First Look: 2012 BMW 650i Convertible

Based the the appearance of the BMW 6 Series Coupe Concept at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, one could have easily predicted the automaker was on the cusp of launching the all-new 6 Series Coupe. BMW, however, decided to switch things up, and roll out the drop-top variant -- the 2012 650i Convertible -- before it sends the fixed-roof model into production.

Starting with a redesigned chassis, the new 6 is 2.9 inches longer both overall and in wheelbase, 1.5 inches wider, and less than half-an-inch shorter in height. Weight change information hasn't been released, but several steps have been taken to lighten the big tourer. The front fenders, roof cover, and trunk lid are composite, while the doors, hood, and front shock towers all are constructed from aluminum. All those body panels represent what BMW calls "athletic elegance and natural sportiness." The lines that start at the hood and flow backward are inspired by the waves pushing off the bow of a motorboat. Whatever the inspiration, the new 6 has a more classic look that should age much more gracefully than the previous flame-surfaced design.

Technology is going to be the real party trick that sells the new 6. It's loaded to the gills with electronics like Driving Dynamic Control, which allows the driver to dial in how the car responds with throttle mapping, steering assist, damping, stability, and traction control. It will also be equipped with BMW's new ConnectedDrive, which boasts features like Auto High Beam control, lane departure warning system, auto blindspot detection, rear and top view cameras for parking assistance, proximity sensors, night vision, 3-D heads-up display and even active cruise control with start/stop capability. All this technology could be a signal of just how close we're getting to a self-driving car.

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So how much does it weigh? How much will it cost?Is it more 7 series or is it based on the 5 series underpinnings?

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