Best of the Best 2011: Convertibles: BMW 650i Convertible

    True convertibles are creatures of elegance and impeccable manners that tender four spacious seats for people who prefer to tour grandly between Relais & Châteaux lodgings. The restyled, reengineered BMW 650i Convertible (www.bmwusa.com) fits that description precisely.

    Based heavily on the company’s 5 Series and 7 Series, the 650i is longer, wider, lower, and almost 300 pounds heavier than its antecessor. At nearly $91,400, it also is a mite more expensive. But the extra cost brings a new and more powerful twin-turbo V-8—to move that extra weight—and new engineering systems, including an 8-speed automatic transmission, that are obviously dedicated to silence and smoothness.

    Unlike some sports cars, the 650i does not dash harum-scarum to its destinations; it is a more leisurely traveler offering performance that is effective and capable and not a distraction from the surrounding sights, sounds, and breezes that are the absolute allure of convertible motoring.

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