The Truth About Cars » 650i http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:06:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 650i http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2012 BMW 650i Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/review-2012-bmw-650i-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/review-2012-bmw-650i-coupe/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 16:25:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=433461 In an unusual twist, BMW decided to release the redesigned 650i coupé after the drop-top version we snagged last November. The reason for the coupé’s late arrival is simple; BMW tells us it accounts for only about 30% of 6-series sales. Two-door luxury cars usually drive better than their chop-top sisters, but if you have […]

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In an unusual twist, BMW decided to release the redesigned 650i coupé after the drop-top version we snagged last November. The reason for the coupé’s late arrival is simple; BMW tells us it accounts for only about 30% of 6-series sales. Two-door luxury cars usually drive better than their chop-top sisters, but if you have the cash to burn and care about driving, should you still go topless?

Like it’s convertible twin, the 650i coupé has lost the “Bangle-butt” the previous generation wore , opting for clean, simple lines, a resurrection of chrome accents and more LEDs than the Home Depot lighting isle. While the convertible strikes it’s best poses topless (due to the awkward “buttressed” look caused by the vertical rear window) the coupé looks lean and mean from every angle. Like the 6-series convertible, the 650i coupé can be had with LED headlamps. While they are not notably “better” than HIDs, they sound much cooler when you tell your friends.

BMW may not have Jaguar’s way with style, but the 650’s cabin is exquisitely assembled. From the stitched leather dash (optional, but every 6-series on the lot at my local dealer was so equipped), to the perfect wood trim,  the attention to detail is second to none. Gone are the awkward oval shapes from the 2010 650i, and in their place is a tall dashboard dominated by the ginormous, high-resolution, 10.2-inch, widescreen iDrive display. Jumping up from the 640i to the 650i brings BMW’s 24-way front seats (20 of the ways are powered and the last four are manual headrest adjustments) instead of the plebeian 10-way variety. This upgrade also opens the door to ventilated anti-fatigue thrones which use air bladders to cut road-trip butt-fatigue. While they work as advertised, the feeling of having your backside slowly groped takes some getting used to. Should faux-suede and snazzier leather be your thing, BMW would be happy to slather the headliner in acres of Alcantara and broaden your hide palate with an additional 5 colors for the princely sum of $7,700.

iDrive has come a long way since it’s introduction, and while it can still be unintuitive and overly complicated at times, it is quite simply the ultimate in-car attraction for my inner nerd. Rather than taking Jaguar’s performance-minimalism attitude to technology, the 6-series can be had with everything from radar cruise control, lane departure warning, self-parking and pre-collision warning systems that are becoming commonplace to the truly unique full-color heads up display and FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) camera system with pedestrian detection. Unlike Volvo’s system that will stop the car to prevent an impact, the 650i will let you know pedestrians are in the roadway, but it’s up to you to act on the information. I’m still unsure whether I’d rather my car took action to prevent a collision without telling me beforehand, or if I’d like my car to tell me but not take any other action at all. Sound off in the comment section and let us know what you think.

Our 650 tester was equipped with the optional iPhone dock (available for the iPhone 4, 4S and select Blackberry devices) which charges the iPhone as well as allowing an all-new feature to be used: Apple’s “video out”. While this feature is in its infancy, it may allow greater functionality in the future and here’s why: the interface you see in iDrive while in this mode is actually generated by your iPhone, not the car. Sorry Droid fans, because just about every Droid phone is different BMW doesn’t make a dock for your smartphone right now. At the moment while the dock is nice it doesn’t allow the use of your iPhone’s case and instrument cluster display isn’t capable of displaying track and playlist information while in this mode. Checkout the video link below to see “video out”  in action.

Click here to view the embedded video.

At 400HP and 450 lb-ft, the 650i’s new 4.4L twin-turbo engine is up 40HP and 90 lb-ft compared to the outgoing 4.8L naturally aspirated engine from last year. Thanks to the hairdryers, torque gets to the boil by 1,750 RPM and stays on strong all the way to 4500 RPM, which is quite a departure from both the previous 650i and the Jaguar XK8 and their peaky power curves. The benefit of the broad powerband and all-new 8-speed ZF automatic is obvious when you take a look at the 0-60 time, which we clocked at 4.23 seconds. This is not only 0.46 seconds faster than the convertible 650i we tested (it had skinnier tires), but also notably faster than the lighter XK8 and about equal to the 510HP XKR (wheel spin is the XKR’s enemy). The new 6 is one seriously fast beast. The only downside to the turbo charged nature of the 650i seems to be the exhaust note, the 650i just doesn’t sound as nice as the Jag’s 5.0L V8. While the new Jaguar XKR-S and BMW M6 will duke out the high-end of the turbo vs supercharger war with their 550 and 560 horsepower engines, the real performance secret is the 650i AWD which ran to 60 in 4.22 seconds due to the enhanced grip, and will post similar numbers rain or shine with very little drama. The M6 on the other hand is likely to behave similarly to the XKR-S (a review of which will be posted in the coming weeks) with 3.8-3.9 second runs to 60 amid severe traction control intervention and only on perfect road surfaces.

The 650i is a heavy car at 4,233lbs and thanks to the electric power steering, it feels like it on the twisties. While not as numb as Mercedes’ CL550 4Matic, the XK8 is by far the driver’s car, due as much to its 500lb lower curb weight as its hydraulic power steering. Despite the lack of feel, the 650i handles very well and is extremely confident in the corners. Performance-enhancing options include a “rear tire bump” from the stock 245-width rubber to 275s, an upgrade worth getting if you’re buying the RWD 650i as the extra rubber helps apply the power. Regardless of the rear tire sizing, the fronts stay 245s and as a result the 650i can occasionally feels like it’s heading for the bushes when pushed hard. The 8-speed transmission is certainly geared more toward economy than sport and the feeling becomes obvious when you slip behind the wheel of an XK with ZF’s 6-speed. Even in sport mode where the 8-speed all but locks out gears 7 and 8, the older 6-speed is far more eager to do your bidding, and Jaguar tunes the ZF transmission for fast, crisp shifts.

Our 650i started with a “reasonable” $83,000 base MSRP (the XK8 starts at $84,500 and the CL at $114,100) to which was added the following: a no-charge “fine line oak” trim, $750 cold weather package (heated seats and steering wheel), $2,900 full-LED package with 20″ wheels, $3,700 “driver assistance” package (heads-up display, blind spot warning, all-around-view cameras, self parking, and lane departure warning), $5,500 Bang & Olufsen sound system (with iPod/USB adapter and satellite radio), $2,600 night vision, $1,750 four-wheel active steering and $1,500 for the leather dashboard. After options, our total out-the-door MSRP ballooned to an eye-popping $102,845. It’s good to be king. While it’s not possible to comparably equip an XK8 due to the lack of gadgetry, de-contenting the 650i reveals a pricing structure roughly in-line with the Jag, and considerably less than the Mercedes CL550 we looked at last September.

It seems that every review of the 6-series I have read bemoans the ever-increasing weight and dimensions of BMW’s premium two-door. This reviewer however sees absolutely no problem with the portly nature of the 6-series. The two-ton-plus curb weight and long wheelbase give the 6-series a compliant ride on even the most broken pavement and the active suspension does an admirable job of adjusting the damping enough for some tail-wagging fun if required. Most importantly however; with the twin-turbo fire-breather under the hood, this nearly 4,300lb whale can dance. For the past 20 years BMW has been gradually becoming the new Mercedes, a transition which I applaud. With enough gadgets to keep Bill Gates happy and an interior that is as perfect as anything this side of Aston Martin, the 650i may just be the ultimate luxury GT, except I would never buy it. Why? Because BMW makes an AWD drop-top 650i.

BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 1.81 Seconds

0-60: 4.23 Seconds

0-100: 10.56 Seconds

1/4 mile: 12.7 Seconds @ 110.2MPH

2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, shifter, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, front, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, front 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, side, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, front 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, LED headlamps, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, LED headlamps, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, LED foglamps, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, side, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, side, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Exterior, rear, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, gauges, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, gauges, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, safety systems, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, Bang & Olufsen speakers, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Engine, 4.4L twin-turbo V8, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Engine, 4.4L twin-turbo V8, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Engine, 4.4L twin-turbo V8, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Engine, intercooler, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, gauges, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, panoramic cameras, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, front cameras, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, iDrive apps, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, iDrive apps, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, iDrive apps, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, media dock, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, media dock, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, iDrive controller, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, center console, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, steering wheel controls, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, steering wheel controls, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Trunk, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Engine, 4.4L twin-turbo V8, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Engine, 4.4L twin-turbo V8, Photography by Alex L. Dykes 2012 BMW 650i coupe, Interior, Bang & Olufsen speakers, Photography by Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Review: 2012 BMW 650i Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2012-bmw-650i-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2012-bmw-650i-convertible/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 21:10:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417454 Full-size high-end luxury convertibles that don’t have budget origins are not as common as you might think (or like). E-Class Cabrio? Too cheap. A5 Cabrio? Same problem. So if you’ve $90,000+ burning a hole in your pocket for a topless two-door what should you get?  Obviously Astons and Bentleys are out of your price range in this down […]

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Full-size high-end luxury convertibles that don’t have budget origins are not as common as you might think (or like). E-Class Cabrio? Too cheap. A5 Cabrio? Same problem. So if you’ve $90,000+ burning a hole in your pocket for a topless two-door what should you get?  Obviously Astons and Bentleys are out of your price range in this down economy (we all must economize after all), and you have trouble justifying the stretch to the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible’s $132,000 base price, that leaves BMW and Jaguar to battle in this broom-closet sized market. Whatever is the almost-wealthy shopper to do? Let’s find out

On the outside, the old 6-series wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but the new model seems to be a universally good looking car according to my usual band of “Joe six-packs”. Up front the 6 wears BMW’s new corporate pedestrian friendly schnoz easily identified by the dual large grills, and overall high and flat leading surface. Continuing along the side we find sharper lines and new sheet metal give the new 6 a lower, wider look (without actually being much lower than the outgoing model) that is accentuated when the convertible top is lowered. Speaking of that top, the 6-series continues to sport a folding canvas top instead of the trendy folding hard tops. Supposedly the decision was several fold: the canvas top is lighter, changes the weight balance of the car less when it is down, it’s faster to lower/raise and can be done at speeds up to 25MPH (and of course, it’s cheaper). Of course, Jag’s XK convertible looks like sex, so on the looks front despite the BMW being very attractive; my vote is for the XK.

BMW has taken great strides with the new 6-series interior in both style and finish. The cockpit is far more “driver oriented” than the previous generation convertible and the parts all scream high-rent. The new large, high-resolution iDrive screen is the dominant feature on the dash, perched high and just about in your line of sight (in a good way). While other iDrive displays have been positioned in dedicated binacle or well-integrated into the dash, the 6’s iDrive gives the appearance of a pop-up screen without the pop. The look is well executed and makes the dash seem less “bulky” than other BMW products. This reduced bulk is needed as the high belt line and overall large proportions conspire to make average sized men feel small behind the wheel. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually like feeling small. The $1,500 optional stitched dashboard (as our tester was equipped) visually puts the 650i’s interior in the same class as the Jaguar XKR and Aston Martin’s “budget” coupés.

Luxury cars are all about the gizmos, the 6-series continues to wear it’s crown as the reigning gadget king. The aforementioned wide-screen 10.2 inch iDrive display is as close to perfection as I have seen. People complain about iDrive being hard to use, but I find it fairly intuitive. If you are a person familiar with technology at all, you will acclimate to iDrive quickly. If however you’re trading in your old 1970s S-class convertible as part of your new life in a Floridian retirement home, you might want to bring a 14-year old with you when you need to change the AM radio station. For the rest of us, iDrive is far more elegant in look and function than Mercedes COMMAND, more feature rich than Infiniti’s setup, a decade more modern than Lexus’s nav software, more reliable than SYNC, and easier to use than Audi’s MMI. Aston Martin? They’re still stuck in the last century. Jaguar’s system is more agreeable to my tastes than COMMAND, but still a step behind Audi’s MMI and iDrive until Jaguar decides to put the XJ’s new touch screen in the smaller kitty.

New on the scene for iDrive is the new iPhone/smartphone app. I’m not entirely sure why you would need to tweet or Facebook post while you are driving, but iDrive does make it easy to accomplish both, while blasting down the freeway topless. The system will not only read your posts to you, but it will even pull information from iDrive’s phone history, navigation system and even the car’s thermometer to generate slightly personalized canned posts like “It is 65 degrees and I am driving my BMW” or “Headed to 123 Main Street” or “Spoke with Jane Doe on the phone”. While Facebook is a novelty, the web radio app is the feature that makes the $250 option worth considering. The radio app allows you to select from RadioTime.com’s list of streaming internet radio stations (Pandora lovers look elsewhere). The radio streaming worked surprisingly well even over the maligned AT&T network on my iPhone 4. The only complaint I have about the way BMW’s app works is that [on the iPhone at least] the app must be loaded and the active app in order for the car to sync, so while you can Facebook post while driving, you have to leave the app to read your text messages or control anything on the phone. For that last mile, BMW’s app allows you to continue navigating to your destination if you’ve had to park several blocks away and you can glance at your last known fuel level and distance to empty numbers.

Other than the overtly “techy” gadgets, the list of safety features and optional gadgets on the 6 is extensive. The pricey option list includes goodies like a $2,600 night vision system, $3,700 “Drive Assistance Package” which gives you a plethora of cameras, a new full-color heads up display, lane departure warning and the very trendy self-parallel-parking feature, a $1,500 seat enhancement package that gives you active seats and seat ventilation, $650 to replace the plastic knobs with ceramic, and a whopping $3,700 for the Bang & Olufsen sound system. Strangely enough BMW has not decided to create a side impact airbag system ala Volvo’s C70, a shame when the rich seem usually prepared to spend big on features to save their backside (or brain in this case).

At 400HP and 450 lb-ft, the 650i’s new 4.4L twin-turbo engine is up 40HP and 90 lb-ft compared to the outgoing 4.8L naturally aspirated engine from last year. While there is a hair of turbo lag, thanks to the twin hairdryers torque gets to the boil by 1,750 RPM and stays on strong all the way to 4500 RPM where it tapers off gradually. The new engine sends power to the rear (or all four wheels with the optional AWD) via a new 8-Speed ZF transmission. The combination of the turbos, increased oomph, and extra cogs results in the 0-60 time dropping from a quoted 5.4 to a quoted 4.9 putting the 650i in the same class as a few BMW M products I could mention and 0.4 seconds faster than the 385HP Jaguar XK’s quoted time. Of course with BMW quoted times aren’t worth much and the 650i is no different clocking in a cool 4.69 second 0-60 sprint time after time. Despite a not-insignificant weight gain due to the loss of the aluminum front end the 2011 sported, the new 6 is one seriously fast beast. The only downside to the turbo charged nature of the 650i seems to be the exhaust note, the 650i just doesn’t sound as nice as the Jaguar XK or XKR’s  5.0L V8 and this is likely due to the turbos in the exhaust stream. While the 4.4L turbo is powerful, the 650i seems to lack the urgency of some new Mercedes products with their new twin-turbo V8. Fear not speed lovers, an M6 is on the way which will surely put those fears to rest.

Out on the road the 650i convertible is a heavy car and it shows, not in the handling but the feel. The 650 just doesn’t feel as connected to the road as the Jaguar XK, likely due as much to the electric power steering as the 4,531lb curb weight. While come may complain about this, I can’t say I expect my over-two-ton convertible to be a corner carver, the 6-series is very much a GT and in this role it shines. The optional sport package (as our tester was equipped) includes active suspension, active anti-roll bars, and some seriously wide 275-width rubber out back (the fronts remain 245s). Still despite the added tech, the XKR is still the better driver’s car. The Jag is (and feels) considerably lighter on the road, the 6-speed ZF transmission is far more eager to do your bidding and the steering is far more connected and direct, not to mention the XKR’s 5.0L V8 plays one of the most amazing sound tracks available on our shores. Our readers know I’m an AWD fan and even if the 650i wasn’t loaded with all my favorite gadgets, I’d buy it over an XKR for the AWD’s year round drivability.

When it comes time to buy your fourth car (BMW tells us most 6 series buyers have at least 3-4 cars in their stable), what should you buy? This depends on what you’re after. If you care about modern gadgets and technology in your topless GT, the 650i is the hands-down winner. The 650i also slots neatly between the slightly slower Jaguar XK and the considerably faster XJR in terms of performance and price (depending on options). If however you’re after the a more engaging drive, better exhaust note and exquisite exterior style, the Jaguar XKR is the ride for you, it just won’t tweet your friends about it.

 

BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Statistics as tested

0-30: 1.72 Seconds

0-60: 4.69 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 13 Seconds @ 109.8 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 17.2 MPG over 383 miles

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