By Keith Griffin
Is it wrong to be indifferent about a car costing $106,000? If it is, then color me guilty because the 2012 BMW 650i coupe kind of gave me a case of the blahs for the week it sat in my driveway.
Of course, a major reason for that could be I was reduced to using the vehicle as my main family car. It’s not so much that I had to but I wanted to. After all, the 2012 BMW 650i coupe, in the M trim, is a vehicle that demands to be driven. It can’t just sit there, even if that means packing it full for a Labor Day Weekend jaunt to the Connecticut shore.
OK, so there is an obvious sense of conflict for me with this car. It’s a work of art. It has an abundance of power and it’s fun to drive. Yet, it never called to me to be driven – something that cars costing tens of thousands less have done.
The best part of the BMW 650i is its 4.4-liter V-8 engine that develops a maximum 400 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,400 rpm, and makes peak torque of 450 lb-ft between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm.
It’s a powerful engine that just wants to run all day long. This is definitely a car that requires judicious use of the cruise control because it easily slips into illegal speeds thanks to the powerful engine and a smooth ride and quiet cabin.
I must admit to enjoying that power, though, on Labor Day when tooling along the highway. A climbing lane was coming to an end and a tractor trailer driver decided he was coming back into my lane a little early. I made a quick lane change with not quite the amount of room I favor and gunned it from 70 to 90 and back down to 70. Maneuver safely accomplished and my family none the wiser.
The 2012 BMW 650i has a “reverse-flow” engine, as BMW describes it, “whose two turbochargers are positioned in the V-area between the cylinder banks, produces an instantaneous and sustained wave of power” that I can attest to. The engine can be paired with either BMW’s new 8-speed Sport Automatic gearbox or BMW’s traditional 6-speed manual transmission. The model loaned to me for a week by BMW had the automatic transmission.
The new BMW 650i Coupe, according to the German automaker, completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with either the 6-speed manual or the 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s pretty quick for a car with a two-ton curb weight. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
BMW likes to tout the fuel efficiency of the 4.4-liter V8 when combined with the eight-speed automatic. Keep in mind that fuel efficiency is all relative when discussing a 4.4-liter V8 that runs on premium fuel but the official EPA numbers aren’t bad at 15-mpg city and 23-mpg highway. My fuel economy, which was more highway but also with a full car, came in about 18 mpg combined. The previous generation BMW 650i was rated at the same fuel economy with a bigger engine.
It surprises me to see such a big car classified as a compact because its length is 192.8 inches. That’s less than a half-inch shorter than the BMW 5 series, which is considered a midsize. I know that it has more to do with passenger volume than length but it’s still a surprise.
The 650i needs to choose between being a true two-seater or a four-passenger vehicle. My 7-year old daughter, just a shade taller than four feet, could not put her legs behind my seat, even if moved it up a little bit into a less-than-comfortable driving position.
Hefty Sticker Price
The 2012 650i I drove had a starting MSRP of $83,000, which includes a long list of standard equipment including 19-inch wheels; moonroof, Xenon headlights; navigation system; HD radio; Nappa leather seats; sport suspension and run-flat tires.
Then the options show up. Oh, how German automakers like to pile on the expensive options as packages. Lane departure warning (which works extremely well) and active blind spot detection (which really should be mandated equipment) have to be bought with the side-and-top-view cameras that didn’t really help me backing up and the head-up display, which is really little more than a toy, for $3300.
The full LED headlights, which deliver amazing visibility at night, are paired with 20-inch wheels for another $2900. The luxury-seating package, which does include ventilated front seats, will run you $2000.
Then there is the M sport package, which adds the M steering wheel, aerodynamic kit, LED fog lights; 20-inch, double-spoke wheels with performance tires; and anthracite alcantara headliner for another $4000. There’s also a $3700 premium sound package with Bang & Olufson Sound; night vision with pedestrian detection for $2700; and all of the sudden you’re talking about a car that costs $106,000.
Is it worth it? In my opinion, no. Give me a BMW 535 xi sedan fully loaded for less than $80,000 and I think you have a better car. This is definitely a matter of personal taste.
(For the latest new car news, follow me on Twitter at aboutusedcars. You can also read learn about buying and selling a used car at UsedCars.About.com.)
- Wheelbase: 112.4 inches
- Length: 192.8 inches
- Width: 74.6 inches
- Height: 53.9 inches
- Curb weight: 4001 lbs.
- Engine: 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8
- Horsepower: 400 hp
- Torque: 450 lb. ft.
- EPA estimated mpg city/highway: 15-city/22-highway
- Base price: $83,000
- As-tested price: $106,000
- Also consider: (a comparative vehicle) Jaguar XK, Audi S5, Mercedes SL 550
Photos © BMW