Auto review by Veeno Dewan
The 2017 BMW 650i Series Gran Coupe gets a few updates for the new model years with a revised iDrive infotainment system along with wireless phone charging and a Wi-fi hotspot as standard equipment. And what a treat. But hold on there! The 650i is a sleek four- door sedan despite the name. A full-bodied four-door ride with enough room for the occupants to fully luxuriate in either genteel peace or the rush of a thinly veiled road rocket. The lowered roofline makes it look longer and menacing. Noticeable is the more integrated rear quarters and the signature BMW twin-kidney grilles. A more prominent front spoiler and fascia arrangement add drama, but the lines remain cohesive and elegant. Big tasteful looking alloy wheels Adaptive LED headlights are now standard and add to the glamor. Power for the big coupe comes courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 that produces an impressive 400 horsepower and 480lb-ft torque at 2,000 rpm. Power is transmitted via BMWs superb xDrive system via a new eight-speed ZF Manumatic gearbox.
The 6’s interior is awesomely kitted out and features every luxury and convenience feature. Materials and craft are as usual faultless; the optional ventilated 20-way front seats are armchair soft, yet supportive. Of note is a center dash console featuring a massive 10.2-inch screen. This displays navigation (standard) in 3-D, plus all other iDrive functions. The instruments, controls, and ergonomics are all perfect, and our tester was finished in tasteful, excellent leather seats with black double-stitched leather trim on the doors and dash. It was an interior as one passenger put it, “made by angels!” The rest of my tester was as beautifully finished as anything in this class, with suede covering the roof liner and upper pillars. Contrast stitched leather surfaces the dash top, instrument panel and flows all around the door frames, lower console, and center armrest all the way to the rear making for a truly luxurious look and feel.
Exclusive Nappa seats with black highlights that offer dynamic massaging capability and three-way ventilation to go along with standard three-way heat. The piano black wood accents high-gloss black “Shadowline” exterior window trim at no cost. There are such goodies as Adaptive Drive, Auto-dimming rearview, side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, ambient interior lighting, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front and rear seats, navigation, a reverse camera in a very high-quality widescreen infotainment display, front and rear parking sonar, a large glass sunroof, and other items too long a list to mention.
On the road, the xDrive equipped tester we drove behaved like a classic Grand Tourer. It is all smooth, silent cruising until you give it its head. The silky drivetrain behaves impeccably, and it is so hard not to stab the throttle to enjoy the surging thump of torque from the turbo. The engines audio soundtrack is also a delight with a throaty roar and rumbling from the V8 driving force. Safety and technology abound as usual with BMW’s slew of performance aids. The available Dynamic Handling Package brings adaptive dampers, four-wheel steering, and Dynamic Drive. A switch on the console offers four dynamics presets (Eco Pro, Comfort, Comfort+, Sport, and Sport+). Activating a setting changes the parameters of the adaptive dampers, throttle and transmission mapping, steering effort and stability control. Sport+ mode offers tighter sharper handling and is entertaining on the right terrain. Comfort eases the ride on long commutes and normal is good enough for everyday driving.
The 650i is no super agile 3 Series. The weight and size of the car (2,100 Kilograms) make it more of a supremely fast and comfortable grand tourer in the traditional manner. Its mild manners are giving way to quick acceleration and sustained high-speed cruising for hours in the lap of luxury. 0-100 km/h is available in just 4.5 seconds. Of note, however, is the superb xDrive system that allows for excellent traction in all weather and road conditions. The optional Adaptive Drive system and its active anti-roll bars minimize unwanted body motion. The well-set up steering proved to be hyper-precise, while delivering excellent road feel and feedback. The back seat could be larger, but then again, who wants to spend time in the back seat of such a fantastic car? Be warned, the V8 is thirsty when driven hard, although its highway number is 9.8 L/100km, impressively low for such a large, heavy, powerful car. The xDrive coupe is just sublime inside and out. With an interior to die for, technology and a feel and quality that’s top class in this sector, the 2016 BMW 650i xDrive is one of world’s best grand touring coupes in my opinion. I would buy one in a heartbeat!
2017 BMW 650i xDrive Coupe priced from $90,900 plus options and packages