There aren’t too many luxury coupes in today’s market priced at less than $100,000 that garner as much respect and attention as BMW’s 6 Series Coupe. Its combination of style, dynamics, safety engineering, efficiency, and size make it a must have for anyone seeking the joy of “life on the road” by way of two doors. Now in its third generation, the new 650i Coupe increases in size (longer, lower and wider) and benefits from elegant character definitions to its chiseled sculpture. The new “6” also adds new infotainment technology and iDrive software while, of course, increasing its performance capabilities.
We first got a chance to experience the 2012 “6” in its convertible form in Los Cabos, Mexico this past spring and walked away highly impressed. With the convertible’s ability to hug roads like a bear, imagine what a tighter, more rigid coupe can do with the same attributes. To properly experience the latest generation 6 Series Coupe, BMW set up a beautiful drive from Carmel, California north toward the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a vehicle you never tire of no matter how long the drive happens to be. This is partially due to the addition of the new 4.4-liter, twin-turbo and direct injected V8 engine, which is paired with an ultra smooth and highly proficient 8-speed sport automatic transmission complete with paddle shifters. Delivering 400-horsepower and 450 ft-lb of torque, the $83,875 650i Coupe is able to move from zero to sixty mph in 4.9 seconds. Turbo charging, let alone a dual turbo setup, enhances the Bimmer with power on demand in any of its eight gears. Whether I was cruising the highway and needing to pass a big rig at high speed, or swooping out of tight turns at lower speeds, the 650i provided the acceleration required to accomplish my mission. It is no secret within the automotive media community that the BMW 4.4-liter V8 is a magnificent engine. A TwinPower-turbocharged, inline 6-cylinder engine is offered in the $74,475 640i that produces 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque.
I prefer the coupe to the convertible because of its more aggressive profile and assertive silhouette. I’m also more a fan of retractable hardtop convertibles as opposed to cloth tops, since they offer the benefits of both an open-top and a closed-ceiling coupe with greater security, especially in the winter when it becomes time to park soft-top versions for the season. Not the case with the 650i Coupe, which will be offered with BMW’s xDrive AWD system this fall (add $3,000 t MSRP). xDrive has been ten years in the making and enhances the all-weather capability of BMW’s vehicles, SUVs especially. It featuring impressive 4-wheel drive performance and additional traction for withstanding confrontational weather conditions. On the track for example, a vehicle with xDrive will take off more quickly because it delivers torque to four wheels rather than only two. This xDrive system enables 6 Series Coupes to be propelled from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 4.7 seconds.
In Carmel during the 61st Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – arguably the greatest car show on earth – a dark blue Coupe with the M Sport Package served me well, as onlookers gazed at the German luxury sports coupe as if it were a $250,000 exotic. Most notably when we valet parked at luxury hotel properties such as the Carmel Valley Ranch, Spanish Bay Inn and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Physical modifications include: a new set of twin-kidney grilles that sit up more vertically; an integrated trunk spoiler, Full LED Adaptive Headlights (optional), flared wheel wells and much, much more.
Performance engineering is apparent throughout the 650i’s DNA starting with Integral Active Steering which turns the rear wheels opposite the front at speeds up to 38 mph. It gives the front wheels increased steering effort simultaneously, allowing the vehicle to maneuver within tighter spaces such as when making U-Turns. On several occasions, I made such turns clearing areas where I thought it would be necessary to brake and then reverse to complete successfully. Conversely, at speeds over 50 mph the system points the rear and front wheels in the same direction for more precise lane changes etc. The 650i’s suspension is just as adaptive, putting the ride feel control in the driver’s hand. You can set it in COMFORT, NORMAL, SPORT, and SPORT +. Shifting, steering and throttle response are all affected to the driver’s preference, depending on the setting chosen. NORMAL mode is perfectly fine in 85% of driving scenarios.
Safety and convenience updates come in the form of Side-view Cameras (one of my favorites), which utilize fender-mounted cameras that enhance forward vision through long curves and also approaching vehicles. Color is added to the Head Up Display further detailing vehicle operations such as turn-by turn navigation. The Bimmer is also able to see in the dark with Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection, which detects pedestrians up to 100 yards, while determining their direction of travel as well. The next logical step would be to pinpoint deer because we have a lot of them in my neighborhood.
Inside the roomy coupe you instantly sense where BMW is headed with refinement and driver services. Nappa leather and contrast stitching ups the ante on the cabin’s ambience, while a static display screen increases in width to 10.2-inches. The latest generation iDrive flows through the new screen with both sophistication and simplicity. Hit the menu button ahead of the rotary controller and you have easy access to Navigation, Vehicle Settings, Vehicle Info, Telephone and the newly introduced ConnectedDrive. I love the nav because it thinks like a professor. For example, if there is a traffic jam ahead the vehicle will appropriately send a warning and provide an alternative route before you even come close to the nightmare. You also have the option of viewing as a full screen or split screen with secondary info such as infotainment. Download the BMW ConnectedDrive app on your iPhone (sorry Droids), and the two work together like lab partners. Here, you can view your calendar, read and reply to FaceBook and Twitter with preset responses, request service, go online, get roadside assistance or listen to web radio. Separately, the app can access Pandora if it’s installed on your phone. Factor in the tilting moon-roof, which occupies the roof surface and a studio quality Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the new 650i Coupe deserves to be in your top three choices when shopping for a sporty, luxury coupe.
We live in a progressive new world today, where everything is pretty much at your disposal. Consumers want power on demand while saving at the pump, along with added safety and security and the ability to connect on the fly. No problem, the auto industry has responded acutely and BMW happens to be one of the forerunners. I can only imagine what the new M6 will have to offer!