LucireThe global fashion magazine May 24, 2024  Subscribe to the Lucire Insider feed
Subscribe to Lucire
latest news | fashion | beauty | living | volante | print and tablet | tv
home | community | shopping | license | contact

Lucire: Living

Lucire 2011
What’s German for la dolce vita? One of the finest style propositions this summer: the BMW 650i Cabriolet.

BMW 650i Cabriolet: an instant classic

The 650i Cabrio may have a throaty V8 with over 400 PS on tap, but it’s foremost a style proposition that’s ideal for summer, writes Jack Yan



WITH SUMMER APPROACHING, it’s convertible season, and there doesn’t seem to be a more glamorous solution than the BMW 650i Cabriolet.

Lucire had actually attended the launch of the car earlier in the year, and given how taken we were with the 5-series—the best saloon in its class in the world—we expected great things from a cabriolet based on it.

First appearances are extremely positive. The cabin is unique to the Sechser, with a more wraparound style. You sit lower than you do in the Fünfer, and even with the top up, the impression you get while sitting in the driver’s seat is that this is a car that begs to be driven.

Turning on the ignition, the hum of the V8 is one of the most enticing sounds. Maybe it’s our imagination, or maybe it’s the heavier right foot with which we first experienced the 650i around the rural areas south of Auckland, but it burbles with a more satisfying, throaty noise than the 550i we tested last year. The engine note begs you to drive it more—and we complied.

BMW New Zealand has opted to bring in the 4·4-litre twin-turbo V8 model first, even though the carbon dioxide emissions are up at the 249 g/km level, and on our test, we managed 17·1 mpg (16·5 l/100 km).

There is no stop–start for the V8. It is an out-and-out sports car, in the traditional mould—but with the luxury appointments one expects in this market.

However, as it is quick to point out, the BMW fleet is down at the 184·5 g/km mark, with a plan to get it below the 170 g/km threshold as originally planned by the former Labour government. Mini, meanwhile, is at 147 g/km. BMW’s figures are considerably lower than even Toyota’s, and slightly lower than Audi’s.

And it’s not as though the 650i is an environmentally unfriendly V8. For both the planet and for lightness, the front guards are made from recyclable plastic, while the bootlid, made from SMC, won’t interfere with radio signals, so the aerial is hidden underneath.

The cleverness doesn’t stop there: the BMW badge on the boot tilts to reveal the rear-view camera, while ultrasonic sensors are hidden in the fins with the indicators. The 650i can hook up to the internet via Bluetooth and can even stream radio if need be—if you can afford the data charges commonly found in New Zealand. An app will even continue the car’s sat-nav to your final destination if you have parked far away. Unlike lesser models, it will allow two cellphone pairings.

All this is well and good, especially for the list price of NZ$248,500, but convertibles are about style.

Good manners prevent us from saying what speed we took the 650i to, but the chassis is tricky at the top limit best found on a private road, though most drivers will prefer to take their time. And why not?

This is the car that elicits comments from schoolboys about it being ‘cool’, and even the police officer who encountered us during the initial Auckland test gave it the thumbs-up. We found a note on the windscreen wipers with ‘Nice car.’

It passes the age-old test of whether you turn around after you’ve left it to admire it. The lithe lines, under BMW’s current design director Adrian von Hooydonk, make the 6er a more pleasing proposition to the eye. The outgoing model, with its aggressive angles, made plenty of noise, and, sure enough, many drivers were happy to tell people they had arrived, but the latest F12 series signals that through proportion, the purposeful forward-sloping grille, and the rear wing extending outward over the rear wheel. It’s far more subtle, and far more in tune with the Zeitgeist of the early 2010s. No one wants to be called a tosser, in an age when The Apprentice suffers ever-lower ratings.

We don’t say this often, but we see the F12 as an instant classic: a car that firmly belongs to the Zeitgeist of the early 2010s, with an elegance that propels it past the standing of its predecessor.

Going topless, the 650i’s fabric roof folds in less than 20 seconds. BMW says no boot space is robbed by the roof, although while the boot extends deeply inward, it’s not exactly the tallest. But the company has ensured that the 650i’s structure is stiff enough, and to the legal limit the handling is faultless.

It is best described as a grand tourer with the roof down, a car in which you are telling the world you’re living la dolce vita.

While, like most BMWs, it rewards the you when driving in a spirited fashion, and you don’t notice the size of the car (4,894 mm in length), you get the feeling that BMW is capable of delivering more when it reveals an M6 version of this car in the future. Then we’ll be weighing up just how much of an out-and-out sports car the Sechser is; for now, there is something particularly civilized about the 650i.

We realize that the there’s 407 PS (300 kW) under the bonnet, and it propels the convertible comfortably enough for it to have sports car cred. That V8 burble might egg you on. But, somehow, keeping it in reserve is enough, because you’re allowed to pose in a subtler BMW. This is not a car that says, ‘Look at me.’ Instead, the 650i Cabriolet quietly says, ‘Enjoy me.’

In the summertime, you can’t ask for a more apt proposition. •


Jack Yan is publisher of Lucire.


This is the car that elicits comments from schoolboys about it being ‘cool’, and even the police officer who encountered us during the initial Auckland test gave it the thumbs-up. We found a note on the windscreen wipers with ‘Nice car’










Related articles
Lucire 2011 | The Global Fashion Magazine

Five’s flip sides
Jack Yan tests both the BMW 550i and 535d and discovers two very different beasts—but can both be the best executive saloon in the world?
photographed by Tanya Sooksombatisatian

Lucire 2011 | The Global Fashion Magazine The X factor
BMW’s X1 SUV has more sporting proportions and a more sensible size for the sensitive early 2010s. However, it’s not the complete package, as Jack Yan explains
photographed by the author
Lucire 2011 | The Global Fashion Magazine

The spirit of 2002
No, not the year: Jack Yan tries to find if any of BMW’s diesel coupés recapture the essence of the company’s famed 2002 range of the 1970s
photographed by the author and Nigel Dunn




Facebook Lucire Facebook group
Digg This Digg it | Add to Facebook Add to Facebook








Copyright ©1997–2014 by JY&A Media, a division of Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved. JY&A terms and conditions and privacy policy apply to viewing this site. All prices in US dollars except where indicated. Contact us here.