2010 650 New Car Test Drive
It is difficult to imagine how much better, more competent or more all-encompassing a high-end sport coupe or convertible could be than the BMW 6 Series. It delivers exceptional performance in all ways, brilliant handling and that arrow-like stability that defines BMW. It is also loaded with an extraordinary array of technology and luxury features.
The 2010 6 Series comes in two versions, the standard BMW 650i and the ultra-performance BMW M6. Both are available in Coupe and Convertible body styles. BMW 6 Series Coupes and Convertibles have a back seat that can fit small people in a pinch, but are really intended to move two people and their belongings in high comfort, style and safety.
The BMW 650i is a premium grand touring car. The engine is a 4.8-liter V8 of 360 horsepower and the transmission choices are a six-speed manual or six-speed Sport Automatic with shift paddles. The 650i is more luxurious than the BMW Z4 sports car, and delivers higher performance, more agility and sportier styling than the 5 Series sports sedans.
The M6 line is a 6 Series with even more performance and features. Also available as either a Coupe or Convertible, the ultra-performance M6 is powered by a 5.0-liter V10 of 500 horsepower with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG); the SMG can be driven like an automatic or as a manual, but without a clutch pedal. The M6 also has different suspension tuning and several other enhancements appropriate to its performance level, including distinctive interior and exterior styling.
The M6 sacrifices some of the Grand Touring comforts of the 650i in favor of a more aggressive handling package and stratospheric acceleration performance. At the same time, the M6, and especially its Sequential Manual Gearbox, takes the marque in a direction some purists find distressing, increasingly transferring control of the car from its driver to its super-sophisticated electronics. For these and other reasons having to do with the operation of the SMG, we prefer the six-speed manual.
For 2010, the on-board navigation system has been updated.
The BMW 6 Series comes in four forms: The 650i Coupe ($78,450), the 650i Convertible ($85,550), the M6 Coupe ($102,350), and the M6 Convertible ($108,150).
BMW 650i models are powered a 360-hp, 4.8-liter V8 with a choice of two transmissions: A six-speed manual or the six-speed Sport Automatic. The Sport Automatic can be operated in an automatic mode, or shifted with paddles on the steering wheel. The 650i Coupe and Convertible also utilize BMW's E-shift selector, a lever which is tipped in one direction or the other and, for most normal functions, returns to the same starting position. The Sport Automatic is the standard equipment transmission.
M6 models feature a 500-hp, 5.0-liter V10 with the seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox or a six-speed manual.
All 6 Series models come loaded with an impressive array of standard features, including leather upholstery; choices of interior trim; dual-zone automatic climate control with air cleaner; a high-power, eight-speaker stereo; xenon adaptive headlamps; moonroof; auto-dim mirrors inside and out; and BMW's Park Distance Control for front and rear.
The long list of available options for 650i models includes the Cold Weather Package ($750), the Sport Package ($3,900), Active Steering ($1,550), radar-managed Active Cruise Control ($2,400), head-up display ($1,200), night vision ($2,200), Premium sound system ($2,000), Satellite radio with one-year trial subscription ($595), and Comfort Access keyless unlock and engine start and stop ($1,000).
Options on the M6 models include the head-up display, Comfort Access, black carbon fiber interior trim ($300) and Merino full leather upholstery ($3,000 on Coupe, $3,300 on Convertible).
The very comprehensive of active and passive safety features include multi-stage front airbags and front seat-mounted side-impact airbags. Coupes are equipped with curtain-style head protection airbags, while Convertibles have automatic rollover protection that deploys high strength roll hoops behind the rear seats. Rear seats have LATCH child safety seat hooks and anchors. Accident avoidance features that come standard include electronic stability control, ABS with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. BMW Assist telematics, with automatic collision notification, an SOS button and roadside assistance comes standard. Tire-pressure monitors come standard along with a really cool first-aid kit.