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First Drive: BMW 6 Series

Vikrant Singh, 01-Aug-2011. Car Tested: 6 Series, Version: 650i Convertible
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Introduction

 

The first time I saw the 6-series on the road - the previous generation of course - it was being driven by a gorgeous woman. A 30 something with flowing silky hair, a flawless skin and features so sharp, they’d cut through clutter in any page 3 party, anywhere in the world. Suddenly, the 6-series which I always thought was excess redefined, made all the sense in the world. In fact, it almost looked cool. 

Fast forward to today, and even though the new car is prettier, better proportioned and sportier looking than the previous generation car, it’s still not as cool. Mostly, because, instead of a lovely lady, the new 6 today is being driven by an unshaven, un-kept and a styling disaster, me! 

So it’s clear, the 6-series isn't just a car, it’s more of a style accessory which needs to be carried off with flair. Otherwise, you just end up looking like a twit in a very expensive car.

But, what about the car itself? It is a handsome car, one that attracts a lot of attention on the road, especially with the roof folded neatly in its boot. Inside though, even with all the fine red stitching and blackened outlines for controls, it is still typically BMW. So, it is well built, well finished and very intuitive, even though a tad mainstream for this segment. It’s also only comfortable for two courtesy front seats that are large, cushy and adjustable for nearly everything. The rear is left best to hold luggage though; unless of course you have a midget driving. 

Highlights – 

 

- Under than huge hood is a 4.4-litre, twin turbo V8, petrol. It’s the same engine that powers the X6 50i and the 750Li.

- It makes 407bhp but it’s the torque of 600Nm that’s truly outstanding on this car.

- There’s no dual clutch gearbox here, but it does get one of the finest torque convertor units today and this one has 8 ratios to choose from. 

- The shifts are smooth and one can really waft in luxury here.

- It’s also quick considering the 650i is meant more for boulevard cruising than track day outings. It dispatches the 0-100kmph test in 5.7 seconds.

- Top speed, as is the case with most German cars whether high performance or not, but certainly ones with large engines, is limited to 250kmph.

- And no, with a twin turbo engine and over 400bhp, it’s not efficient at all. The car when driven sedately should return about 5.5kmpl. And please don’t bother asking about the figure if you have a lead right foot!

- It costs Rs 95 lakh ex-showroom Delhi

 

The drive

 

The highlight of the 650i, though, is its engine. It gets a 4.4-litre, twin turbo V8 with over 400bhp from the 7-series. And like on the 7, it’s an absolute explosion when on song. It goes like a shot forcing you to hold on to the steering for dear life. And on our roads, unless you are on a runway, you'd also run out of steam, guts, breath, whatever, before you even get close to what the 650i can manage. 

That’s not all, it sounds fantastic too. It has that gentle burble typical of a V8 at low revs along with small explosions going off at every upshift. And when you give it the stick, it revs like a light on its feet, turbocharged Japanese teenager of an engine. It’s certainly worth dying for. 

Sadly, the rest of the dynamic package fails to excite. The steering feel, no matter whether you use Normal or Sport settings, is cold. The car doesn't handle as well either. The body movement is more than we would have liked and the car is so prone to spinning up its rear, the ESP seems to be on all the time, be it around a fast section of twisties or even just a roundabout.

 

Verdict

 

The 650i is anything but a rational buy. It’s also going to be the second car; one you will use for a night club outing at the most. So does it make sense spending a crore for that? If you are a stylish, confident and beautiful, absolutely! Otherwise, there are better options out there.

 

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