TopGear: BMW’s new 650 convertible is “boring”, “feels filtered”, “fast without being gratifying”

6-series | March 27th, 2011 by 16
2012 bmw 6 er cabrio 15831 750x500

Famous UK show TopGear just published their own extensive review of the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. Somewhat expected, the new high-end convertible gets slammed …

Famous UK show TopGear just published their own extensive review of the new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible. Somewhat expected, the new high-end convertible gets slammed by the overly critical journalists at TopGear. This time, it wasn’t Jeremy Clarkson, but rather Tom Ford.

Let’s have a look an excerpt from their article:

Belting along a gloriously smooth mountain road in 35°C of blistering South African sunshine and part-wrapped in a 400bhp+, turbocharged, rear-wheel-drive V8 convertible, you’d think things couldn’t get any better. The sky is an impossible cobalt blue, and red-gold rocks rise to one side peppered with stubby, uncomfortable-looking shrubberies, while a rocky, light-swallowing gorge falls precipitously away on the other. Random jaywalking baboons add a frisson of red-buttocked expectation to every blind apex. I’m in a rapid car picking idly away at the frayed edges of my comfort zone and getting ever-so-slightly faster into every corner. I should be in my element. Except I’m not.

2012 bmw 6 er cabrio 15831 655x434Because the new BMW 6-Series Convertible is boring.

Which is definitely not the same as saying that the new Six is a bad car, so this is going to take a bit of explaining.

But the engine doesn’t sing. It bellows in the lower reaches, burps up a guttural pop between quick gearchanges like a DSG and sounds like it might open up, but then tails off. The power is broad-shouldered and thrusty, but the convertible weighs in excess of two tonnes, so the grunt never seems given freely. Fact is, the whole car feels filtered.


For instance, the steering remains a major bugbear. Standard steering will now be via EPS (electric power steering), and even though the system extorts far less energy from the car to work than a hydraulic set-up, it does precisely nothing for BMW’s reputation as a driver’s car. Yes, it’s accurate – the car goes where you point the wheel – but the car TG drove, complete with the Active Steering variable-ratio rack, felt, frankly, a bit bizarre.

Full review at TopGear.

16 responses to “TopGear: BMW’s new 650 convertible is “boring”, “feels filtered”, “fast without being gratifying””

  1. Tom Cardone says:

    ‘overly critical journalists’ enough said.

  2. Mrsubb says:

    Horatiu, is there anything you can do about these Pop-ups that block part of the content and can’t be xed out of the way? A local ad for a Buick dealer of all things obscures my viwe of the first two paragraphs!

    • Horatiu B. says:

      We can’t. These are ads we have to have so they keep the site alive. We tried to make them less intrusive compared to other sites and I think they are fairly balanced.

      Sorry, I wish I had a better solution, but we need a revenue stream to keep doing what we’re doing and pay for expenses.

  3. Adi2684 says:

    The design is conservative. In some ways, it is boring. This is a class where you buy a car after you say “wow” but is not the case with the 6 series. Is not a ugly car, but is not beautiful either.
    From a design point of view, the Jaguar XK is more beautiful, more exotic.
    I do understand the conservative design for the 5 series, it’s ok, but not for the 6 series, not with a car that has to scream “I’m beautiful, I’m sexy, I’m unique”.

  4. pimeto says:

    Oh man, Top Gear is aways hating the Beemers… in fact, everything German!
    They praise the Range Rover and their american fagish Jag…
    So ridiculous reviews i had read from them that i knwo for sure that they are just flaming and hating…

    • Steve says:

      The converse is true. Top Gear has a history of liking most of BMW’s products. They are critical only when there’s something to criticize. There’s no flaming and hating in Tom Ford’s review. The criticisms he levels at the 650i are perfectly reasonable and have raised before by journalists reviewing the more recent crop of BMW products.

    • Andre Anp says:

      They always praise MB. Even when it brakes during the show…

  5. ABK says:

    I agree that TG is over reacting but let’s be objective here. Lately BMW is losing it’s focus. The cars are heavier and less precise in terms of steering. It’s trying too much to be elegant but sporty. This dilemma was Audi’s territory. To be indecise. Elegance was ans still is for Mercedes and sportiness was BMW’s. Audi is moving faster, has better reviews lately, better interiors and are lighter by using aluminium. What is BMW doing? Is about to launch FWD cars, electric minis, GT’s and even a van!!! And I am a BMW fan my whole life. Wake up BMW and focus on what used to make you so special!

    • Nnnn says:

      BMW was special, and its customers were special. Sadly, this is no longer the case as the management targets some theoretical customer with aggregated values – this filters out the character and identity, which is right in line with its engineering direction.

  6. viper says:

    the 6er is great , but for example Id rather go with 2003 MB SL than this , I find it although its an older model I find it more attractive and beautiful than this . and I just HAD to bring that car up , (they are rivals afterall)
    THE NEW 6ER HAS a MAJOR QUALITY FIT & FINISH ISSUE ON THE LEFT SIDE WHERE DOORS CLOSE. you can see that for your self but overall I have to say it does have a better interior than old 6.

  7. Jakemiller5000 says:

    A heavy car like the BMW 6er can never really be “sporty or handle well”. This is a luxury GT cruiser with some sporty pretensions. Just because it has a BMW badge upfront doesn’t mean it’ll handle like a 3er. The best-handling BMWs are the 1er and 3er. Everything else handles relatively well for its class, but their heavier weight means they’ll never, ever, be able to drive like the lighter 1er and 3er. Fact.

  8. StraightSix says:

    650i is not meant to be that sporty, as well as E60 550i wasn’t. But then again M6 and M5 were one of the finest in their class. For heavy duty sportiness wait for M6.

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