BMW 650i Convertible (2008) Review

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2008 BMW 650i Convertible 2008 BMW 650i Convertible 2008 BMW 650i Convertible
2008 BMW 650i Convertible 2008 BMW 650i Convertible 2008 BMW 650i Convertible
2008 BMW 650i Convertible 2008 BMW 650i Convertible 2008 BMW 650i Convertible

If you're an audiophile BMW's 6 Series Convertible could hit the sweet spot.

BMW 650i Convertible (2008) Review
2008 BMW 650i Convertible

 

BMW 650i Convertible

[Jan 2008] With familiar BMW cockpit cues, similar driving position and the same thick-rimmed steering wheel, your senses can be forgiven for being primed for M3-style impressions and driving dynamics. It doesn't take much more than 100 metres however to know that the 6 Series is a very different beast.

While the M3 is racetrack-sharp, the 650i is a GT built to take you across a country, on a range of roads in double time and with all the mod-cons.

Its V8 has a delicious deep and quite different burble to the 4.0-litre unit used in the fastest 3. It's possessed of a decent amount of torque right from off-idle and a soundtrack that suggests its capacity is a litre or two larger than the 4799cc it actually displaces.

It's no slouch but don't expect to go hunting SL55s without getting your nose bloodied. Performance off the line is none too shabby and there seems to be ne'er a peak or trough, such is its linear delivery.

That said, overtaking and in-gear acceleration never feels as vibrant as you'd expect from the range-topping GT. I guess that's where the M6 comes in.

Select the 'box's Sport mode and the upgraded unit's gearshifts are rapid and responsive. Use the lever or the steering wheel-mounted paddles and manual mode is accessed for changes that are swift and direct. They're not the metallically sharp shift of an SMG box, but the auto's so much more civilised we'd pick it for anything but a racetrack environment. In normal mode, the changes are syrupy smooth.

Activate the console-mounted Sport button and you're changing suspension damping rates, throttle response and the assistance level and response rate of the 6's variable-ratio Active Steering.

The sportier suspension setting is obvious and won't be to all tastes. Combined with the 6's standard Dynamic Drive componentry, the tight damping control means the car turns in a touch sprightlier and corners flat at even elevated levels of effort. That said, though there's loads of grip and reasonable steering feedback, overall there's a general lack of feel. In this respect the 6 feels very capable but remote.

Switch the safety nannies off and the 650i can be made to misbehave but it requires quite some provocation. This car has great 'natural' grip. One thing that's also hard to criticise is the brakes, which offer plenty of power and feel.

While the Coupe is quiet, allowing you to enjoy the engine's fine timbre, for the full dose opt for the Convertible. The open car goes close to matching the hardtop's serenity but lower the folding cloth top and the sky's the limit.

The convertible gives very little away to the hardtop model - certainly not enough to deter a typical 6 Series buyer.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

2008 BMW 650i Convertible

BODY:  2+2 convertible

WEIGHT: 1860kg

DRIVETRAIN:  front eng, RWD

ENGINE: 4.8-litre V8

TRANSMISSION: six-speed auto

POWER/TORQUE:  270kW/490Nm

PERFORMANCE:  0-100km/h - 5.6secs

PRICE:  $228,800

 

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