BMW has just launched its face-lifted 650i Coupe and 650i Convertible models. Minor changes occur both inside and out, but the lusty V8 powerplant remains untouched.By Kelly Lodewyks and Juliet McGuire
The fresher 6 Series has received stronger lines that, according to BMW, give the vehicle “an even more powerful and striking stance on the road.” The most prominent exterior refresh is a wider, more aggressive front air intake. Other exterior changes include the newly designed indicators with LED lights and new dual round headlights with integrated daytime running lights.
At the rear, an additional brake light has been integrated in the spoiler lip, while the braek lights have also received a makeover, with a new inner structure and all of the lights now feature LED units.
On the options front, BMW has made its 6 Series available with new metallic paint colours such as Deep Sea Blue and Space Grey, as well as three new light-alloy rims.
Along with the exterior’s overhaul, BMW has furnished the 6’s cabin with new materials in an attempt to carry some of the exterior’s “elegant dynamism” to the interior.
Both the 650i Convertible and Coupe are powered by a 270 kW 4,8-litre V8 powerplant that develops 490 N.m at 3 400 r/min. This aluminium unit comes equipped with the company’s proven Valvetronic valve management system, double-VANOS variable camshaft control on both the intake and exhaust side, as well an intake manifold switching to two different positions. Zero to 100 km/h takes all of 5,1 seconds in the Coupe, and 5,5 in the Convertible. For both models, the top speed is a governed 250 km/h.
Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, alternatively, a six-speed automatic sports transmission with paddle shift is also available.
Safety features include an ABS braking system with AMS, Automatic Stability Control, a Brake Assistant, and Cornering Brake Control to avoid under- or oversteer in challenging driving conditions.
The standard 18-inch alloys are shod tyres that feature Runflat technology. For extra driver assistance, the 650i comes equipped with Active Cruise Control with a stop and go function. These features are but a few of the many standard and optional safety features available for the 650i.
Entertainment is provided in the form of BMW’s newly developed Individual High-End Audio System. This audio system comes as standard with an auxiliary-in and, as an optional extra, USB connectivity for an MP3 player.
“The first model I drove was the 650i coupé”, reports Juliet McGuire. “The car’s steering felt heavier than most and very direct, it was a really comfortable drive. The seats are easy to adjust and the leather, with Sun Reflective Technology, insures that you don’t burn your backside when you get in. According to BMW, the pigments in the upholstery provide better circulation and reduce the temperature by 20C.
“As we drove from George to Oudtshoorn, the 650i Coupé handled well. When I first got onto the flat winding pass, it felt as if I was driving a Learjet (not that I’ve actually ever flown one of those before, but I can imagine). It’s as much a sports car as a grand tourer, but I somehow can’t see the younger generation driving it…
“The manual 650 ci, on the other hand, gave me an immensely pleasurable driving experience. The top was down and my hair was flowing! With the top down, the level of wind buffeting was not intrusive. I could have a decent conversation without having to scream. In fact, there is a lovely purr of the engine in the background,” she added.