No. 861
August 24, 2016

About The Autoextremist@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of

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On The Table


AUGUST 24, 2016


Editor-In-Chief's Note: BMW calls the 650i "Performance. Art." on its website, and as much as I'm vigilant about the use of hype and bullshit by marketing mavens at these manufacturers, I can't say that I disagree. Sophisticated and visceral, with just the right amount of throaty growl, the BMW 650i is an eloquent rebuttal to those who would want us all to rush headlong into the Autonomous Abyss. This is a GT car, and as much as sports car enthusiasts might be dismissive of the concept, they'd be foolish to overlook the performance potential of this 4200-lb. machine. I know that I brought my own preconceived notions about what I thought the 650i would be about, and I was wrong. I expected a languorous, luxury coupe that was impeccably turned out but not all that interesting to drive, but the 650i is almost the opposite of that. Yes, the Cognac with Black Nappa Leather interior was beautiful and superbly finished, but this big BMW coupe was all about being fun to drive, and it's remarkably quick. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 is a stunning piece, providing responsive, right now power and reminding you with every burst of acceleration how fantastic V8 power really is. I think too many of us have become resigned to the fact that 4- and 6-cylinder engines are our lot in life while waiting for the inevitable slide into pod cars and disemboweled "driving," but when you drive a real live V8 with serious horsepower there's absolutely nothing else like it. (This is coming from someone who much preferred the V8-powered, 6-speed Audi R8 over its V10 sibling.) You can putter around in the urban slog quite nicely with the 650i, but when the need arises this machine loves to run and responds to a heavy right foot in a way that will make you smile every time you partake of its performance potential. Okay, the 650i is expensive, but then again when you're playing in that league it's really not out of line in comparison to the other machines in the segment. And given what you get with the 650i, I'd say it is very much worth it. -PMD

2016 BMW 650i Coupe: $91,500 ($87,900 Base Price; Alpine White; Cognac/Black Nappa Leather; 4.4-liter, 32-valve, BMW M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine with variable valve control, Double-VANOS, Valvetronic and high-precision direct injection; 445HP@5500 rpm and 480 lbs-ft of torque; 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with automatic Sport and Manual shift modes and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters; Driving Dynamics Control with ECO PRO mode; 4-wheel, ventilated, anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with Dynamic Brake Control; M Sport suspension; Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assistant, Brake Drying, Brake Stand-by features with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC); Rain-sensing windshield wipers with adjustable speed; Adaptive LED headlights; LED fog lights; 20-way power, heated, front multi-contour seats with 4-way lumbar support and driver's seat memory; Automatic-dimming interior and exterior mirrors; Park distance control, front and rear with graphic display; AM/FM/CD/MP3 player HiFi Sound System with HD radio; Harman Kardon surround sound; Satellite Radio with 1-year subscription; Three-spoke, leather-wrapped, multi-function sport steering wheel; iDrive system with on-board computer and touchpad controller with eight programmable memory buttons; Rear-view camera; BMW Navigation system with 10.2" high-resolution screen, Voice command and Advanced Real Time Traffic information; Black Accent Package - 20" light alloy multi-spoke wheels, Fineline Brown wood trim, Ambience lighting, LED fog lights, Shadowline exterior trim - $1,400; Cold Weather Package - Heated steering wheel, ski bag - $400; Ceramic Controls, $650; Smartphone integration, $200; Destination charge, $995)

Adherence to Brand Image: I've said this before and I will probably say it again at least one thousand times more, but there are two BMWs at work in today's automotive era. There's the BMW dominated by the "we want to put a BMW in every garage" corporate minions who are comfortable with churning out a seemingly endless supply of crossovers and SUVs that pretty much have nothing to do with the original premise of the brand. And then there are the True Believers at BMW who build machines like the M2 and who make the 650i so eminently satisfying to drive. I'm not comfortable with that "chasing every niche" BMW at all, because it errs dangerously close to being just another car company. But as long as there are True Believers left who can create real BMWs like the 650i, I will be happy. -PMD