First reviews of the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible are just in. First one comes from Car and Driver and is somewhat a mixed review with both pros and cons. Let’s have a quick look at some of their major points:
“If you are shopping for a 6-series convertible, please accept our congratulations. According to BMW market research, this is your third or fourth car—not ever, mind you, but currently.
To snag such customers, the Bavarians start with style. While the previous-generation 6 ushered in an almost iconoclastic era of BMW design, the new 6, styled by Nader Faghihzadeh, returns somewhat to the elegance of the first-generation 6 introduced in 1976. From every angle, the new car looks low and wide and oozes a subtle but unmistakable aggressiveness. The front end features a new fog light style—executed with LEDs—and a hint of the shark nose that had all but disappeared from BMWs. Thankfully, the 650i uses an evolution of the previous car’s fabric roof instead of a heavy folding hardtop.”
The engine and transmission.
Some credit for this car’s responsiveness goes to the transmission, the ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic. It shifts quickly and efficiently, and its extremely tall top gear helps keep fuel consumption at acceptable levels. But if you hustle it, the 650i still slurps gas. Figure on real-world fuel economy somewhere around 12–14 mpg if you’re going to play hard.
More rewarding than talk of efficiency is the great soundtrack of the V-8. We’ve experienced this engine elsewhere, but here, BMW tinkered with the ignition timing to achieve a delicate burble in the exhaust whenever the automatic shifts. And with so many gears to choose from, it shifts a lot.
The electric steering concern.
Unfortunately, the electric steering is a reason to stay away from the sportier modes. As on the new 5-series, the steering is slightly numb on center and feels artificially heavy, but the synthetic feel is less noticeable in Comfort and Normal. You can tinker with the system settings individually, but no combination will charm you.
The steering feel and the V-8’s drinking habits are the only drawbacks of an otherwise wonderful car that looks like a BMW should. The regular 6-series doesn’t have many competitors, although the even burlier M6 will return with a thoroughly reworked version of the same engine that could reach close to 600 hp. The somewhat-lighter 650i coupe will trail the convertible by six months. Whichever 6-series you choose for that fourth car, just be sure to spec the manual transmission.”