Monday, January 2, 2012

Test Drive: 2012 BMW 650i Convertible- Necessary? Probably not. Awesome? Yes.

Words by Ben Aghajanian, photos courtesy BMW USA

Cape Cod, Mass.: No one needs a vehicle like this. I’m typically a pretty sensible and low-key purchaser. However, I could see myself purchasing this car, if money were no object.

When a car stickers for over $90,000, expectations are set quite high. However, in this day and age, where compact cars crest $25 grand, “entry luxury” sport sedans usually sticker north of $40k, and the everyman Ford Explorer can top 50k (?!), BMW’s new 650i convertible starts to make a little more sense.

For starters, the powertrain in this 193-inch long beast can be described by many words, but two seem most fitting: magnificent and symphonic. The twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V8 puts down 400 horses and over 400 lb-ft of torque practically right off of idle. Without looking at a torque curve, it seems that the vast majority of it arrives by 2500rpm. Even by 2000rpm, you’re already moving at fairly brisk clip. Equally impressive is the new 8 speed automatic, which is amazingly not a DSG, despite being the fastest shifting and most engaging auto I’ve driven. If you (or another family member) absolutely will not get a manual, this is about as good as it gets. Once you manage to engage drive, ignore the gimmicky shifter. Silver paddle shifters at 9 and 3 on the thick, three-spoke tiller operate even when the gearshift is in D, with the left side for downshifts and right side for upshifts.