First Look: 2012 BMW 650i Convertible

2012 BMW 650i Convertible

The 6 doesn't fall behind on old-fashioned go-fast tech, either. It is powered by BMW's new twin-turbo 4.4-liter direct injection V8. The star of its new line of forced induction engines, it produces 400 horsepower from 5500 to 6400 rpm. While it is impressive that peak power is maintained for 900 rpm, the even more impressive feet may be sustaining the peak torque of 450 pound-feet from a lowly 1750 rpm all the way up 4500 rpm. This means the 6 will pull from anywhere in the power band --could this super tractable engine make the new 8-speed automatic transmission redundant? For those three-pedal enthusiasts, a real manual will also be available, but you will have to settle for just 6 forward gears. Equipped with either the manual or the torque-converter automatic, the 6 is rated with a 0-to-60 time of 4.9 seconds and limited top speed of 155 mph.

To make sure the car lives up to BMW's historic handling pedigree, the 6 is equipped with an A-arm suspension in front and a multi-link setup in the rear. BMW says the suspension components are predominantly aluminum, although we aren't sure what percentage constitutes "predominantly." We hope almost all of it would be, for a car in this price range. Engineering fundamentals are again backed up by electronics. An active roll-control system uses hydraulic actuators on the anti-roll bars to change roll rates and handling, and ride can be further altered by varying both compression and rebound damping rates. New for this year is the Integral Active Steering, which combines the active steering previously available with new active rear wheel steering. The rear steer will give the car greater stability at high speeds and allow tighter turning radii in low speed maneuvers.

EPA data is not yet available, but BMW claims the new 650 will be considerably more efficient than the previous model. New features like brake energy regeneration, on-demand ancillary devices, and improved aerodynamics will make for class-leading green performance.

As usual, BMW is going all out with the flagship model. We suspect the 650i will have similar performance to the outgoing M6 while offering more comfort and efficiency. The engineers at the M-Division could really have their work cut out for them this time.

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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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