The 2012 BMW 6 Series is a lot of car for a lot of money, but this luxurious coupe lives up to the hype with a ton of amazing features, an enormous engine and gorgeous looks.
What's not to like about this four-seater? If I tell you that because it goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds the excitement is over pretty quickly, you're not going to feel too sorry for me. The giggling from the kids in the backseat stopped as soon as it started, and they were instantly begging me to put the pedal to the metal again.
In case you need a little help lightening the leadfoot, there are three driving modes to help out. Sport+ lets you put the hammer down and adjusts the tuning and suspension to get the fastest, most responsive experience out of the 650i. Sport is a milder version of Sport+, and Comfort is, well, softer and less stiff. You can still stomp on it and get a respectable amount of speed even while in Comfort mode, but steering did feel a bit soft.
After a while, the raw power of the turbocharged V-8 started to lose its novelty -- I know, I can't believe I just said that -- and I stopped flooring it everywhere I went. That's when I got to see more of what the 2012 650i is really about with its premium stereo system, a list of safety features as long as your arm, a pampering experience with leather everywhere, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a huge moonroof.
The 2012 BMW 650i coupe starts at $83,895 (including an $895 destination charge), and my test car, a 650i xDrive coupe, had a starting price of $86,895. My test car cost a cool $100,825.
The 650i looks beautiful. Its sleek redesign puts more sinewy lines along the body than the previous generation, and tapered taillights combined with the sculpted trunk lid make for a gorgeous rear end. The front end has a small, BMW-style dual-kidney grille and menacing LED headlights, which highlight that this is no everyday vehicle. This car will chew you up if you cross it.
What was more menacing than the headlights were the groans from my kids, ages 7 and 9. "Not another two-door!" They didn't care that it's a BMW. They didn't care how much it cost, and they didn't care how much horsepower it had (well, they cared a little about that). They did care that it's endlessly tricky to get into and out of the 650i. They found it frustrating to remember which lever or button to push to move the front seats and create second-row access and then they struggled to get into the backseat. Once in, they were in great shape and enjoyed having their own bucket seats in the back.
The 650i's trunk has 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough for a grocery run but a double stroller might be too big for it. The coupe has a standard power trunk lid naturally, and my test car had the Cold Weather Package ($750), which adds an integrated ski bag to the trunk as well as heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. All these features would come in handy for jaunts up to the mountains.
My kids and I enjoyed the 650i's 400-horsepower, turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. It was a thrill to drive and fun to listen to the thunderous V-8 in this refined German car. Mostly, I wonder if it's a bit of overkill. I don't say that to be a party pooper; I say that because it's a lot of car in every respect. The 650i coupe xDrive gets an EPA-estimated 15/20 mpg city/highway and requires premium gas.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Not Really
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove-On
The 650i's interior is attractive and masculine. The black-colored gauge cluster, dash and center console pair beautifully with the gorgeous cream-colored leather seats. On the floor, matching beige carpet looks luxurious and soft; I wanted to put my bare feet on it until a few seconds later when I got it all dirty from my shoes.
In the driver's seat, an optional illuminated head-up display shows the speed (don't worry, no one but you can see it), so there's no claiming you had no idea how fast you were going in the event you get pulled over. It also will show turn-by-turn navigation -- a navigation system is standard -- in hyper-detail. It's so slick and useful that it will surely win you over, too. There's a handy port in the center console for an iPhone to sync with the system. The problem is, one needs to remove the iPhone case to do this. It's inconvenient and because I just put a new case on my iPhone, I didn't try it out. My son tried his iPod Touch (several generations old now) and it didn't work.
The two rear seats are bolstered and comfortable for kids who aren't in child-safety seats. There's a dedicated console between the rear passenger seats, so the 650i coupe doesn't pretend to be a five-seater. The console, which has two cupholders, makes carpool drop-off a bit tricky because my kids had to clamber over the console to get out on the car's passenger side. The backseat's dark, cavernous feel is alleviated by the panoramic moonroof, which was a favorite of my kids.
Adults sitting in the rear seats will quickly find themselves uncomfortable due to the small amount of legroom. This is manageable because of the deeper bucket seats, but a longer road trip would likely be out of the question.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
As you can probably guess, fitting child-safety seats into the 650i was difficult. The 650i has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the rear seats. They're easy to access, but space is at a premium in the backseat. I had one really narrow booster seat that fit -- sort of; I couldn't get the seat leveled quite right. A rear-facing infant-safety seat fit in the second row, but I had to move the front passenger seat forward and its seatback into an upright position that wasn't comfortable.
The 650i has standard rear-wheel drive, antilock brakes with brake assist, adaptive cruise control, an electronic stability system with traction control, active head restraints in the front row, a backup camera and seven airbags, including side curtains for both rows and a driver's knee airbag.
There are numerous optional features on the 650i. My test car had the Driver Assistance Package with lane departure and blind spot warning systems, the head-up display I liked so much and side- and top-view cameras, which show a bird's-eye view of the car. This optional feature is helpful when parking. Because my test car also had an M Sport Package, it had active roll stabilization and LED fog lights. These packages added $7,700 to the 650i's price tag. All-wheel drive is also optional.
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