Last year, I got to test the new BMW 650i convertible. I liked that car a lot; however putting it in a comparison test against a Jaguar XKR convertible quickly showed its weaknesses. The Jag was better looking, sounded better and was much, much faster. So naturally, my preference lied with the Jag.
With the shortfalls of the 650i convertible in mind, I was curious to see if the coupe version of it would be any different! To find that out, I got to spend a week in this uber-luxury coupe and here’s what I found:
First of all, in Canada, the 650i coupe is only offered with all-wheel drive. While the convertible could be had with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, BMW decided to market the coupe model as an all-year, all-rounder and hopes that this will help its sales figures. Given how excellent BMW’s active all-wheel drive system (called: xDrive) is, it certainly makes the car more appealing to me as an everyday driver.
Then there is the styling. I liked the look of the 650i convertible, but love the lines on the coupe even more. This is one handsome looking car. It makes a statement without shouting about its prestige. Hence this is a car you can take anywhere and park anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about it. So it doesn’t attract too much attention and I like that about this car.
I also like how the ride quality is much better in the coupe over the convertible model. Whereas the convertible would shudder and bang on expansion joints, the coupe simply glides over them. Trust me, the difference in ride quality is quite huge.
The differences inside however are just about none (apart from the roof). The 650i is a decent sized four-seater with plenty of gadgets. So if you’re looking for a car that has a reversing camera, plus intersection cameras, plus a night vision camera (with pedestrian detection) , this has it (although some of these are optional extras).
You also get a massive infotainment screen, and the new iDrive system is much easier to use than before.
There are so many gadgets in here that it would require for me to write a book on what they are and how they work. So I’ll stop here, because the bit I want to get to, is how it drives.
The new one can be called anything but unexciting, and the main reason for that is its 4.4-liter, twin-turbo, V8 which produces 400-hp and an astonishing 450 lb/ft of torque at just 1750 rpm. The end result of that is that this is a very quick car. 0-100 km/h is covered in just 4.8 seconds, and top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h; unrestricted it could go much faster.
Speed is one thing, but its not fun unless the car sounds good. The sport exhaust on my test car brought along all the best V8 tunes I could wish for. The convertible I had last year had the standard exhaust and the lack of a proper soundtrack made the driving experience dull. Trying this coupe with the optional sport exhaust certainly made a huge difference and made every drive exciting. Tunnel hunting became an obsession. This 650i coupe is turning out to be a very satisfying car.
Hit some twisty roads and it plants a smile on your face. The grip and feel of the all-wheel drive system provides excellent security around challenging roads. The suspension is both soft and firm, providing a great ride when on bumpy terrain, but then through the corners, keeps the body roll to a minimum. I like that. What I’m not the biggest fan of is the electronic power steering system. It works well but lacks the feel of the older hydraulic based systems, but trust me, this is me trying to nit-pick here.
All in all, the new 650i is an excellent coupe that will provide its owners with thrills, every single day. So how much is all this wonderfulness?
Base price for the 650i coupe is $101,500. My very loaded test car was just north of $130,000. That is a lot of money and surely is out of the reach of many buyers.
But here’s the thing, if you were in the market for a new Bentley Continental GT, but due to the tough economic times, want to spend less and get the same caliber of car, than this new 650i coupe is the car for you.
Would I buy one if I just won the lottery? No, because I’d actually wait for the faster, leaner and meaner M6 version, which should be arriving in showrooms by August. I wonder if it’ll look good in chrome yellow???