2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Introduction

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Introduction

Few material possessions are more seductive than an exceptionally good-looking, powerfully capable, luxurious automobile. Fold in a six-figure price tag and suddenly you’re looking at an object of desire potentially capable of inspiring hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of rampant adulation.

BMW’s 650i Coupe is just such an automobile.

The phrase “long, low and lean” was seemingly coined specifically for the big BMW Coupe. Completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, the package that is the 2013 BMW 650i is wrapped in some of the most eye appealing sheetmetal ever seen on the road. The car supports those good looks with an exceptionally smooth and powerful engine, outstanding roadholding, hedonistic levels of luxury, and one of the most sophisticated V8 engines ever produced.

In short, the 2013 BMW 650i ticks practically every box on any automotive enthusiast’s list of gottahaves.

Thus making the BMW 650i itself a gottahave.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Models And Prices

For model year 2013, BMW’s 6 Series Coupe is offered in four versions; the 640i Coupe ($74,900), the all–wheel drive 640i xDrive Coupe ($77,900), 650i Coupe ($86,200), and 650i xDrive Coupe ($89,200).

The BMW 650i Coupe uses a twin turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 and rear wheel drive.

The list of standard equipment specified for the 2013 650i is quite lengthy and wholly luxurious. Highlights 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 650i further, 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.

Thus equipped, the price of a BMW 650i Coupe comes in at $120,419.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Design

Gracefully handsome in a manner usually reserved for English GT cars, the 2013 650i Coupe is long and sleek where it is supposed to be, low and squat where it needs to be, and fluidly curvaceous where you want it to be. As clichéd as it sounds, this is a car to which photography truly does no justice.

Seeing it gliding along the street, or better still, seeing it at speed on a suitably sinuous two-lane incites an excitement usually reserved for pleasures of a more carnal nature. The boldly angular lines of its predecessor, while still evident in the overall design of the current car, have elegantly morphed into something altogether unique, yet instantly recognizable as a BMW 6 Series model.

This is owing in no small part to the long hood, short rear deck, short front overhang and set back passenger compartment algorithm that is distinct to the BMW 6 Series styling equation. And while those overt qualities do much to establish the dynamism of the design, the subtle sculpturing in the sides of the car, along with the character lines running the length of the body are what add richness and character to the overall look. If you observe closely, you’ll note the lines of the car spread out behind the BMW badge on the nose of the 6 Series like the wake of a moving ship trails out in the water.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Comfort And Cargo

The purposeful quality of the BMW’s interior can almost be mistaken for plain. BMW doesn’t do flashy just for the sake of being flashy; everything in the car serves the art of driving. From the way the instruments use white markers against a black background, to the way they are bathed in red illumination at night to preserve your night vision, to the way the center console is canted toward the driver just so—in a BMW, it’s always function first.

That said, the design of the interior of the 2013 BMW 650i Coupe embraces that philosophy and wraps it all in high-quality premium materials. Gorgeous leather with French seaming contributes beautifully to the juxtaposition of metal, hides and optional ceramics to create an environment as pleasing to the eye of the passenger as it is functional for the driver. The sculptured architecture of the dash lends visual interest, while simultaneously providing access for both the driver and passenger to the BMW’s infotainment system.

The seating is first rate and is intended to cradle the driver and front passenger over long distances at high speeds. In Germany, the unlimited speed autobahn network renders commuter air travel redundant. Cars like the BMW 650i 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 commodious trunk. Don’t let that short deck fool you; the BMW 650i Coupe is capable of accommodating nearly 13 cubic feet of cargo.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Features And Controls

Cutting edge technology ensures the occupants of the 2013 BMW 650i Coupe 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 650i Coupe. The thoughtful design of the controls is just as much a safety feature as is the complement of airbags.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Safety And Ratings

Leading the list of safety kit fitted to the BMW 650i Coupe 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, 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 Coupe.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Engine/Fuel Economy

BMW has embraced turbocharging — big time.

A pair of turbos nestled comfortably between the 445-horsepower, 4.4-liter V8’s cylinder banks, shorten the intake path and provide 480 ft.-lbs. of torque from as low as 2,000 RPM. The engine responds instantly and delivers power like it is significantly larger than it actually is. One is hard pressed to tell the engine is artificially aspirated.

An added bonus, its sonorous quality is subtly sophisticated and seriously satisfying.

For the 2013 model year the V8 engine can be paired only with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed manual has been discontinued for the V8. While we’ve only used the six-speed manual with the M6 version of the current 6 Series Coupe — we found the manual gearbox to be somewhat rubbery feeling in operation and frankly, more trouble than it was worth — particularly given the refined nature of the 6 Series.

In other words, losing the manual transmission ain’t no tragedy.

The EPA quotes the 2013 650i Coupe’s fuel economy at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 25 on the highway, and 19 combined.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Driving Impressions

A number of other reviewers have criticized the electric power steering solution employed by BMW these days as lacking in feel, but we wonder if our contemporaries are doing so in a knee-jerk reaction to change—more so than the actuality of the situation.

In our hard charging test drives we found the steering extremely accurate, with no play on center whatsoever. You twitch the wheel, the nose of the car responds. As for communicating the activities of the front wheels, the steering system is quite informative. Further, the way BMW’s optional Integral Active Steering makes the car respond to steering inputs like an outsized go-kart is particularly delightful. This system incorporates a steerable rear axle to sharpen the BMW’s reflexes even more. It also makes the Coupe more stable at high speeds. Few other automobiles match the confidence the 650i Coupe inspires on the highway.

Attacking corners in the 650i Coupe is also an absolute dream. The body stays perfectly flat in all maneuvers, thanks to BMW’s Active Roll Stabilization system. In fact, the only things rolling on our test car were its M-package 20-inch tires and wheels. Speaking of the tires, they grip mightily, thanks to the superior chassis calibrations bestowed upon the coupe by the engineers in Munich.

Braking with the lightweight floating caliper braking system is robust and exceptionally reassuring. The rotors are vented to improve heat dissipation, although we still noticed a bit of degradation in their performance when the rotors became extremely heated. The eight-speed automatic transmission fitted to our tester shifted precisely and never left the engine wanting for revs. Paddles on the steering wheel even permitted us to take control of the ratios ourselves for an additional visceral reward.

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Final Thoughts

There is much to love about BMW’s 650i Coupe.

Powerful, elegant, smooth, agile, and singularly handsome, aspirational cars don’t come a whole lot better than this one. You’ll love walking up to it, walking away from it, and most assuredly — being seen getting in and out of it. Further, BMW’s product planning team has equipped the 650i comprehensively. Everything you could want in a modern luxury car can be had in the 650i Coupe.

So, with all of the accolades spewing forth from this keyboard, you gotta be wondering what’s the downside — right? Well, while we will always be advocates of more power in a performance car, after having driving the twin-turbocharged inline-six powered 640i Coupe, we’re kind of wondering if the 650i is really the move.

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. Feature-wise, you can get pretty much everything on the 640i you can get on the 650i, and with less weight in its nose, the 640i turns in quicker and more sharply.

In other words, it handles better too.

Further, if you’ve never experienced the admittedly intoxicating thrust of the twin turbo V8, you won’t really miss it driving the 315-horsepower/332 ft-lb inline-six. It’s power output that good. Plus, the silky-smooth six-cylinder engine returns better fuel economy. The EPA says you can look for 23 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway, and 26 miles per gallon combined. For a car the caliber of the BMW 640i Coupe, those numbers are practically astronomical.

And oh, BTW, you’ll also save yourself some $11,300 over the purchase price of a comparably equipped 650i Coupe.

So, unless you just gotta have a V8…

Well…

Hmm…

2013 BMW 650i Coupe Road Test And Review: Pros And Cons

Pros:

• Elegantly handsome styling

• Well crafted, luxuriously appointed interior

• Exceptional performance

• Posh, yet understated appeal

Cons:

• The 640i Coupe may well be a better value

By Lyndon Bell