the powers that be would listen to critical comments of a model which was hardly a best seller.
It's certainly done the trick because its replacement - the 6 Series GT - is a totally ‘different new kettle of fish' as the famous saying goes and a genuine grand touring car in every respect.
This new 6 Series GT, which incidentally goes on sale here early in November, is sleeker and sportier looking with a new kidney shaped grille that now closes up for better aerodynamics while the roof line is just 2cm lower all adding to a much more stylish body.
It's also some 8cm longer than its predecessor and sits on the same wheelbase as the current bigger 7 Series but overall is 150kg lighter but for a grand tourer it's remarkably spacious inside and as for boot space clearly a class leader.
This is now up to 610 litres rising to an incredible 1,800 litres and like the rest of the interior a grand tourer it may be the spaciousness is a major plus point compared to the previous model and rivals like the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 and eradicates one of the criticisms of its predecessor.
With raised seating (some 6cm higher than the current 5 Series) along with the new, lower rear bench style seats there is excellent rear seat headroom too, despite the sleeker coupe style roof line.
There's a choice of two diesel models - the 630d with a six-cylinder turbocharged 3.0-litre 261bhp and the option of a 630d xDrive all-wheel-drive - and two petrol powered versions with either a 630i four-cylinder 2.0-litre 255bhp or a 640i six-cylinder 3.0-litre 335bhp and the further option of M Sport models.
The choice of trim levels is also kept simple with just two - SE which offers 18-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth with audio streaming, reversing camera, heated front seats and much more and M Sport.
Across the range for an average of spending an extra £3,600 buyers get the basic M Sport package that features 19-inch sport wheels, chrome quadrilateral exhaust pipes, panoramic sunroof, sport front seats and M sport suspension, body styling and brakes.
Most buyers are expected to opt for the M sport treatment and there is as always with BMW further options than can be added, such a Premium Package at £2,445 that includes soft-close doors and more, a Rear Seat Comfort package at £2,995.
Driving the 640i xDrive M Sport and it's easy to appreciate the extra homework the BMW backroom team has done on the new 6 GT because for starters the engine is so quiet and refined, with plenty of punch as we say, but equally responsive with that six cylinder turbocharged engine providing excellent performance (0 to 62mph in just over five seconds).
The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox complete with steering wheel mounted paddle offers smooth and quick up and down gear shift which again helps for such easy mid range overtaking, even when leaving it normal ‘D' mode and not using the paddles.
With the usual choice of driving modes - Normal, Comfort, Sport and Eco - the car has exquisite ride whatever one was chosen thanks to fine suspension and well balanced chassis.
The 640i has air springs, active roll control and four wheel steering all helping outstanding high speed stability.
Driving in town centres, around country lanes and out on open motorways it's so easy to manoeuvre with crisp, precise steering and it doesn't feel like a big car either while its real piece de resistance is at cruising speed.
Take it on a long journey and it simply eats up the miles and keeping it in comfort mode then the driver will gain the best of both worlds - comfortable ride with a sporty performance in true grand touring style.
For the driver the dashboard is in typical BMW style with the infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen taken straight out of the current 5 Series and with BMW's iDrive control.
The interior furnishings and fittings are of the highest order and the Dakota leather seats give excellent all round lumbar support whilst obviously with the M Sport buyers gain a nice wood trim and brushed metal and glossy style posh plastic trim everything, all adding to the quality and luxury charms of the car.
As for fuel economy with this turbo petrol version and the 3.0-litre, six cylinder engine under the bonnet it's also not harsh with my overall run coming in at 32.4mpg, fairly close to the official 35.3mpg mark, and that was after two or three fast runs in Sport mode.
Emissions are 187g/km which is impressive for a car with such performance.
Obviously the diesel versions will prove to be a little more frugal on the fuel front but the petrol powered test car would be my choice and with the M Sport package on board.
Naturally, the 6 Series GT is not by any means cheap but when compared to its immediate rivals it stands up well and of course with any model it depends on individual choice of what options to have on the car.
The cheapest petrol is the 630i SE at £46,810 pushing up to £56,765 for the 640i xDrive M Sport added on while the 630d SE is £50,655 and with xDrive M Sport added on this costs £56,605.
In my view it's well worth paying the extra for any of the M versions since they give the driver that little bit more in terms of luxury and performance for what is a comparative sensible price.