At the very mention of topless, men are bound to go weak in their knees. It doesn’t depend on in what context it is been said. Well before the readers get any kind of wrong notions, I would like to clear myself on this count. You know we are having a sort of BMW special drive in Indiandrives. So for 3 days, we would be covering the entire BMW range in India. Mind you, only those which we haven’t test driven or reviewed earlier on. To be frank, I am really exhausted with all those tests and moving from one tanned leather to a suede one. Some of my colleagues were upfront in asking me that how do I spend time with my car of 3 years. To this my reply was that it is mine and obviously I will have to tend for it. It is so hard to notice that for whatever we clamour for, when we get it finally, we don’t care about it anymore. So true. My subject for the later half of the day is the fabulous BMW 6 series in India. For the trivia buff, Shahrukh Khan gifted his wife Gauri Khan a BMW 650i Convertible a year or so back. Where and how she will drive it is a big mystery. As time permits for only a test drive, here I am with the test drive report of this BMW 6 series in India. For a review, maybe some other time.
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The first question any one would be asking is what is the difference between the Z4 and the 6 series. Well, the BMW 6 series is positioned above the Z4 and it can seat 4. Ahem, provided they are kids. First of all, the styling. Being built on the 5 series platform means that this beauty has got the same stance as the 5 series sedan. The front hood and everything is the same. There are some minor changes been made to the lower bumper as well as the hood but then, frankly speaking, it was like the changes made to the 2011 Maruti Swift, barely visible. There are two versions of the same car and they are the BMW 650i convertible and the BMW 650i coupe. The coupe looks like the 5 series but then the convertible feels somewhat different. It looks, if I can say it, less beautiful, even though it is a topless one. The 245/40 R19 are one of the flaming design ones.
From a distance, one would mistake the BMW 650i coupe to be the 5 series. Like the 5 GT, it has the brake lamps in the lip of the boot. Brake as well as tail lamps are all LEDs. Big reflectors are placed in the boot of this car and they have twin tail pipes situated just below them. The coupe has also got a sunroof to its credit.
The interiors of the BMW 650i coupe first. The initial impression of the steering wheel is that it is plucked straight from the X6 and hence has all the required stuff on it like paddle shifts, Audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls. The twin circular dials are also typical BMW stuff. Like in Jaguars, there is a chrome laced stand alone bottle holder. BMW’s Idrive system is also present and there is also a heads up display panel. The leather front seats are multi layered and present a good case for the derriere. High quality materials define the interior and there isn’t a doubt about it. Seating for 2 is what the coupe affords. Boot space is something similar to a large hatchback.
Now for the interiors of the BMW 650i convertible. Except for the black soft top and the extra two seats at the rear, nothing much has changed. I don’t know why BMW has given the option of beige color for the seats since, in an open top, this would be like inviting trouble. In 23 seconds, the roof top folds neatly into the trunk. The rear seats are very bad in leg room, so much so that even kids would whine if they are made to sit there. But then get the top down and at the cost of soiling the rear seats, place your feet on them and sit next to the head rests. You would feel instantly at home. Boot space is similar to the BMW Z4 at 180 liters once the roof is in the trunk.
In short, both the BMW 6 series in India handle exceptionally, maybe as a BMW should. The stiffness present is less as compared to the BMW X6. For keeping the car flat and neutral in a corner, BMW has provided the cars with electronic suspension control system. In BMW speak, it is the Active Roll Stabilisation (ARS) program. Open top motoring has its own charms and the convertible just proves it. Especially when I wasn’t shouting myself hoarse to my colleague seated in the passenger seat. NVH has been duly taken care off in the convertible as well. The Active steering designed by BMW is a delight to hold and twist. For all its agility, BMW India haven’t tinkered with its suspension and hence in India, we get the same ride height. This means that one has to be extra cautious while going over speed breakers. In the meanwhile, the ride comfort isn’t compromised much. When going over small bumps, both the cars do get shaken but this is something which I have actually come to expect from all BMWs in India and for the fun that they afford, it is a small trade off. In the open top motoring mode, the wind deflection is very good as is the hood construction. Though it is a soft top, not much percolates inside.
There is only a single engine option for the BMW 6 series in India and it is a 4.8 liter V8 motor which makes do with a turbo charger. It produces 367 Bhp @ 6300 rpm whereas the peak torque of 500 Nm is produced at 3400 rpm. Both the cars are very responsive with this engine setup. However in the city speeds, I did feel the lack of some urgency. I am not sure if it was the 6 speed auto transmission or the engine. It has got to be the engine I guess since the 6 speed auto pretty much peps up on the open way. But then even at the top, performance isn’t as frenzied as a Nissan 350 Z or even a Porsche. It is only when you look at the speedometer do you realize the high speeds that you have been motoring along. This happened with me both the times when I was at a speed of about 145 kmph and I was under the impression that I was only at 70 kmph speed. In the same vein, the BMW 650i coupe raced from 0-100 kmph in 5.3 seconds whereas the BMW 650i convertible made it to the same mark in a slightly longer 6.2 seconds. Electronically limited top speed is 250 kmph.
As with all the BMWs, this one also has many electronic nannies to bring it to a safe halt. Discs all around with ABS, DTC, DSC and EBD haul this 1935 kgs beast to a halt safely. 8 air bags, side intrusion beams, reverse camera, collapsible steering column and also 3 point seat belts round off the safety dragnet. As far as fuel efficiency goes, both are gas guzzlers and aren’t expected to return about 4.0 kmpl in city and 7.0 kmpl on the highway.
Niche, niche, niche. This is what BMW’s mantra is. Did anyone ask for a niche in this segment. Trust BMW to come up with something more. Maybe the Mini series now. It seems that except for the small car segment, BMW have got everything covered. They are the executive class Maruti Suzuki. It actually leaves the customer with very less choice (read BMW) to select from. As for me, neither of the vehicles that I test drove in this article appealed. Not even if I had wads of cash to spend. The BMW 6 series price in India for BMW 650i coupe is Rs 79,70,000 and for the BMW 650i convertible, the price is Rs 87,90,000. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. Tomorrow would be a stale start with two more BMWs to undergo testing. Watch this space for more. More of the M series and even the 7 series. Surprising that I missed out the 7 series testing in all these months of motoring journey with Indiandrives.
Technical specifications of BMW 650i Coupe / Convertible
Engine details: 4.8 L V8 Engine with turbo charger
Maximum Power: 367 Bhp @ 6,300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 3,400 rpm
No. of Cylinders: 8
Bore x Stroke: 93.0 x 88.3 mm
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Transmission details: 6 Speed Automatic with paddle shifts
Front Suspension: Aluminium double-joint springs strut axle with anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Aluminium integral axle with anti-roll bar
Steering details: Electronic Power assisted with rack and pinion
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type: Solid Discs
Top Speed: 250 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 5.3 seconds / 6.2 seconds
Drag Coefficient: 0.30 C
Mileage-City (kmpl): 4.0
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 7.0
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 70
Emission Norm Compliance: Euro IV
Tyre Size: 245/40 R19
Wheel Size: 19 x 8.5J
Alloy Wheel Size: 19 inches
Seating Capacity: 2 / 4
No of Doors: 2
Cargo Volume: 320 litres / 180 liters