2012 BMW 650i REVIEW
The Ultimate Spinning Blue Propeller
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Oct 30, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
If there is any doubt that BMW has rid its last vestiges of the Bangle school of design, one only need to take a look at the new 650i Coupe—arguably the best looking BMW in eons. Gone are the Bangle butt and the flame fuselage,. But does the performance match the beauty? Harvey Schwartz reports on the latest flagship from the carmaker with the spinning blue propeller logo. By Harvey Schwartz 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 exterior design lines and an elegant, luxurious and high-tech interior converge with a 4.4 liter, twin-turbocharged 400-horsepower V8 engine generating power to the rear wheels through a new eight-speed transmission. It all comes together so smoothly.
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, of course, it’s one-half 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 controversial ‘Bangle butt’—named after the influential designer that took BMW to a divergent path. The new coupe is the first BMW to received full LED treatment driving lights, indicator lights, brake lights and rear tail lights. 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 compliments 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. It all comes together perfectly. 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 its 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 in all the seats.
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 5,500-6,400 rpm and a peak torque of 450lb.ft. between 1,750-4,500 rpm.
The sporting performance attributes of the V8 engine enable the new 650i to accelerate to 60 mph 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 include Dynamic Drive active 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 can 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 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. © Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information on BMW products, go to www.bmwusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 BMW 650i Coupe Price: $83,000.00-base/$110,000.00-loaded as tested Engine: 4.4 liter, twin-turbocharged/intercooled, all-aluminum, DOHC, gas-direct injection V8 Horsepower: 407hp at 5,500-6,400 rpm Torque: 450 pound-feet of torque at 1,750-4,500 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel-drive Transmission: 8-speed Sport automatic with sequential shifting via paddle shifters Front suspension: Independent double-wishbone, dynamic damper control Rear suspension: Independent, multi-link with dynamic damper control Wheels/tires Front-20X8.5 inch light alloy wheels/245/35R20 inch high-performance tires Rear: 20X9 inch light alloy wheels/275/30R20 inch high-performance tires Brakes Front: 14.9 inch vented discs/single-piston floating calipers in aluminum structure Rear: 13.8 inch vented discs/single-piston floating calipers in aluminum structure ABS, EBD, BA Dimensions Width: 74.6 inches Height: 53.9 inches Length: 192.8 inches Curb weight: 4,233 pounds