By David Colman
- Drop Dead Gorgeous Inside and Out
- More interior space for occupants
- Unpredictable Handling at the Limit
BMW has reintroduced the 650i as a 2012 model after a short break in production. Although the coupe will be available shortly, the first version offered is the convertible, which retails for a healthy base price of $90,500. When you add in the slew of options that equipped our test car, the retail price soars to more than $105,000. If you’re looking for beauty and exclusivity, then the revamped 650i is worth the price of admission. But if sports car performance is your aim, then you may want to look elsewhere for your ride.
The 650’s flame-surfaced body shell refines the unmistakable look of all BMWs since Chris Bangle redirected the styling department in Munich more than a decade ago. Whether you love the look or hate it, you have to admit that this chisel-nosed BMW is an eye magnet that draws looks like few cars on the road. In our week long stewardship of it, we noticed countless fellow travelers pointing to our BMW. If you want to be the center of attention, the 650i convertible guarantees instant gratification, especially when the top is down.
BMW has discarded the old 6 Series platform in favor of a new space frame also used by 5 and 7 Series sedans. This insures a longer and wider 650 than before, changes you note when climbing into the newly widened and elongated cabin. Gone is the cramped lack of elbow room in the front seat area, as well as the lack of legroom for rear seat occupants. This convertible will now carry four adults in supreme comfort. There’s even an electrically controlled rear windshield behind the back seats to cut draft in the cabin when the top is down. The interior is flawlessly turned out with contrasting stitching on the door and dash panels, supply contoured sports seats with adjustable thigh bolsters, and a huge navigation/info display screen.
Instead of the 4.8 liter V8 used in previous 6 Series BMWs, the new 650i depends on a twin turbo 4.4 liter V8 for propulsion. This engine produces 400hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. Coupled to a silky 8-speed automatic transmission, the twin turbo V8 is easy to launch, and foaming at the bit to be thrashed. BMW reports a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds, so there is always enough power on tap to blast past slower traffic without giving a thought to downshifting the gearbox. Should you wish to become more involved in the driving procedure, however, you can easily slip down a gear or two by tapping the aluminum paddles behind the steering wheel. The left side controls downshifts, the right side upshifts. This system works well when driving in a straight line, less well when the wheel is cranked for a turn and you lose hand contact with the paddles.
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