The 2012 BMW 650i convertible is one of those cars that you don’t even know where to start when it comes to writing a review. Given how it performs, I think under the hood is the right place to start. It is a 4.4-liter V8 with twin-turbos that pump out 400 horses and 450 lb-ft of torque. Bear in mind this is a very large car, and even without a retractable hardtop, it weighs in at over 4500 pounds. Even with that, the 650i gives you a 0-to-60 time of 4.9 seconds. That is a pretty amazing feat considering the size of this roadster.
The 650i comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission that has paddle shifters on the steering wheel, which REALLY makes a difference. This 8-speed shifts fast and smooth, but you can wind it out a little longer in the lower gears to maximize the effect of the direct-injection turbos.
For those that hated the old iDrive system, no worries. This new generation system is terrific and the system is not a problem anymore. It is simple and easy to use. BMW has one of the better navigation systems out there that gives you a host of different views in 3-D. You will recognize many of the buildings and landscape as you approach them, pretty darned cool.
My test vehicle for the week has a black exterior and bone white interior. The seats and trim are stunning. This car has as beautiful an interior as any I have ever been in. Everything inside is two-toned and has very visible stitching everywhere you look. The front seats are heated and cooled and very comfortable and supportive, especially when you are pinned to them under heavy acceleration.
Outside, the front end is unmistakably BMW with the shark nose, but you notice a change in the grill. You also notice new sheet metal on this 2012 and a more swept-back windshield to make this car look really sleek. To top it off, 20” wheels and performance tires complete the look of this uniquely styled beauty.
Some wonder why this car has the cloth top instead of the metal, retractable roof, and while I can’t say for sure, best guess is to keep the weight of the car down. The real plus of this configuration is you have a lot of trunk space and the top goes up and down much faster. I timed the top going down at 20 seconds and back up at 25 seconds, very impressive. I also actually like the way this cloth top looks on this particular car. BMW says you can put the top up or down at 25 miles per hour, but that is nothing I want to try.
Advertising slogans are a dime a dozen, but the Ultimate Driving Machine truly describes this car. There is a mode for whatever mood you happen to be in, you can electronically control ride and handling through settings on the center console. The setup of the double-wishbone in the front, and multilink in the rear, give this car just an incredible feel. As an added bonus, the 650i has an Active Steering System which also steers the rear axle. This gives the car incredible handling, especially if you have an emergency maneuver. Words just simply do not describe how this car drives.
You can pretty much think of any option available on a car today, and this car has it. On the safety side, automatic high beam headlights, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, side and top view cameras, and a heads-up display come in the Driver’s Assist package.
NightVision is a $2600 option, and although expensive, is worth every penny and REALLY works. The car has adaptive cruise control, Xenon headlights, HD radio, and real-time traffic information. Truly, the list just keeps going.
Price-wise, this is an expensive car, and although beautiful, you are paying for a lot of technology you cannot even see. This in not to imply the car is not worth the asking price, one drive and you’ll know it is.
The only negative I have on the car is the gear shift. It is unconventional and I find it annoying, but nothing that would keep me from buying this car if I hit tonight’s Megaball jackpot.
What I liked most: Handling, quickness, ride, interior, looks.
What I would change if I could: Give me a regular gear shifter.
MSRP as tested: $107,625.
Fuel Economy: 16 city/24 highway, but not the way I am driving it.
BMW 650i in a few words: This IS the Ultimate Driving Machine.