Test Drive: BMW 650i Convertible

All the auto writers I know come equipped with a list of favorites that can be quickly recited when the inevitable question comes, ?What are your favorite cars??

Most of us also have a list of fantasy cars that we can?t afford to buy, but would certainly love to have it in our garages, if we had the chance.? I have a long list of fantasy cars myself, and high on it is the BMW 650i convertible.? It may not have the quite the pizzazz of exotics with Italian names, but it is gorgeous, classy and fast?what else could a girl ask for, except for maybe a man that fits the same description.

Sure the couture-like styling both inside and out goes a long way toward making it a head turner, but it?s all done with tasteful elegance, rather than in-your face styling gimmicks.

The 650?s beauty is much more than skin-deep, too.? It is loaded with personality and under that tight skin is enough advanced technology to excite all but the most rabid techies.

A laundry list of technical goodies includes active anti-roll bars, active Roll Stabilization, active steering, active cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane-departure warning and frontal collision warning.? It also has high beam assist for the headlights, head-up display, night vision and a multitude of other ?actives? that can make a good driver look even better.

This top of the line BMW convertible is far from a typical drop top.? The cloth top takes about 25 seconds to go from up to down or vice-versa.? When the top is up, it is very unconvertible-like with an elegant, fully lined headliner.? Even at higher speeds, the interior is amazingly quiet.? When the top is down, the glass rear window can be raised to create a wind deflector for the rear seat passengers if you know people that small.? Actually, the back seat is quite small, and better suited for ?things? than people.? There is an optional, but less elegant, deflector available for the front seat passengers.? To keep temperatures reasonable when the top is down, the leather seats are treated with modified color pigments that reflect the sun?s rays and reduce the heat absorption.? BMW says the treatment can reduce upholstery surface temperatures up 70-degrees.

A typical convertible penalty is lack of cargo space, however, the 650 has a generous 12.4 cu. ft. with the top up and even 10.6 when the top is lowered.? The only problem with the top down space is it is not very tall and better suited for shopping bags than thick luggage.

One of the great pleasures of open-top driving is listening to the rumble of the powerful V-8 engine, and the 360-hp, 4.8-liter engine and this car does not disappoint.? Available with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, this engine not only sounds great, it helps insure that this 4,300-pounder is an ?Ultimate Driving Machine.?? Zero to 60 mph acceleration takes only 5.7 seconds, and if you happen to be on a track with a nice straight stretch, the top speed is limited to 150 mph, and I didn?t even come close.? Fuel economy is respectable, under the circumstances, with the EPA estimates of 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.? I actually averaged 22.5 mpg during my week behind the wheel, but that?s only because my husband wasn?t driving.

The 2010 BMW 650i convertible has a base price of $86,125, including the destination charge.? Although very well equipped, BMW allows a high level of customer customization with a long list of available option packages and stand-alone enhancements.? It is possible for a girl to push the price into six digits when all the option boxes are checked, but don?t we deserve it?


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