2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Introduction

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Introduction

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines luxury as a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort. It also says a luxury adds to pleasure and/or comfort but is not absolutely necessary. It goes on to define the word as referring to an indulgence in something providing pleasure, satisfaction, or ease.

We would submit one more definition to go along with the above…

In this society, true luxury resides in choice.

The difference between the rich and the rest of us is their wealth provides them the capability of exercising their determination and control over as many of the aspects of their environment as possible. Thus, a luxury car frees one of the day-to-day mundanities associated with driving—if you’d like to be.

A definitive luxury car permits you to choose how you’d like to go.

This is why we feel there is more to a luxury car than just an abundance of coddling features. In our estimation, a real luxury car should go, turn, and stop just as well as it caters to your comfort and convenience. For these reasons, we feel the 2013 BMW 650i Convertible is a definite standout among automobiles.

A perfectly honed driving instrument—when it comes to going—the BMW 650i Convertible is all about providing choice, capability, control, and determination. That the 6 Series Convertible is at once a full-on driver’s car, as well as a luxuriously appointed and sophisticated mode of day-to-day transportation makes it even more desirable.

Lord, it must be good to be rich.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Models & Prices

BMW’s 6 Series convertible is offered with two engine choices; a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder producing 315 horsepower and 332 ft-lbs of torque powers the 640i. The 650i uses a twin turbocharged V8 capable of generating 445 horsepower and 480 ft-lbs of torque. A choice of rear- or all-wheel drive is available for both engines.

Base price for the 2013 640i Convertible is $82,400; the 2013 650i Convertible starts at $93,700.

Addressing the subject of choice, it should be noted that while the list of standard equipment specified for the 2013 6 Series Convertible is quite lengthy and wholly luxurious, there are a number of options and packages available to ensure your BMW convertible is as uniquely your own as you’d like it to be.

Highlights of the standard feature set include; an adaptive sport suspension system, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights with power washers, LED foglights, automatic wipers, parking sensors, heated power-folding mirrors, keyless entry and start, heated 16-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustments, a heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and adaptive cruise control.

To personalize your Convertible, there are several optional packages available. The $400 Cold Weather Package adds a ski bag pass through, and a heated steering wheel. The $4200 Executive Package brings with it a power rear sunshade, ceramic controls, a head up display, ventilated front seats, and automatic soft close doors. To get full LED lights as well as automatic high beams, you’ll need to order the $1900 lighting package.

Elements of the $4400 M Sport Package include an M steering wheel, 19-inch light alloy double spoke wheels with run flat tires, shadow line exterior trim, the M Sport aerodynamic kit, and an increased top speed limiter. The $1900 driver assistance package fits Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, side and top view cameras, and speed limit information.

Key options include Adaptive Drive at $2500, Active Cruise Control for $1200, active front seats for $1000, Integral Active Steering at $1750, parking assistant at $500, the Bang & Olufsen surround sound system at $3700, and night vision with pedestrian detection at $2600. BMW charges $895 for destination and handling.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Design

The now traditional long nose, short rear deck styling language of BMW translates particularly well to a big convertible like the 650i. Sleek yet sinewy, sophisticated yet muscular, the looks of the 6 Series Convertible immediately telegraph its station in the automotive hierarchy.

While even a cursory glance reveals the car to be dynamically handsome, a lengthy study reveals numerous subtleties and details. The understated sculpturing in the sides of the car, along with the definitive character lines running the length of the body add tension, richness, and character to the overall look.

It all works together to imply motion, even when the car is at rest. A perfect example of this is the way the lines of the car spread out behind the BMW badge on the nose of the 6 Series like the wake of a boat trails out in the water. Further, the lines of the multi-layered canvas roof flow seamlessly into the body of the car when it is raised, just as naturally as the roof of the hardtop version of the 650i.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo

When the 650i Convertible isn’t moving, take a moment to look around the interior. Your eye will be delighted with exceptional craftsmanship by every measure. The overall interior design is very Ger-maniacally efficient and practical, while at the same time evocative of exceptional quality. The positioning of the controls telegraph the BMW’s potential as a driver’s car while simultaneously catering to the comfort, convenience and security of the very lucky passenger.

The roof can be opened in 19 seconds and closed in 24. Additionally, it is designed to operate while the car is moving at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. This permits you to close the roof while looking for a parking space, or open it as you drive off—rather than sitting with the engine at idle and consuming fuel just to operate the roof.

It also offers thermal insulation and is designed to permit year-round use of the BMW. The roof’s thickness and structural integrity keep wind noise at bay, so the cabin is very quiet when it is closed. Further, the way the roof is finished on the inside gives no hint of it being a convertible top when it is in place. The heated glass rear window is configured to operate independently of the roof, so it can be left up when the top is down to serve as a wind blocker.

The seating is finished in leather designed to reflect heat to improve occupant comfort on sunny days. The front seats also cradle the driver and front passenger very comfortably over long distances at high speeds. In Germany, the unlimited speed autobahn network renders commuter air travel redundant. Cars like the BMW 650i Convertible are intended to serve as high-speed long distance transportation — just as much as they are meant to convey the prestige and good taste of their owners.

To that end, you’ll find outstanding comfort and a reasonably commodious trunk. While the BMW 650i Coupe is capable of accommodating nearly 13 cubic feet of cargo, the Convertible’s top does eat into that space somewhat. The 6 Series Convertible offers 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space when the top is deployed and 10.6 cubic feet when it is retracted.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Features & Controls

Of course, all your high dollar Germans bristle with computer assisted go faster gear these days. And, as is to be expected, high tech is this convertible’s stock in trade too; possessing as it does the state of the art in every aspect of its running gear and ancillary equipment.

Active Steering, Driving Dynamics Control, High Precision Direct Injection, floating caliper brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, automatic Brake Drying, and Brake Fade Compensation all blend seamlessly to enhance the 650’s performance abilities, while simultaneously upping the BMW’s safety quotient.

Meanwhile, cutting edge comfort and convenience technology ensures the occupants of the 2013 BMW 650i Convertible are well in touch with the outside world when they need to be — yet comfortably ensconced in their own world when they want to be.

Bluetooth audio streaming, integrated mobile applications, a trick dock for the iPhone incorporating all of its infotainment faculties, and a truly state of the art Bang & Olufsen surround audio system all come together to deliver a beautifully orchestrated experience.

What is truly remarkable is how all of this technological wonder can be packaged in a design that looks so simple, and yet is so readily accessible. Again, owing to the high-speed intentions of the car, things have to be intuitive in the BMW Convertible. The thoughtful design of the controls is just as much a safety feature as is the complement of airbags.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Engine/Fuel Economy

Displacing 4.4-liters and force-fed oxygen by a pair of turbochargers nestled comfortably in between the two banks of cylinders; the engine is amazingly smooth and free winding. Around the city, at parade speeds, it’s quiet, dignified and respectful of the circumstance. Out on the road, with its throttles wide open, the sonorous V8’s baritone is as mellifluous and heart racing as its output is seemingly never ending.

With the capability of generating 445 horsepower and 480 foot-pounds of torque on demand, the engine is easily supportive of whatever tone you wish to set. That the full 480 foot-pounds of torque is available at 1750-rpm means searing acceleration is instantly available at your slightest whim. Even the smallest gaps in traffic become readily exploitable passing opportunities.

With the eight-speed automatic transmission the V8’s output is always effectively managed. BTW, that eight-speed automatic allows you to choose your own gears and even burps out delightful throttle blips before downshifts to add to the visceral delight of controlling it yourself.

Fuel economy for the rear drive 650i Convertible with the eight-speed automatic transmission is rated at 17 mpg in the city/25 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined. The all-wheel drive 650i Convertible returns 16-city, 24-highway, and 19 combined.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions

Streaking along the highway, the sleek BMW 650i Convertible enjoys the status of a shark in a school of goldfish. Everything is prey. When confronted with a slower vehicle, a firm prod of the throttle unleashes the full song of the twin-turbo V8, the big convertible squats almost imperceptibly, rushes into the passing lane and the offending obstruction is effortlessly converted into a shrinking image in the BMW’s rear-view mirror. The 650i’s smoothness and stability continually encourage you to strive for greater velocity.

Similarly, when the road begins to wind back and forth, the Bavarian droptop’s 50/50 weight distribution, aluminum suspension componentry, and electronic chassis management systems keep the Bimmer ripping along with alacrity—barely breaking stride to accomplish the required changes of direction. Whether you choose to shift the transmission yourself, or leave those duties to the BMW to manage on your behalf, you’ll find the optimal amount of torque always on hand to propel you giddily toward the next apex.

Tearing into the tightest corners, the luxurious GT car slices and dices in a manner reminiscent of its more diminutive Z4 sibling. Yes, it’s a relatively heavy car and yes, you’re somewhat aware of that, however the accuracy of the 650i’s steering, the determined effectiveness of its braking, and the way its body remains perfectly flat—regardless of the severity of the maneuver—is a positively wondrous experience.

Long story short, converting time into distance is something this BMW Convertible does very well.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Safety/Ratings

Leading the list of safety kit fitted to the BMW 650i Convertible are ABS, electronic brake force distribution, emergency braking preparation, brake drying, traction control, and stability control. There is a passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation system, head protection chamber side-mounted airbags, pop-up roll bars, and a head restraint whiplash protection system for the driver and the front passenger—in addition to front seatbelt pre-tensioners.

If the airbags are deployed, the post collision safety system will unlock the doors and notify emergency personnel automatically. Other safety features include daytime running lights, high-pressure washers for the headlamps, dusk sensing headlamps, adaptive headlamps that switch to low beams automatically when faced with oncoming traffic, night vision with pedestrian detection, and self-leveling headlights.

Engine immobilization, a remote antitheft alarm system, a stolen vehicle tracking system, and an emergency interior trunk release are there too.

To date, neither NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested a 2013 BMW 650i Convertible.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts

Powerful, elegant, smooth, agile, and singularly handsome, aspirational cars don’t come a whole lot better than this one. Everything you could want in a modern luxury car can be had in the 650i Convertible.

But do you really need one when the 640i is all of those things for $11,300 less money? Yes, a 650i will blow a 640i into the weeds in a drag race, but in the real world there’s really not that much difference in the way the two cars serve a driver.

Further, if you’ve never experienced the admittedly intoxicating thrust of the twin turbo V8, you really won’t miss it driving the 315-horsepower/332 ft-lb inline-six. Its power output is that good. Plus, the silky-smooth six-cylinder engine returns better fuel economy. The EPA says you can look for 20 mpg in the city, 30 on the highway, and 24 miles per gallon combined.

The choice, as they say, is yours.

2013 BMW 650i Convertible Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons

Pros:

• Elegantly handsome styling

• Well crafted, luxuriously appointed interior

• Exceptional performance

• Posh, yet understated appeal

Cons:

• The 640i Convertible is a better value

By Lyndon Bell