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Rating 8 8

2009 BMW 650i convertible review, test drive

6th Oct 2009 7:00 am

The BMW 650i is one of the finest Grand Touring cars there is

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  • Make : BMW
  • Model : 6 Series

It’s sheer desirability that the BMW 650i convertible is all about. It looks stunning, especially with the hood down, and by Indian standards this is a full-fledged exotic. The long silhouette, those mean-looking hooded brows, the super-wide ‘V’ on the bonnet and the gorgeous skinning results in the perfect interplay of curves and surfaces. Some, however, don’t appreciate the way the rear spoiler blends with the boot.

The soft-top doesn’t take too much away from the design and the 6-series looks great even with the roof up. You expect the long doors of this car to be really heavy, but they aren’t. That’s because they are made of aluminium while the fenders and boot lid are made of plastic to help keep the weight down. Still at 1,935kg, it’s no lightweight; far from it.
Built on a slightly shortened 5-series platform, with struts and a lower wishbone up front and a multi-link rear.

The iDrive rotart control that works the climate, stereo, navigation and phone systems take a bit of time to get used to. It has everything we love about BMW cabins. You will certainly feel exclusive here. The large XXL-sized front seats are exceptionally comfy and interior quality levels are top-class too. Everything is solidly built; the buttons function with a nice damped feel and apart from the wood inserts that for some reason look out of place, there are no complaints. Luggage space, despite the folded roof, is an impressive 300 litres.

We haven’t said a word about the soft-top, but that’s because roof up it’s not too far away from a coupé. At high speeds there’s a bit of buffeting and wind noise but it’s not excessive and you can have a conversation without having to raise your voice.

Drop the roof at the touch of a button, below 32kph however, and the character of the car changes completely. Country roads with trees fluttering past feel magical, the air rushes past at hurricane speeds without entering the cabin and long drives over country roads in cooler weather are nothing short of addictive. While legroom is tight at the rear, the high-mounted seats are actually quite comfortable once you are seated, allowing for four-up motoring.

Part of the reason for the discreet manner in which the Bimmer achieves its astonishing pace is the ability of this chassis to mask speed like few others can. Near-perfect weight distribution, incredible grip and well contained roll and pitch combine to give impeccable road manners. The steering is direct, accurate and bristling with feel, the brakes are perfectly weighted, and you just find yourself going harder and harder naturally.

There is a layer of underlying stiffness and some thump and a bit of kick over sharp-edged holes, but our roads are otherwise dealt with pretty well. You are comfortable in the cabin for the most part and ride quality is actually quite good. Like with most convertibles, there is a fair amount of scuttle shake and you can feel tremors through the body every time you hit a bad patch.

The key to enjoying this car is to drive considerably less than a 100 percent. The casual manner in which it lunges from corner to corner, the effortless way it cruises, and its unflappable poise makes the 6-series feel like it’s never going to break into a sweat. The impeccable handling is also helped by the fact that this suspension hasn’t been raised to deal with Indian roads. The downside is a car with its belly closer to the ground and that means you need to be especially careful over big speedbreakers, of which there is no serious shortage.

2009 BMW 650i convertible review, test drive
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