Without question, the redesigned 6-series is better looking than its predecessor. The biggest improvement can be seen from behind, where the squaring-off of its previously rounded rump has done wonders for the vehicle’s side profile and overall proportions. The cloth top’s unique C-pillars — which extend another foot or so past the rear window — are a carryover from the last 6-series but, being such an interesting design element, it was a good decision for BMW to hold onto them. And from inside the cabin, these “flying buttresses” have a secondary functional benefit that makes the 6-series easier to live with: in moving the rear window from its steeply raked position into a vertical position, closer to the driver, BMW has made the 6-series’ rearward view a bit better than the average sporty, four-seat convertible. It also made it possible to have a functional rear window that can be lowered independently of the convertible top.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
The 6-series indeed is a handsome-looking car on the outside, but it might be even more attractive inside. BMW interiors, though never lacking for high-quality materials and always well-constructed, tend to lack flair and excitement. The 6-series, in contrast, has a wonderful sense of drama deriving from the unusual hourglass shape that flows down from the passenger’s side of the dash and down across the center console. Contrasting stitching highlights interesting, three-dimensional shapes on the dash and door panels. Happily, none of this comes at the expense of BMW’s traditional focus on the driver — the gauges are crisp, the steering wheel has a nice fat rim, and the seats have more power controls than your typical dentist’s chair.
BMW’s 4.4-liter V-8, which we know from the 750i, puts in a good performance here, lending some real athleticism to this 4608-pound, all-wheel-drive cruiser. You’ll hear its roar at full throttle, but otherwise not much noise enters the cabin — quite impressive for a soft-top convertible.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I recently had the chance to spend four days driving a BMW 650i coupe, so I knew what to expect from this convertible version. To whit, the new 650i has a lavish interior, stunning sheetmetal, outstanding acceleration, and a long list of high-tech features. The 6-series convertible proved just as excellent as the coupe model, although 32-degree weather meant I did not drive with the top down.
As much as I liked this car, I can’t see the logic in ordering a 650i convertible with xDrive. If you live in a climate where all-wheel drive is necessary — that is, one with lots of snow and ice — you won’t have much opportunity to open the convertible top. Conversely, I’m sure anyone who can afford a 6-series convertible can afford a second car to drive during a blizzard. Save the money and buy the rear-wheel-drive 650i.
During my brief time with the car, I thought that the convertible felt heavier and a bit more unwieldy around tight city streets than the 650i coupe I had previously driven. BMW says the xDrive convertible weighs 375 pounds more than the rear-wheel-drive 650i coupe, which could account for my subjective impression of mass.
Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor
I spent several days with a 650i coupe about six weeks ago, but this was my first chance to get into the droptop version. Unfortunately it’s mid-winter, so I was never able to put down the roof, which really is the whole point of this car. However, the uninviting temperatures did give me the opportunity to test the thermal insulation of the roof, and it proved to be very effective at keeping road and wind noise at bay. As is typical with convertibles, there are sizable blind spots at each rear pillar, but at least the rear window is glass — and it even has a defroster, which, along with this model’s four-wheel-drive system, could come in handy during the winter driving season.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2012 BMW 650i xDrive Convertible
MSRP (with destination): $94,395
PRICE AS TESTED: $106,045
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 450 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
WHEELS AND TIRES:
20-inch aluminum wheels
245/45VR-20 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D DSST tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
Cargo: 11.0 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.1/30.5 in
Headroom (front/rear): 40.3/36.5 in
Mineral White/Vermillion Red
Stability and traction control
xDrive all-wheel-drive system
Adaptive Xenon headlights
LED fog lights
20-way power front seats w/Nappa leather
Power soft top w/heated rear glass window
Parking distance control
Dynamic cruise control
Navigation w/voice control
BMW Assist w/Bluetooth
Interior ambient lighting
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Driver Assistance package- $3300
Automatic high beams
Active blind spot detection
Side- and top-view cameras
Cold Weather package- $750
Heated steering wheel and front seats
LED headlights and 20-inch wheels- $2900
Premium Sound package- $1800
Satellite radio w/1-year subscription
Premium hi-fi system
iPod and USB adapter
Active roll stabilization- $2000
Ceramic controls- $650
BMW Apps- $250
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
M Sport package- $3400
Luxury seating package- $1500
According to BMW the 650i xDrive convertible will go form zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, one tenth of a second faster than the rear-wheel-drive 650i.