Going topless was never as much fun as driving down in an open top car. Well, the other topless is also fun, that is if you know what I mean. Jokes apart, we at Indiandrives got to check out the newly launched 2011 BMW 650i in India for a review and almost everyone in the office was excited to be even seeing this car in person. The BMW 650i is one rare beast as spotting a Hummer on the Indian roads. Well, the Hummer is something which we occasionally do get to see. Atleast I can lay claims to seeing one daily. The owner of the adjacent building comes everyday to his office in a Hummer. So here is the review of the 2011 BMW 650i. I will always remember this car for the very reason that I missed out on going to Udaipur for its launch party earlier this year.
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Ah! the same shark like nose of the earlier car but now with better contours. The headlamps have got a slight redesign whereas the kidney grille has also being revised. The air dams have a bit more wider design. I personally feel that the whole design element has been diluted a bit in contrast with the earlier car. The lip spoiler also is more sharp and looks aerodynamic. The boot is also very long. The 18 inch alloy wheels look sporty enough whereas the tail lamps are split ones. The stop lamp is mounted on the boot lid whereas the reflectors are on the bumper. The twin tail pipes feel fashionable enough to make a statement. The soft top also feels high quality. Overall, the car exudes high quality and one which speaks volumes about the class of its buyer.
Typical BMW with a distinct coral hue. And believe me, the coral hue that enthralled me when I first set my eyes on this beauty at the Surat Show had me in a trance again. The seating arrangement for the driver is spot on and requires minimal driver seat adjustment. The novel thing is the heads up display that one gets as standard with this car. However in bright light, the display is redundant. So more or less, its purpose isn’t served. Though the meter dials may look very simple as far as car dials go, they change in a pleasant way during the night time. The gear lever has been borrowed from the BMW 5 and 7 series and looks very classy. I will recommend the coral upholstery for anyone interested in buying this car. The rear seats though not very spacious can accommodate elders of most sizes. Anyways, I am sure that this car would never be used as a 4 seater and instead as a pure two seater. The features list is also extensive as also highly customizable. The boot space is not that much to speak about and once the party trick of that soft top folds down into the boot cavity, it reduces further. Well, I tried doing that top up, top down exercise repeatedly and gosh, it can draw visitors and gawkers alike, it was more like a full on timepass.
Handling and ride quality
Almost all the BMW cars are known for their handling abilities. The 2011 BMW 650i in India is no different. If at all, there is one gripe, it is that while other BMW cars don’t show any limit to their handling capabilities, the 2011 650i does have. When one tries chucking it into corners at illegal speeds, it does remind him/her that it is approaching its limit and needs to be handled with caution. The speed sensitive steering wheel which is now electronically powered is a bit bizzare but still would be remembered in the same breath as the hydraulic system that BMW used earlier. The ride quality has improved and can be termed as good. This time around, BMW has managed a fine balance between the ride and handling stakes, even though it doesn’t take an Einstein to realize that the emphasis is more on the latter. NVH is something which a soft top owner shouldn’t be concerned more about however BMW have taken care of this aspect as well. They have got the NVH levels down to about 100 kmph, post which the car is in full song. The twin turbo burble is very evident once past this rpm and I am sure that no self relenting soul would hate this.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The 2011 BMW 650i in India gets the same 4.4 liters biturbo V8 engine that can be found under the hood of the BMW X6. This engine makes 407 Bhp @ 5500 rpm and torque of 600 Nm @ 1750 rpm. The 8 speed auto is one more unique offering however shared with the BMW 5 series. There are paddle shifts offered behind the steering wheel as well. The 0-100 kmph was covered in a scary 4.9 seconds and the maximum speed I could manage was a cool 223 kmph before I ran out of road. The engine was raring to go for more. The BMW has got a host of safety features like Park Distance Control, DSC plus, Adaptive Drive, reversing assist cameras, speed limit info, cruise control, 8 air bags, collapsible steering wheel and many others. Brakes however are very powerful and take some time getting used to. There is the usual 4 channel ABS, ESP and various other features to reign in the stopping distances. Fuel efficiency however isn’t a forte of this motor and as I had seen in the BMW X6, this one returns abysmal fuel efficiency figures if driven with a lead foot. The car that I had returned an overall fuel efficiency of 8.7 kmpl.
The 2011 BMW 650i in India benefits from this fact that it has no real competition. There is a dearth of convertibles in India as of now and the closest competitor that I can think of is the E 350 convertible. Then there is the Porsche Cayman, though not exactly in the same league and way behind in the space that it offers. So the BMW boffins can rest in peace about the exclusivity of the car. It has got just the right space, perfect interiors, nice looks, lots of equipment and perfect powertrain. Well, its price would make it even more exclusive. The 2011 BMW 650i price in India is Rs 95 lakhs. This is the ex-show room price, Rajasthan.