Still, the revised line-up hardly lacks for readily appreciable additions that bring the big two-doors into line with the more recent iterations of the X5 and 5 Series. The springs and shocks are firmer than those in the standard 5 Series sedans, and the 6 Series cars ride lower. Heck, even the previously confounding I-Drive controls picture a computer mouse between the seats and a screen at center dash that tells you how you are doing were relatively manageable in this model. Manual mode is engaged conventionally enough by slotting the gearstick to the left of Drive, though the most satisfactory method of changing for yourself is via the paddle shift which allows temporary manual over-ride. Questionable but worth a look. We found little need for the Steptronic mode, however, because the transmission rarely selected the wrong gear in automatic mode.
Pure pleasure to drive which is great as I plan it to be a daily driver. It incorporates both variable valve timing and variable valve lift to help optimize performance throughout a wide rev range, delivering super-quick response and respectable fuel economy with all three of the available six-speed transmissions. From the rear, however, the 6 Series cannot be identified as readily. Relentless and poised on the wide, open tarmac, the 1800kg plus 650i is a blunter instrument on back roads. The brakes take some getting used to but do their job with certainty.
Both 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. Even when its power is not being tapped, the Bimmer feels potent, as though it wants to spring forth. Coupes, of course, are not about family hauling. Like the 650i Convertible, the M6 Convertible is identical to its coupe counterpart, other than the one-button, powered folding top. Yet you're rewarded with immediate response whenever you press down on the accelerator.
It's easy to drive, always poised, and satisfying to drive at a brisk pace. The M6 boasts a 500-hp V10, seven-speed sequential gearbox, M-tuned suspension and electronic stability control, special wheels, Z-rated tires, and distinctive interior and exterior styling. Near-silent at idle, the engine emits a beautifully rich and throaty roar at full throttle, thanks in part to a movable element in the exhaust system that imparts an edgier character to the sound under higher load conditions. As with the new 7 Series sedans, some critics don't like the way the rear deck looks somewhat disconnected from and perched atop the rear fenders. The 650i Convertible offers a choice of black or gray tops. Handling is precise, with a superb self-centering feel to the steering.
Visually the optional 19-inch alloys shod in low-profile Pirelli runflats are a happy match. We live Delaware, and she is in Ft. I love the heads up display. So far, the suspension is spectacular, just hugging corners at high speeds. The back seats are for kids, angry mother in laws and people you want to unfriend - these were not designed for the average adult in mind.
They're about style, Joe Cool; not to mention speed, the perception of speed, and higher insurance rates. In fact, a 650i with the automatic is nearly as quick as a well-driven 650i with the manual. But turning on accessory power requires pressing the button once, then again, and then again, all while consciously keeping your foot away from the brake pedal so the engine doesn't start. James Bond would be in big trouble with this setup. It's proximity-activated, meaning you can simply walk up to the car, open the door, and press the Start button without having to pull the fob out of your pocket or purse. The clutch and the shifter are Jenny Craig-lite, almost too much so for a few of our test drivers, and as perfectly matched to the smooth 4.
Rear seats are typical 2+2 fare - scaled strictly for kids, and smaller ones at that. The M6 versions get a uniquely styled, more strongly sculpted front fascia. The top is quick and easy and turns the quiet cabin into an even more enjoyable drive. When viewed from overhead, the front corners look rounded, giving the 6 Series a shark-like nose. But Bavaria's roads ain't ours, so stick to the 18s. In profile, the lines are sculpted but clean. The Steptronic mode allows the driver to shift semi-manually, imparting some of the same involvement as a manual.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. The accelerator is easy to modulate, and the steering is sharp. The suspension is tuned to minimize undesirable behavior when braking hard, accelerating hard, or lifting off the gas while cornering. Maybe we should tour it through the worst drought zones when it arrives in Australia a few weeks before Christmas. And as far as the interior appointments go, with an exception or two, they deliver.
The idrive system is a little slow to respond sometimes but that is my only complaint so far. The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth, precise and easy to shift, with easy clutch pedal effort. The engine is silky smooth and tractable for easy going around town or in stop-and-go traffic. Driver-side memory buttons are on the outboard side of the seat base, a much more convenient placement than in the 7 Series, where they're on the center console and unreachable before climbing into the car. He went out of his way to help us get our daughter a car. The gurgle of the engine sounds better than the stereo system and the stereo rocks.