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2012 BMW 650i Coupe Review & Test Drive

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‘HIGH PERFORMANCE AND LUXURY MEET HEADON’ 

First introduced in the late 1970’s as the 3.0CS and 3.0CSi, this latest generation BMW 650i coupe strikes a perfect balance of high-performance driving dynamics and luxury, just like the first 6-Series did as the 3.0CSi.  Sexy, long beautiful design lines, elegant, luxurious and high-tech interior all meet with a 4.4 liter, twin-turbocharged 400hp and 450lb.ft. of torque V8 engine generating power to the rear wheels through a new eight-speed transmission.  It all comes together so smoothly as BMW is known for.

The new 650i is BMW’s top-of-the-line 2+2 coupe.  The body length is nearly 3 inches longer than before, while the width has also increased by 1.5 inches and it is ½ inch lower.  The increased size offers more room for rear seat passengers.  This high-end coupe features a shorter rear deck and a dramatic slope of the rear light, along with perfect proportions all around.  The rear-end loses the hotly debated ‘Bangle Butt’.  The new coupe is the first BMW to received full LED treatment driving lights, indication lights, brake lights and rear taillights.  The front end features a ‘shark-like’ nose featuring a slightly forward leaning kidney grille and a full-width air duct within the lower part of the bumper.  At the rear the L-shaped taillights continue to remain a BMW signature icon and the full LED treatment brings out the luxury and sportiness of the new 6-Series.  Bulging wheel arches, horizontal lines and a shape that broadens downward all combine to accentuate the car’s wide track. The wide trapezoidal dual exhaust tips at each side are another sign of the car’s high-performance characteristics.

The body-to-glass look with its pillarless doors is another trademark of the new 6-Series and fits seamlessly with the rest of the new design.  The greenhouse is now surrounded by a thicker full-perimeter chrome strip further accentuating the luxury found inside.

The interior design is characterized by the typical BMW driver orientation and dynamic forward movement.  The central area of the dashboard, including the control display, the air outlets and the control panels for the audio system and automatic A/C, is inclined slightly towards the driver.  The gear selector is located on a surface that opens up towards the driver and is positioned lower than the front-seat passenger area, perfect!

Also, the fluid connection between the center console and dashboard is emphasized by a contrasting seam on the leather surfaces that gives the interior a more elegant and refined look.

The horizontal dashboard orientation is emphasized by an electroplated trim in the driver’s area.  Its course is contoured on the passenger side in the form of a subtle character line on the glove box.  The dynamic forward movement is stressed by the door panel surfaces, which have a powerful taut look that is continued on to the front and into the dashboard.  The decorative surface, which continues with a slight twist into the center console, gives front seat passenger area an exclusive touch.  Furthermore, thanks to their single-seat design and increased shoulder and elbowroom compared to the previous model, the rear seats guarantee passengers a high degree of traveling comfort.  Also, despite the lower vehicle height, there is great head room on all the seats.

The instrument cluster featuring black panel technology combines state-of-the-art display technology with the classic round instruments typical of a sports car.  A high-resolution 9.2 inch info display installed below the four round instruments shows mileage, fuel consumption and Efficient Dynamics information as well as operator feedback from the driver assistance systems and check-control messages.

Along with the controller and direct selection buttons located on the center console, the standard iDrive control system comprises a newly conceived onboard monitor with an exclusive flat-screen design.  The freestanding control display is prominently and ideally positioned with the dashboard area.  It has a 10.2 inch width, the largest onboard monitor in the segment-featuring a high-quality electroplated chrome surround.  The fabulous comfortable and supportive Nappa leather heated/cooled front bucket seats are infinitely adjustable and are one of the finest in its class.

In the new 650i coupe, spontaneously unfolding performance, superior pulling power, excellent running qualities and the exemplary efficiency of a V8 engine are fascinating attributes.  The 4.4 liter, all-aluminum engine has two turbochargers positioned in the V-space between the cylinder banks.  Apart from compact dimensions, the innovative design principle permits a specific design for the inlet and outlet ducts.  The reduced pipe length and an increased cross-section minimize the loss of pressure at the intake and exhaust sides.  The eight-cylinder engine develops a maximum output of 407hp at 5,500-6,400rpm and a peak torque of 450lb.ft. between 1,750-4,500rpm.

The sporting performance attributes of the V8 engine enable the new 650i to accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds.  The extraordinary efficiency for this output class is primarily attributable to the gas direct injection.  The jet-guided injection with injectors positioned centrally between the valves, and in the direct vicinity of the spark plugs, guarantees that the fuel is closed with particular precision.  The fuel efficient engine has an EPA rating of 16mpg/city and 24mpg/highway, excellent for a high-performing luxury coupe.

Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a new eight-speed Sport automatic transmission.  It enhances the sporting driving dynamics thanks to exceptionally fast gear changing; it offers outstanding shift comfort and also optimizes efficiency.  You can use shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel or simply put the shifter into the +/- gate to the left to shift gears manually.

The characteristic driving experience in the new 650i is defined by sporty handling capabilities.  At the same time, modern suspension technology provides optimized ride comfort.  The double wishbone front axle and integral rear axle are primarily made up of aluminum components.  Dynamic Damper Control and the Adaptive Drive System are offered as options, which also includeDynamic Driveactive roll stabilization.  The electronically controlled dampers adapt to both the nature of the road surface and you driving style.  Roll stabilization reduces the effects of vehicle body roll when driving through bends at high speed and during sudden swerving maneuvers.  My test 650i came with all three high-tech handling features and really enabled me to take the 650i out to its handling limits without any problems.

In customary BMW tradition for precision, comfort and efficiency, the new 650i coupe combines a unique electromechanical steering system with Servotronic function for speed-sensitive steering power assistance.  Beyond this, the new 650i coupe is the first car in its class to be offered with an option for Integral Active Steering.  It combines Active Steering for the front wheels with steerable rear axle.  I had this option in my test 650i and you could actually feel the car track sharply through the curves with ease.

Driving Experience Control is standard on the 650i.  It enables you to vary sportiness and comfort to suit the situation.  You can choose from the ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ modes.  In addition, you can also use the ECO Pro mode.  In this case Driving Experience Control influences the characteristic curve of the damper and the roll stabilization in addition to adjusting the accelerator pedal progression, engine responses, power-assisted steering characteristics, Dynamic Stability Control, response thresholds and the shift dynamics of the automatic transmission.  In each case you activate a pre-configured and consistent overall setup.

The lightweight floating-caliper brakes with inner-vented discs are easy to use with precision.  Up front are 14.9 inch discs clamped with a single-piston aluminum floating caliper in a large frame structure while 13.8 inch discs clamped with a single piston aluminum floating calipers are fitted to the rear.  The effect of this powerful braking system is supported by the Dynamic Stability Control function.  The dynamic stability system comprises the ABS, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, brake assist, brake fade compensation, the Brake Drying function and the Start-Off Assistant.  The electrical parking brake is standard and it also includes an Auto Hold function, which increases convenience in Stop & Go traffic.  If the vehicle comes to a stop, it is automatically held-even on slopes-by means of constant brake pressure until you press the throttle again.  The Auto Hold function is activated and deactivated with a separate button on the center console.

My 650i test model rode on giant 20X8.5 inch front and 20X9 inch rear light alloy wheels wrapped 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear low-profile high-performance tires for excellent grip and a very smooth ride.

Standard features include cruise-control, cargo net, front console with storage, front dual cupholders, front door pockets, remote trunk release, front seatback storage, 12-volt front power outlets, front/rear parking sensors, power tilt-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, self-dimming rearview mirror, power-remote/heated sideview mirrors, one-touch express windows, power door locks, dual lighted vanity mirrors, dual map lamps, trunk light, dual-zone climate control with active charcoal filtration, and front floor mats.

Standard safety features include airbags for driver and front passenger, side airbags for driver and front passenger, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point inertia-reel seatbelts for all seats with belt latch tensioner and belt force limiter integrated into the front seats, crash-activated head restraints at the front, crash sensors, run-flat tires and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The all-new 2012 BMW 650i coupe has it all from long sleek styling, attention to detail inside, high-performance powertrain, state-of-the-art suspension and braking to the latest safety systems to keep you and your passengers safe at all times.

COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base 650i Coupe $83,000
  • Engine: 4.4-liter DOHC 32-Valve V8 400 horsepower @ 5500 rpm / 450 ft-lbs. torque @ 1750 rpm
  • Width: 74.6in.
  • Height: 53.9in.
  • Length: 192.8in.
  • Track: f/r-62.8/65in.
  • Wheelbase: 112.4in.
  • Curb weight: 4,233lbs.
  • Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-40/36.7in.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds

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