Detroit – The 650i convertible has been sitting on the floor for half the day and later afternoon the photographers and hangers on cleared out enough for us to take a close up look at the styling. Pictures show some of the distinctive features of the car, but closer inspection shows some of the styling cues are very subtle, felt as much as seen.

Running you hand over the forward area of the door panel and follow the line that breaks up into the front fender and it becomes hard to see, but you can feel it. What’s interesting is that the front fenders are thermoplastic. The doors are stamped aluminum and the rear fenders steel.

The creases on the hood flow forward onto the nose of the car. Again aluminum hood and thermoplastic nose. These little touches have to drive the production folks crazy, but they make the styling work.

Given the intended buyer of this car, the styling has to be somewhat conservative. It needs to look like ‘old money’ – effortlessly elegant. The interior design was built around the idea of tightly defining the driver’s space. Consider anything covered in leather below the air vents the passenger’s space, the rest belongs to the driver. And of course the production process to define that split, the twist on the passenger side center stack is difficult to make.

Unfortunately photos don’t really pick up all the subtlety of this design, you really have to get up close to see and feel them. We should have more on the 6er design tomorrow for you after the 6 Series Convertible Design Workshop lead by Adrian van Hooydonk.