UK magazine Autocar publishes their own review of the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. As with the previous reviews, this one sits on the positive side and outlines some of the best characteristics of BMW’s high-end cabriolet.
What’s it like?
Gone is the bullish and bloated look of the old model, replaced by a much more elegant and cohesive lineage. Not surprisingly, given it is based on the same underpinnings as the latest generation 5-series, the new 6-series cabriolet has grown in length and width, putting on 74mm and 39mm respectively, although height is down by a scant 8mm – all of which serves to give it a longer and more lithe profile together with a more confident and athletic stance.
As with the exterior, the interior has also been thoroughly reworked, with a unique dashboard and centre console – the latter now angled slightly towards the driver for a more cosseting feel than that of the old 6-series cabriolet. The perception of quality has also received a welcome lift thanks to the inclusion of higher grade materials and added attention to detail.
Out on the open road, the new 6-series cabriolet feels terrifically solid with very little scuttle shake even over nasty ruts, and, crucially, is a good deal more entertaining than its predecessor. It changes direction with added eagerness and, despite its vast array of electronic driving aids, can be relied upon to adjust its line mid-corner.
BMW says overall stiffness has been improved by a remarkable 50 per cent, both for dynamic and ride characteristics, along with a more direct action for the front steering and, in a first for the up-market open top ranks, the addition of the BMW’s Integral Active Steering.
As far as driving characteristics are concerned, it is really a matter of what chassis setting you choose. As with high end versions of the new 5-series and the larger 7-series, BMW’s Dynamic Drive system allows you to select between three different modes: comfort, normal and sport. A further setting, sport plus, also delays the intervention of the stability and traction control systems to give you a further dimension.
Normal is the mode of choice for everyday running, providing an excellent blend between ride quality, body control and overall response. It better suits the new car’s athletic character than comfort mode, which unnecessarily softens up the suspension, introduces added body roll and takes the sharpness out of the steering.
Our Note: The conclusion is less conclusive than what we expected, so we are already looking forward at the first head-to-head comparisons against its competitors.
Should I buy one?
The new 6-series cabriolet is clearly a more complete car than the one it replaces. From the added elegance inherent in its styling, through the improved quality of its interior, increased performance potential, reduced consumption and more entertaining on-road qualities, it’s a positive step forward and a much more worthy rival to the likes of the Jaguar XK cabriolet and Mercedes-Benz E-class coupe.