Driven: BMW 650i SE ConvertibleBy Chris Walsh
November 17, 2011
For 2011, the new BMW 6 Series Convertible is a car that aims to offer the driver a unique blend of styling, luxury and sporting performance. The convertible features a subtly contoured shape that incorporates several folded metallic lines around the bonnet, hipline and waistline, which incorporate BMW’s new and improved design brand DNA.
One of the initial talking points about the 6 Series convertible is the fabric, folding roof. The multi-layered cloth material has been specifically chosen for it’s acoustic properties, thermal insulation and structural rigidity. It is also able to help shape and promote the signature ‘fins’ that project out along the flanks into the rear section, accentuating the car’s sweeping silhouette.
The automatic operation for the roof is activated via a button on the dashboard or via a remote control button on the key fob and opening takes just 19 seconds in all, while closing takes around 24. Both operations can be activated on the move at speeds of up to 25mph if needed and come in three individual colours, allowing for new degree of personalisation.
Two turbocharged petrol engines, a newly developed chassis and a host of class-leading driver assistance technologies ensure that the new 6 Series Convertible isn’t all about the roof though. The six-cylinder in-line engine uses a single turbocharger alongside Double VANOS direct injection and VALVETRONIC valve control to develop a maximum 320hp at 5,800rpm and maximum torque of 450Nm between 1,300 and 4,500rpm. This propels the BMW 640i Convertible from zero to 62mph in 5.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
However, the 650i, 4.4-litre, uses a brace of turbochargers between the V8 cylinder banks to produce a stonking 407hp, which is developed between 5,500 and 6,400rpm and allows torque to peak at 600Nm, promoting a 0-62 time of just 5 seconds. BMW recon this design results in more efficient packaging and greater engine efficiency, in part, due to the reduced pipe length and larger cross section that minimizes pressure loss on the intake and exhaust sides of the engine.
But the majority of customers are bound to realise the pocket-saving potential of the 640d, 3-litre turbo-diesel. It manages to produce 313hp, 630 Nm of torque, 149 g/km of CO2 and a vastly impressive combined mpg of 50.4 while still cracking off a 0-62 time of just 5.6 seconds.
An eight-speed, Sport automatic gearbox is standard on all models, and the wide range of gear ratios offer the perfect balance of performance, refined high speed cruising and low speed efficiency.
From here, the new 6 Series Convertible comes with all the usual levels of kit you would expect from a BMW and prices start at £65,680 for the 640i SE and finish at £77,240 for the range-topping 650i M Sport.
Model: BMW 650i SE Convertible
Price From: £72,810
0-60: 5.0 seconds
CO2 emission: 249 g/km
2010/2011 VED: £445pa (1st Year £790)