I had to buy a tie. I had to iron my shirt. I had to hem my trousers. My usual laissez faire approach to dressing myself in the morning wasn’t going to cut it. It could have been the matte silver paint, the tan Nappa leather, or even the anthracite Alcantara roof liner. It might have been the swooping roof line, or the long bonnet, or the understated character lines. It might have been the low-profile 20-inch tires, wider at the back than the front.
The 2016 BMW 650i xDrive Gran Coupe is too good for me. It’s too good looking, too sophisticated. It reminds me of my wife. And so at 9pm I was carefully preparing the next day’s clothes. Pocket square straight, I slid into the driver’s seat, turned on the massage function and pulled out into the world.
At the first set of traffic lights, someone asked me for stock tips. At the second, someone asked me why I bought the “soft 6 Series”. I assume they meant “why aren’t you in the M6?” I couldn’t ask them though, on account of I left them in a cloud of dust. This might not be the baddest 6 Series around, but it’ll still give you a clip over the ears if you mess with it. There’s nothing “soft” about a twin-scroll turbo V8.
The 445 hp isn’t soft. Nor is the 480 lb-ft of torque that whacks you in the back at a low 2,000 rpm and shunts you to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. Mass gets a bad rap in the automotive world, but when you’re sitting on 2,073 kg of it hurtling toward the next stop light at “hello officer” speed, it adds to the feeling of substance.
That the 650i can pull off such brute strength with such smoothness and grace is its great success. Steering is heavy and convincing, the wheel giving a good account of the road underneath the tires. It turns in not with gazelle-like agility but with a figure skater’s grace, holding its line with smooth balance. The adaptive drive gives a wide range of suspension settings for comfort or for aggression. Active dampers and roll bars do a wonderful job of smoothing out the ride and keeping the four driven wheels connected to the road.
The 650i glides with a quiet confidence that lulls fellow road users (and passengers) into a false sense of security then POW. Vwhooompa and off you go. Expect to pay to play. I finished week with an average of 18.1 l/100 km. The official ratings of 14.3/9.3/12.1 L/100 km city/highway/combined are better, but still not wonderful. You’ll be putting the good stuff in the 70L petrol tank too.
Drive Hard: Test Drive: 2016 BMW M6
The eight-speed transmission seems utterly unfazed by the power of the two twin-scroll turbos, moving through the gears with pace, precision and poise. On the subject of the turbos, BMW calls this TwinPower, but with two sets of twin-scroll chargers shouldn’t it be QuadPower?