BMW 650i coupe
Few material possessions are more seductive than an exceptionally good-looking, powerfully capable, luxurious automobile. Fold in a six-figure price tag and suddenly you’re looking at an object of desire potentially capable of inspiring hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of rampant adulation.
Such is the nature of BMWs 2012 650i Coupe. Gracefully beautiful in a manner usually reserved for English GT cars, the 2012 650i Coupe is long and sleek where it is supposed to be, low and squat where it needs to be, and gracefully curvaceous where you want it to be. As clichéd as it sounds, this is a car to which photography truly does no justice.
Seeing it gliding along the street, or better still, seeing it at speed on a suitably sinuous two-lane incites an excitement usually reserved for pleasures of a more carnal nature. The boldly angular lines of its predecessor, while still evident in the overall design, have morphed gracefully and fluidly into something altogether unique, yet instantly recognizable.
Which pretty much covers exceptionally good looking.
Let’s move on to powerfully capable.
BMW has embraced turbocharging — big time. A pair of turbos nestled comfortably between the 400-horsepower, 4.4-liter V8’s cylinder banks, shorten the intake path and provide 450 ft.-lbs. of torque from as low as 1,750 RPM. The engine responds instantly and delivers power like it is significantly larger than it actually is. An added bonus, its sonorous quality is subtly sophisticated and seriously satisfying, all at the same time.
A number of reviewers have criticized the electric power steering solution employed by BMW these days as lacking in feel, but this writer is wondering if his contemporaries are doing so in a knee-jerk reaction to change—more so than the actuality of the situation. In our hard charging test drives we found the steering extremely accurate, with no play on center whatsoever. You twitch the wheel, the nose of the car responds. As for communicating the activity of the front wheels, the steering system is quite informative. Further, the way BMW’s optional Integral Active Steering makes the car respond to steering inputs like an outsized go-kart is particularly delightful.
That said, attacking corners in the 650i Coupe is an absolute dream as well. The body stays perfectly flat in all maneuvers, thanks to BMW’s Active Roll Stabilization system. In fact, the only things rolling on our test car were its 20-inch tires and wheels. Speaking of the tires, they grip mightily, thanks to the superior chassis calibrations bestowed upon the coupe by the men from Munich. Braking is robust and exceptionally reassuring, although we did notice a bit of degradation in performance when the rotors became extremely heated. The eight-speed automatic transmission fitted to our tester shifted precisely and never left the engine wanting for revs. Paddles on the steering wheel even permitted us to take control of the ratios ourselves for an additional visceral reward. And yes, a six-speed manual transmission is available.
Performance addressed, let’s consider the luxury aspect of the 2012 BMW 650i’s nature.
The purposeful quality of a BMW interior can almost be mistaken for plain. BMW doesn’t do flashy just for the sake of being flashy; everything in the car serves the art of driving. From the way the instruments use white markers against a black background, to the way they are bathed in red illumination at night to preserve your night vision, to the way the center console is canted toward the driver just so—in a BMW, it’s always function first.
That said, the design of the interior of the 650i Coupe embraces that philosophy and wraps it all in high-quality premium materials. Gorgeous leather with French seaming contributes beautifully to the juxtaposition of metal, hides and ceramics to create an environment that is as pleasing to the passenger as it is functional for the driver. The sculptured architecture of the dash lends visual interest, while simultaneously providing access for both the driver and passenger to the BMW’s infotainment system.
Cutting edge technology ensures the occupants of the 2012 BMW 650i Coupe are well in touch with the outside world when they need to be and comfortably ensconced in their own world when they want to be. Bluetooth audio streaming, mobile applications, and a truly state of the art audio system all come together to deliver beautifully.
All in all, this third generation BMW 6 Series Coupe is a wonderful car, and quite frankly, destined to be a pretty exclusive one too. While pricing starts at $83,875 including destination charges, options for this bad boy don’t come cheaply. With some $23,000 in options, our test car’s total price was $106,575.
The 2012 BMW 6 Series Coupe is the spiritual successor to one of the most coveted models in BMW history, the 3.0 CSi. Here's a video retrospective on that car.