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2016 BMW 650i Convertible Review & Test Drive

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At times, driving different press vehicles week after week, I catch myself relishing in the fact that BMW is among one of my favorite automotive brands. My biased disposition may be slightly due to being in the ownership pool for BMW vehicles for many years now. What can I say; the brand has left its “Driving Machine” impression on me with a positive outlook on their latest products. In that, my dislike for convertibles have been mitigated ever-so slightly with each BMW convertible drop top vehicle I drive, including my latest review vehicle, the 2016 BMW 650i Convertible.

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Building off of a coupe platform to successfully mold a convertible is no easy task. Convertible vehicles carry added weight, which most medical doctors will tell you is never a good thing. BMW’s approach to convertibles over the past few years has helped to win me over ever-so-slightly in that the drop-top variation of their vehicles retain most of the enthusiastic driving characteristics from its coupe counterpart. The 6 Series has long been an off-set luxury sports coupe that embodies a full-size approach to a two-door grand tourer.

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The new 2016 BMW 650i Convertible is a well sorted out vehicle. I don’t mean that in the slightest generalized tone. With that said, there is a surprising statement made within the luxury sports convertible segment for a vehicle that retains much of its sporty yet supple luxury tones in the way it drives. No doubt that BMW is known primarily for their unique driving traits pitted mostly on the sporty side rather than soft, cushy, luxury. The ride quality is remarkable for such a vehicle where the chassis is quite ridged and limits any unwanted cowl shake. The drivetrain is a force to be reckoned with using a powerful 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that puts out 445 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 480 ft-lbs of torque at 2,000 rpm. Power is directed to the rear wheels (or optional xDrive all-wheel-drive system) through a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission, made by one of the best companies to pioneer development of automatic transmissions. With the twin-turbo V8’s power and snappy shifts from the 8 speed automatic, the 650i Convertible makes it to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

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An indication of the balanced ride with a nearly 50/50 weight distribution (51.7% front/48.3% rear), the BMW 650i Convertible rides on adaptive dampers with 3 modes; Comfort, Comfort Plus and Sport for both the Sport and aggressive Sport Plus drive modes. While my decently optioned 650i Convertible rode on 20-inch wheels and stiff sidewall Dunlop Sport Maxx tires, the ride quality was kept in check through the adaptation of the active dampers and progressive spring rates. Nearing the 650i Convertible’s handling limits, it subtly fought back with some communication through the nicely-weighted steering wheel, which adds additional steering effort in Sport and Sport+ modes but not much extra feedback from the road.

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Fuel efficiency of the 2016 BMW 650i Convertible comes at the expense of nearly 20 gallons of premium fuel, its 4,520 pound curb weight, and powerful twin-turbo V8 engine not being shy about its thirst when pushed hard. With that, you can expect to get a combined 20 mpg with 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg highway. I saw a steady 20.4 mpg with my mixed city and highway driving. Though, with the Eco Pro drive mode enabled, the mpg figure rose to nearly 23 mpg with mixed driving.

Thanks to the Eco Pro mode enabling the transmission to basically shift into neutral, the wheels are decoupled from the drive and the rpm drops to idle ultimately permitting less deceleration drag and from the drivetrain when coasting. I found this to be a beneficial characteristic of the BMW 6 Series that actually worked to save fuel by limiting your deceleration.

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The power folding soft top does a decent job to isolate road nose from the cabin when up and retracts in ample time, taking a short 19 seconds and closes in about 24 seconds, allowing operation at speeds up to 25 mph. The unique soft top features a roll-down rear glass window that can be retracted into the 650i Convertible’s body at your leisure or automatically when the top folds down. The soft top’s retracted space is retained in its own pocket to never intrude on the trunk space at a full 11 cubic feet. Simply put, you can still utilize the same 11 cubic feet of trunk space with the top folded down as you do with it up. There are no separators or movable partition to fumble around with.

The plushness of the BMW 650i Convertible pegs a profound approach to luxury but while never being shy about putting its performance and sporty traits at the forefront. The interior of the new 650i Convertible features wood trim lacing several accented stitching with many soft touch surfaces and leather-like wrapping throughout the dashboard. The driver’s instrument cluster consists mostly of a large LCD screen with multifunction displays and a unique graphical display dependent on the drive mode setting, which can be defeated through the vehicle settings.

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Speaking of vehicle settings, the latest iDrive infotainment and control system of the BMW 650i Convertible follows suit of all current model BMWs with a well-thought-out implementation of userfriendliness and quick responses from the central control inputs. Use of the iDrive system is pretty straightforward in the latest rendition, only requiring a short-termed learning curve for most. I found the iDrive setup to be the best BMW has to offer yet and is more desirable than most touch screen interfaces as it leaves much of the guessing game and slow responses out of the equation. All menus and functions are snappy-quick. My only issue would be use of the trackpad on top of the rotary knob for “drawing” out numbers and letters for inputting items such as addresses into the system. The handwriting simply takes too long. As a quick remedy, the system allows for addresses to be entered by voice command in one full sweep. Basically, you can speak a full address all at once and allow the system to put it all together. It works well, still not as well as something like Siri on your iPhone, which can easily be accessed by the steering wheel voice button when your iPhone is properly connected via Bluetooth. It also works wonders for selecting songs on your iPhone while streaming audio through Bluetooth.

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The many creature comforts and bundled feature sets of the 2016 650i Convertible pave a desirable path for BMW with such a vehicle. Many features that would otherwise be considered as additional-cost options are included with the 650i Convertible. Some of these desirable features include a leather instrument panel, navigation system w/ 10.2-inch high resolution display, automatic adaptive LED headlights, automatic highbeam headlights, Harmon Kardon surround sound audio system, contrast stitching, park distance control, rearview camera, dynamic suspension dampers, Nappa Leather seating, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and interior mirror, 20-way multi-contour power front seats, comfort access keyless entry (and pushbutton start), and the dynamic digital cluster driver’s instrument panel.

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Outside of the “included” list of options, my test vehicle was loaded up with the Cold Weather Package (heated steering wheel and ski bag), Executive Package (soft-close automatic doors, ceramic controls for iDrive-volume-climate temp controls, color multi-information heads-up display, and front ventilated seats), Black Accent Package (20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, LED fog lights, LED ambiance lighting, Fineline brown wood trim, and Shadowline exterior trim). Out of the many packages and remarkable driving traits of the 650i Convertible, my disappointment resided with the ventilated front seats as they seemed to circulate hot air consistently through the leather perforations even when the cabin cooled to a desirable temp with the top up. With the top down, the ventilation proved to be more useful – still not to my full satisfaction. Additionally, the two rear seats remain to be on the small side with limited room for normal-sized adults. Basically, its custom tailored for elementary-school-age children or a temporary but plush Nappa leather storage for handbags.

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The 2016 BMW 650i Convertible starts at a price of $95,400. Loaded with the few optional packages on my test vehicle, the as-tested price comes in at $101,650. At this price point, the 2016 BMW 650I Convertible beckons to trump its competition in its driving pleasure suited more on the side of what enthusiasts desire in a plush performance-oriented and luxury-appointed convertible.

Copyright: 2015 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base 650i Convertible $95,400 / As-Tested 650i Convertible $101,650
  • Vehicle layout: Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door convertible
  • Engine: 4.4-liter DOHC 32-valve two-turbochargers V8 445 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 480 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 4,520 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 112.4 in
  • Length x width x height: 192.7 x 74.6 x 53.7 in
  • Headroom: f/r-40.3 in./36.5 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1 in./30.5 in.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds
  • EPA city/hwy fuel econ: 17 mpg / 25 mpg
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons

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