2012 BMW 650i Convertible (4.4L V8 Twin-turbo w/opt 8-spd Automatic)
Driven On 4/24/2012
There's little competition in this high-powered, luxury, drop-top segment, and the BMW 650i convertible offers a good balance of value and performance. Just don't expect the 4-seater to solve every motoring dilemma.
PerformanceNobody is buying a 650i convertible to drive it hard. This car will manage on a back road if it has to, but that's not its strength. Rather, it's a top-down cruiser with lots of power and a 6-speed manual is still available.
Although the 650i convertible is not a car known for its outright quickness or speed, this 400-hp cruiser will hit 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Nice.
Braking is flat and straight with minimal fade during testing. However, on the road none of this matters. Overall, there's good brake feel and solid performance.
Response is good but feel and feedback could be much better. Effort changes depending on which dynamic mode is selected.
Flat cornering and good grip are balanced against a large, somewhat flexible topless chassis which isn't suited to hard driving.
Easy to drive, quick and comfortable, this is a luxury convertible as they should be.
ComfortWith highly adjustable seats and suspension the 650i is capable of delivering a wide variety of settings to suit the mood of its occupants.
Highly adjustable seats will suit a wide range of body types and sizes. Two rear buckets offer support, but not much leg- or shoulder-room.
The 650i's softest suspension setting is very comfortable but is best suited to highway travel. Around town you'll find the large wheels and run-flat tires sometimes jarring.
For a convertible the 650i is a very quiet machine. Interior noise under wide-open-throttle acceleration is on par with many hard tops.
InteriorOverall, the 650i is an extremely high-quality machine. Material and assembly quality are among the best in the business -- as they should be at this price. Yet, there are shortcomings.
Most controls are easy to use, but given this car's feature count there's some learning involved. Gauges are high contrast and easily readable.
Front-seat access is easy with a large, wide-opening door, reasonable seat height and little sill. Rear-seat access is difficult at best, especially when the top is up.
Headroom and legroom are quite good up front in the 4-passenger 650i convertible, but shoulder room is below average. Forget about sitting in the rear seat if you're an adult.
Rear-quarter visibility is not good. Optional suite of cameras, lane-departure and blind-spot monitors, self-park, night vision, and active cruise control supplement shortcomings.
Don't buy a 650i convertible for cargo or storage space. This car starts life as a large coupe that uses its space inefficiently. As a convertible, it stores a top in its already small trunk.
The soft top opens in about 20 seconds and closes in about 25 seconds with the push of a button. Some in this class offer a hard-top convertible.
ValueThere's little competition in this segment and what there is cost more than the 650i.
Build Quality (vs. $)
You might pay a lot, but you do get a lot. The 650i convertible is built well and it shows.
Checking the boxes will quickly push the 650i convertible's cost over $100K, which will put it on par with the more expensive Mercedes-Benz SL550.
At just over $90K the 650i convertible is less costly than its primary competition -- the Mercedes-Benz SL550 -- so we rank it highly.
When equipped with the no-cost 8-speed automatic, the EPA says the 650i convertible will earn 23 mpg on the highway, which is respectable for this monster. Premium fuel required.
With 4-year/50,000-mile basic and drivetrain warranties, there are few better.
Care-free ownership comes from 4-year/unlimited-mileage roadside assistance plus 4-year/50,000-mile free scheduled maintenance program.
Fun To DriveThis isn't a toss-it-around convertible. It's a cruiser. If cruising in style without a top is your thing, it's hard to do much better.
There's ample power on tap. Handling is so-so. Overall, the 650i is fun if you keep in mind its size and limits.
Numb-yet-responsive steering is the only real dynamic flaw. Otherwise, there's lots of personality to like: Sharp looks, good engine, luxury features and overflowing opulence.