Car of the Year 2012: No. 11 BMW 650i Convertible

  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    The 650i is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that produces 400 hp and 450 ft lbs of torque. Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    The 650i features a supremely comfortable cockpit. Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    Compared to previous 6 Series models, the 650i displays softer, more flowing lines. Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    The iDrive provides access to the entertainment, navigation, and communication systems. Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    The navigation system includes a traffic-alert feature. Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Paul Dean and Paul Meyers

TOO SMOOTH  
With the 650i, BMW may be risking its reputation as the builder of the ultimate driving machines. It may well have constructed the best-looking convertible and definitely the most stylish cruiser, with intriguing touches of passenger comforts and convenience. But little of the growl and aggression that drivers have come to expect from BMW is evident. There is a gentleness to all driving functions—steering, braking, suspension, and handling—that might make some BMW disciples wonder if the company has lost its way. But maybe BMW has decided that this near-six-figure luxury vehicle, which is longer, wider, and heavier than its previous generation, should get no closer to a racetrack than the VIP parking lot. For the 650i possesses all of the luxury, elegance, and prestige of a BMW, plus a few extra niceties, such as a rear window that doubles as a draft blocker when the top is down. As judge Thomas Mao put it, "If a car can be too smooth, this car is too smooth. It is a wonderful blend of German engineering and Italian styling."

Where, one might wonder, is the downside in that? —Paul Dean

SOUL SEARCHING
The 650i convertible is one of the most strikingly styled ragtops on the road, but the car now weighs some 220 pounds more than the previous version because of the addition of a slew of new high-tech components and its slightly increased length and width. The added size hinders the car’s performance, but it does enlarge the interior, where all of the controls and components are optimally positioned.

Driving the 650i is easy, but our judges apparently wanted more soul and less status quo from BMW. —Paul Meyers

SPECIFICATIONS Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive convertible Engine 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 Transmission 8-speed automatic Power 400 hp at 5,500 rpm Torque 450 ft lbs at 1,750 rpm Curb weight 4,531 pounds Zero to 60 mph 4.9 seconds Top speed 155 mph (limited) Base price $91,000

From Around the Web...
The 2015 McLaren P1 GTR being offered at the RM Sotheby's Villa Erba sale.
A McLaren P1 GTR, a Ferrari LaFerrari, and Porsche 918 Spyder to be offered at Villa Erba sale…
The Fittipaldi EF7 VGT by Pininfarina
The coachbuilder teamed with renowned racer Emerson Fittipaldi to create the carbon-fiber...
Jaguar and Bentley are among the marques charging ahead on all-electric cars and concepts…
The Callaway Corvette Aerowagen Shooting Brake
The performance package gives the car 757 hp and a rear hatch…
The Rickman Revival Velocette
The three-day celebration of beautiful bikes will also feature a Wall of Death stunt show…
The Audi R8 LMS GT4
Based off the R8 Coupe, the car will be eligible to compete in motorsports’ GT4 category worldwide…
The Mercedes-AMG S63
The full-size flagship gets a redesigned interior, new engine, and improved autonomous technology...
The "Inspired by Monte Carlo" Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive.
The customizable model is constructed by hand and pairs vintage styling with high-tech touches…
Bentley’s Racing Program Takes to the GT3 Track
The marque is on a roll after recently racing at the Pirelli World Challenge in Long Beach, Calif…
Zelectric's reimagined Porsche 911S Targa with an electric power train.
The electrified convertible can cover zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds as it bolts to 150 mph…