Bottom line: The 2012 BMW 650i quite simply is a beautiful car, a piece of motorized poetry, the kind of car that makes it difficult to hate driving, even in a congested commute. Alas, it is for the super-affluent few.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Superior marks in all three, which makes it occasionally frustrating. This car can do so much. But it has so little opportunity to do it in most daily driving environments.
Head-turning quotient: Sex in the city — or anywhere else it is driven.
Body style/layout: The 2012 BMW 650i is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive mid-size luxury convertible with an automatically retractable, fully lined black soft top.
Engine/transmissions: It comes with a standard 4.4-liter, 32-valve, twin-turbocharged, direct-fuel-injected V-8 engine with variable valve timing (400 horsepower, 450 foot-pounds of torque). Turbocharging, direct fuel injection and electronic valve timing work in concert to boost power with marginal increases in fuel consumption. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. An eight-speed automatic with manual shift ability is optional.
Capacities: There are seats for four people, but the rear seats are for tiny people only. Trunk space accommodates four bags of groceries, or three modest-size soft overnight bags. The fuel tank holds 18.5 gallons of gasoline (premium grade is required).
Mileage: You get 24 miles per gallon on the highway and 16 in the city, assuming you are driving at posted speeds on flat roads, in light traffic, on a day of mild weather. Actual mileage is affected by any negative variation in driving conditions or increased aggressiveness in driving style.
Safety: Buy the options, including lane-departure and blind-side warning systems and Active Roll Stabilization (hydroelectrically actuated stabilizer bars). Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes with four-wheel anti-lock protection, emergency braking system, electronic stability and traction control, dual front air bags with head-protection chambers, and side-mounted air bags.
Pricing: Base price on the 2012 BMW 650i convertible is $90,500. Dealer’s invoice on that model is $83,260. Price as tested is $105,025, including $13,650 in options (active roll stabilization, lane-departure warning and blind-spot detection, cinnamon-brown Napa leather with contrast stitching, navigation with patented Real Time Traffic Information system, smartphone connectivity, and others) and a 875 destination charge. Estimated dealer’s price as tested is $97,500. Compare with Audi R8 and Ferrari California convertibles.