What's New for 2007
Additional standard content on the 2007 BMW 6 Series coupe and convertible includes an MP3 player input jack, real-time traffic updates for the navigation system and a four-year subscription to BMW Assist. The optional Logic 7 sound system no longer comes with a CD changer, but you can purchase this item or a new iPod integration kit for your 650i at the dealer. Higher-grade "Pearl" leather is new on the options list this year.
People don't buy large luxury coupes and convertibles because they're practical. They buy them because they're beautiful and extravagant. Even driving dynamics are secondary, because most of these cars are too big to feel nimble on a tight back road. Instead, they're built to devour highway blacktop with great rapidity and refinement. As usual, though, BMW has taken pains to ensure that its entries, the 650i coupe and convertible, set the standard for driving dynamics in their classes. Problem is, the 2007 BMW 6 Series cars don't set the standard for beauty, and in a segment where looks are everything, their not-so-graceful bodywork is a liability.
Introduced for 2004, the 6 Series coupe and convertible are built on BMW's 5 Series platform. Accordingly, they're rear-wheel drive and capable of seating up to four passengers. A 360-horsepower 4.8-liter V8 is the only engine offered. To keep curb weight in check, BMW specified a composite trunk, aluminum suspension components, aluminum doors and hood, and thermoplastic front fenders. The convertible uses a conventional soft top rather than a retractable hardtop, but it's a sophisticated design, with a rear window that can be lowered to allow more air into the cabin during top-up driving or raised to function as a wind blocker during top-down cruising. Wind noise and draft are minimal in either state. If you don't want to go the convertible route, the 6 Series coupe feels nearly as airy, thanks to its large glass roof section. The glass panel is too large to slide open, but you can tilt it up slightly for ventilation. Like other BMWs, the 650s have elegant, driver-focused cabins assembled with great care. Unfortunately, the company's all-in-one iDrive control interface complicates the otherwise straightforward layout.
Among high-dollar touring coupes and convertibles, the 2007 BMW 6 Series is easily one of our top recommendations. However, for buyers chiefly interested in style and opulence, the freshly redesigned and infinitely sleeker Mercedes-Benz CL550 and Jaguar XK/XKR will prove more satisfying. Same goes for the highly regarded Mercedes SL550 roadster. For enthusiast types who care about the drive above all else, the smaller Porsche 911 is likely the better choice, as it easily out-handles this plus-size Bimmer coupe. Yet these cars are all more expensive than the 6 Series. And while cost concerns are seldom of primary concern in this segment, when a car strikes that near-perfect compromise between coddling its passengers and thrilling its driver as the 2007 BMW 650i does, such a value proposition is hard to ignore.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Available as a four-seat coupe or convertible, the 2007 BMW 650i comes standard with 18-inch wheels with run-flat tires, adaptive xenon headlights, leather upholstery, wood trim, power-adjustable front seats (with driver memory), a navigation system with real-time traffic information, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight speaker CD stereo with an MP3 player jack, Bluetooth wireless capability, and, on the convertible, a power soft top and a power-retractable rear window.
On the options list for the BMW 6 Series you'll find the Sport Package, which adds 19-inch wheels, run-flat performance tires, upgraded exterior trim and sport seats; and the Cold Weather Package, which is your ticket to heated seats and a heated steering wheel. Stand-alone options include BMW's Active Steering system (which reduces steering effort at low speeds), keyless startup, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system, Sirius Satellite Radio, high-definition (HD) AM/FM radio and higher-grade leather upholstery.
Powertrains and Performance
All 6 Series coupes and convertibles come with a 4.8-liter V8 rated at 360 hp and 360 pound-feet of torque. Three different transmissions allow you to choose varying levels of performance and driving effort. There's a six-speed manual for do-it-yourself enthusiasts, a six-speed automatic for those who don't really care how the shifts get done and a six-speed paddle-shifted Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) that offers a compromise of both. Of these choices, the six-speed automatic returns the best fuel economy. We've timed an automatic-equipped 650i coupe at 5.6 seconds for the 0-60-mph run.
Antilock disc brakes and stability control are, of course, standard on the 2007 BMW 6 Series, and they incorporate numerous advanced braking aids as well, including a brake wiping/drying feature (that operates when the windshield wipers are on) and a brake standby feature that snugs the brake pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the gas pedal in preparation for a hard stop. Other safety features include front-seat side airbags in both cars, full-length side curtain airbags (coupe only), a rollover protection system (convertible only), a knee airbag, front and rear parking sensors, and a four-year subscription to BMW Assist telematics. Optional on both the 650i coupe and convertible is the Night Vision system, which uses an infrared camera to track objects nearly 1,000 feet in front of your BMW.
Interior Design and Special Features
Although elegant, the BMW 6 Series cockpit has a somewhat austere feel compared to its competitors. Still, everything's set up perfectly for driving, with BMW's familiar orange-lit analog gauges dead ahead, a thick steering wheel grip and supportive seating. BMW's iDrive control system reduces button clutter to a minimum, making for a clean dash design but confusing operation of some controls. Thanks to its generous dimensions and a panoramic glass roof in the coupe, the 6 Series feels spacious for two, but four adults make for a tight fit. Both cars have an easy-entry feature to ease access into the backseat, but only the convertible's is power-operated. Trunk space measures 13 cubic feet in the coupe and a still healthy 12.4 in the 650i convertible (10.6 when the top is down), and both cars have a pass-through to accommodate longer items.
Although it's not quite as nimble as BMW's smaller 3 Series coupe, the 2007 BMW 650i is a very capable performer when driven hard. Its combination of modest weight and ample power make for quick acceleration from any speed. The Active Roll Stabilization system keeps the big coupe flat around corners, and the lightweight suspension does its part to maintain traction and soak up the bumps. The wide range of transmissions allows you to tailor the 6 Series to your particular driving style, so consider the options carefully. Whichever one you choose, you're sure to enjoy the 650i's 4.8-liter V8. Like every BMW engine we've ever experienced, this V8 is silken and anxious to rev. Although there's a nice surge of power toward the top of the tachometer, there's plenty of torque available at any rpm.