2012 BMW 650i Convertible
Starting at: $90,500
- BMW 650i Convertible Fuel Efficiency Rating
- City MPG: 15
- Hwy MPG: 22
Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the BMW 650 i include 4.4L V-8 400hp engine twin turbo, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), integrated navigation system, side seat mounted airbags, driver and passenger side airbag head extension, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 19" aluminum wheels, cruise control, and an ABS and driveline traction control. (en)
|400-hp 4.4L 8-cyl|
|15 / 22|
Ride stiffness and steering response can be adjusted by selecting one of four settings: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport-Plus. The Normal setting delivers a balance of alert steering feel and shock-absorber damping ideal for everyday driving. The Sport setting immediately elevates and stiffens the steering feel and hardens the ride quality for heightened road feel in more vigorous driving. It also increases the 650i throttle mapping to provide more a more directly responsive gas pedal.
Sport-Plus goes a step further, partially reducing the amount of automatic stability control and allowing aggressive cornering of the sort expected on a racetrack. BMW offers optional rear-wheel steer, which helps in parking and supports vigorous cornering. And in a nod to performance as theater, in both Sport and Sport-Plus modes, a tiny spritz of fuel is shot into the exhaust, which produces a race car-like boom with each paddle shift.
In Comfort mode, the 650i forsakes sharp BMW driving dynamics for a soft, floaty ride, numb road feel and elastic steering. While this might be fine for long-term leisurely cruising on the Interstate, it seems strangely out of place coming from a car company so keen on performance.
The 8-speed automatic transmission exhibits fast, almost imperceptible shifting, and delivers peak fuel efficiency. No small issue. This heavy car's fuel is in the Gas Guzzler territory and may incur $1000 or so in federal tax.
The 6 Series brakes have their work cut out for them hauling this two and a quarter-ton beast to a stop. But BMW has provided massive 13.77-in. and 13.6-in. discs front and rear. The brakes also come into play in the electronic stability control system, braking individual wheels to balance the car and eliminate wheel slip. In emergency stops, full brake pressure is applied automatically, and there is a provision for automatically drying the brakes in wet driving. Finally, 650i brakes have a regenerative feature which captures electric energy during braking and transfers it to the battery, reducing alternator drag.
The BMW 650i has a full inventory of safety provisions: lane-departure warning, active blind spot detection, rear- and top-view cameras, automatic high beams, parking assistant and a full-color head-up windshield display, with optional night vision, pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control, which monitors and adjusts the interval between you and cars ahead. For those who would rather rely on their wits as opposed to myriad computer systems to drive, some of these gadgets can be left off the option list, or turned off.
Smaller, lighter and more powerful than last year's engine, the V8 in the 2012 BMW 650i models produces 400 horsepower. More important is its 450 pound-feet of torque, providing exceptionally strong response over a wide powerband, with peak torque available from 1750 to 4500 rpm.
This is a welcome improvement because the BMW 6 Series is more grand touring car than sports car and it is not light. A powerful engine is needed to deliver the expected acceleration performance, and, in fact, it does just that. Whether in the Coupe or Convertible, we found power delivery immediate and enthusiastic, without turbo lag.
BMW says its 2012 650i Convertible can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds whether equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. That's very quick indeed, and the Coupe should be at least as quick.
Though topping 4,200 pounds, the BMW 650i boasts features to minimize weight, including lightweight seats with integral seatbelts and crash-activated anti-whiplash head restraints, lightweight aluminum doors, hood and front spring mounts, reinforced composite front side panels and trunk lid. The 650i Coupe weighs 4233 pounds, while the 650i Convertible weighs a hefty 4531 pounds.
A heavy car with a powerful V8 means big gas bills. The 2012 BMW 650i Coupe and Convertible earn an EPA-estimated 15/23 mpg City/Highway with the automatic, 15/22 mpg with the manual gearbox.
We found the 2012 BMW 650i coupe and convertible enjoyable to drive. They cruise well at high speeds and are comfortable and competent. They are not sports cars, however, too big and heavy to careen around corners with the gusto of lightweight BMWs of yore.
While navigating quick left-right chicanes on the less-traveled roads of Northern California, our 650i Coupe felt balanced and composed despite its size. The Convertible is heavier and feels more at home on the highway.
The BMW 6 Series competes most directly with the compelling Jaguar XK and the less-expensive Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe. If you like BMWs, want a sumptuous cruiser and aren't concerned with price or fuel economy, the 2012 BMW 6 Series is an excellent choice.
Gone is the enormous, shelf-like rear-end. The new LED taillight clusters are like two eyes-peeled squints across the bluff rear face. And demonstrating that BMW's sense of humor is alive and well, the little BMW logo on the trunk is in fact a small peek-a-boo door, opening to let the rearview camera peer out when you're in reverse.
As with other BMW interiors, all functions are angled ever-so-slightly toward the driver. Even the controls next to the gearshift, for the parking brake, roof operation and selectable driving modes, are mounted on a recessed surface in the driver's side of the console, discouraging mutinous decisions. The large central display screen has effective technology that makes it visible in bright sun, which is especially useful on convertibles.
The new 6 Series employs the fourth-generation iDrive control system. Unlike earlier iterations, it is no longer a mindlessly complex obstacle to the driver. To the contrary, this system has at last become the driver's ally. Also available to the driver are controls regulating the car's ride motions and steering feel, the latter's adjustability made possible thanks to the 650i's advanced steer-by-wire electronic guidance. Our test car was also outfitted with the BMW Connected app, which allows drivers to access Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and paid music subscription service MOG accounts through a late-model iPhone or iPod Touch on the iDrive display. Blackberry and Android smartphones are out of luck.
The Bang&Olufsen sound system includes a speaker system designed exclusively for the unique shape and space of the 6 Series coupe. We found the sound quality impressive, but it seemed like an expensive option to us.
Front seats provide a blend of comfort, snug fit and firm lateral support, crucial in sporty driving. Cooled and heated seats work quickly and effectively and provide welcome relief from extreme temperatures. In the rear, legroom is adequate for average-sized adults, although taller passengers will feel cramped, especially in the coupe, which offers less headroom than the convertible with the top up. On the latter model, lowering the soft top takes about 20 seconds, and raising it takes a tad longer.
Trunk space measures 16.2 cubic feet in the coupe and a surprisingly roomy 12.3 cubic feet in the convertible (10.6 with the top down). Both versions have pass-through openings for long items.
Options include 20-inch alloy wheels with performance tires ($1,300), Active Roll Stabilization ($2,000), Integral Active Steering ($1,750), Ceramic Controls ($650), Active Cruise Control ($2,400), BMW Apps ($250) and Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection ($2,600). The Cold Weather Package ($750) adds a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and a ski bag. The Driver Assistance Package ($3,900) adds automatic high beams, lane-departure warning, active blind-spot detection, side- and top-view cameras, parking assistant and full-color head-up display. The Luxury Seating Package ($1,500), adds front ventilated seats, active front seats. Convertibles and Coupes are available with a Premium Sound Package ($1,800), while the Coupe alone gets an optional, top-of-the-line Bang & Olufsen sound system ($3,700).
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Ted West reported on the 650i Convertible from upstate New York; Laura Burstein reported on the 650i Coupe from Northern California.
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