2012 BMW 650i Cabriolet
2012 BMW 650i Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
BMW Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2012 BMW 6 Series

Los Cabos, Mexico – When is 6 more than 7?

Despite BMW’s official position that the 7 Series sedan is the flagship of its car line-up, there’s little doubt the freshly minted third-generation 6 Series perches one rung higher on the automaker’s aspirational ladder.

Makes sense: it’s big, beautiful, very swift, has two doors and, as I discovered on the bleached southern reaches of the Baja peninsula, flows down the road like liquid mercury. This is grand touring at its finest.

With the Cabriolet version first off the boat (a coupe shows up in the Fall), BMW chose to hold this lid-flipper’s media debut in Los Cabos. This place pretty much describes the 2012 650i Cabriolet’s ideal habitat: sunny climes, smooth roads, golf courses galore and a gathering of high-style folks with more than a few pesos to rub together.

2012 BMW 650i Cabriolet
2012 BMW 650i Cabriolet
2012 BMW 650i Cabriolet
2012 BMW 650i Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

The 2012 650i Cabriolet hits our showrooms within weeks, carrying a price of $106,800. My well-equipped tester, sporting many must-have niceties like 20-inch wheels and a host of interior, dynamic and techno upgrades (essential stuff for the well-heeled GT crowd), rang in at $129,000.

Looking at this new smoothed-over 6, one realizes the last vestiges of Chris Bangle’s design tenure at BMW have been pretty much erased. To say Bangle’s second-generation 6 Series caused a kerfuffle when it hit the world stage in 2003 is an understatement.

While this 2012 model is immediately identifiable as a 6 Series, it walks a more conservative path. Gone are the drooping headlights with eyebrow turn signals and the weird rump that looked as though the poor thing had been backed into a guardrail.

It is longer, wider and lower, and features a large elegant twin-kidney grill and character lines that flow over the hood and down its flanks. More mature and better resolved, the 2012 BMW 6 Series no longer seeks controversy.

A first for BMW are the 6’s available full LED headlights.

In the interest of reduced weight, less complexity and more luggage room, the new 650i Cabriolet sticks with a fabric top. Like the old model, the “flying buttress” wings of the roof maintain the car’s coupe profile and the vertical backlight retracts independently of the roof. The top goes down in 19 seconds, rises in 24 seconds and will perform its mechanical ballet at speeds up to 40 km/h.

The trunk will accommodate the all-important two sets of golf clubs.

The 6’s swoopy interior is all new, and yes, it will serve up just about everything you’d want in a luxury grand tourer if you’re willing to pony up for the package upgrades.

Materials and workmanship are beyond reproach, the optional ventilated 20-way front seats with sun-reflective surfaces were supremely comfy and the centre console, which is angled seven degrees towards the driver, is topped with a giant 10.2-inch screen. This displays navigation (standard) in 3-D, plus all other iDrive functions.

My tester was fitted with the clear 3-D head up display that let me know exactly how much faster than the posted speed limits we were going. Nobody here seems to observe these limits, or use signal lights for that matter. And stop signs are put up merely for decoration.

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