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BMW 650i Grand Coupe 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the BMW 650i Gran Coupe with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

With BMW’s numbering scheme having gone a bit doo-lally over the past few years it’s hard to know what’s what unless you’ve done your research. The 6 Series nameplate was plastered on the rump of a questionable-looking GT over a decade ago and is now also to be found on the rear of a four-door coupe.

Uh-huh. Doesn’t really matter, though, because once you’ve waded through the explanatory notes and found the 6 Series Gran Coupe, you’re in for a treat. A beautiful BMW with impeccable manners and stealthy grace.

Value

$238,900. That’s your starting point. If that hasn’t reduced your gizzards to goo, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a long list of standard equipment.

Here are the edited highlights:

You’ll get adaptive drive and dampers, cruise control, a range of connected applications, heads-up display, auto-parking, rear-view and 360-degree cameras, adaptive LED headlights, sunroof, auto headlights and wipers, sun blinds for the rear windows, soft-close doors, keyless entry and start, Harmon Kardon surround sound, floor mats, leather everywhere, sat-nav, heated/ventilated electric front seats.

It manages to look hefty but without the usual downsides associated with size

Our car also had $1000 of piano black interior trim, $1100 for ceramic control surrounds and $3200 of lovely Nappa leather.

Design

The 6 Gran Coupe looks like no other BMW. Interestingly, around the back end there are shades of Chris Bangle in the way the boot is shaped, but the rest follows the philosophy of the 4 Series Gran Coupe – svelte, pretty, desirable.

It manages to look hefty but without the usual downsides associated with size – it isn’t Aston Martin Rapide elegant but it looks right.

Inside there’s a fat central section that arcs up to the dash which houses digital dials that would be cool if there wasn’t already a heads-up display. The dials change colour and content depending on the driving mode but there’s something not quite right about them – the standard BMW clocks would have done fine here.

The Playstation-like M Sport display almost looks lost

As it’s a Coupe, the 650i gets away with having marginal head and leg room in the back. The seats are comfortable enough in both rows but rear seat passengers are a little short-changed, the big front seats robbing toe room. The boot, however, is gigantic.

Safety

Six airbags, traction and stability controls, brake control and what BMW calls Active Protection, lane departure warning, blind spot detection.

Features

The gigantic 10.2 inch screen stretches over what seems like a third of the ample dashpad, making BMW’s split-screen iDrive almost cinematic. The sat-nav and stereo can sit side-by-side without looking cramped and the Playstation-like M Sport display almost looks lost.

The Harmon Kardon stereo is a belter (predictably) and also sports DAB+ and digital TV receiver.

Engine

The 50i denotes the presence of a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 under that never-ending bonnet. The same unit is found in a number of big fast BMWs and in this case generates 330kW, and 650Nm of torque.

With the aid of ZF’s eight-speed transmission, stop start and regenerative braking, BMW claims a combined cycle of 8.8L/100km which I feel is virtually impossible. When careful and with a good chunk of highway time, we got 11L/100km but before the long run we were in the mid 13s.

Acceleration is swift, dispatching the run to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds.

Driving

You’re always aware that the Gran Coupe is a big car – it feels big from the driver’s seat which itself is big and comfortable and the low, wide feel of the cabin fools you into thinking you’re in something more Rolls-Royce sized than a slightly bigger 5 Series.

The cabin is extremely quiet, even with those whacking great tyres

It has a huge presence but never feels unwieldy. The steering is well weighted but coupled with the size can make the car feel a bit heavy. That melts away as soon as you sink the pedal into the carpet. Unlike other cars so-equipped, you barely hear the engine, but you can certainly feel it, all that power and torque slinging you down the road at an unseemly clip.

It’s a cocooned experience, with high-speed composure bettered only by machines with even loftier price tags. Barrelling down the freeway, the DRLs help clear your path (with the usual, inattentive exceptions) and the huge power means you’re never in any danger of being stuck behind a slow-mover for long.

It’s an outstanding grand tourer – an impromptu trip to Katoomba up the M4 was dispatched with indifference, both car and occupants unfussed by the long distance. The cabin is extremely quiet, even with those whacking great tyres (245 at the front, 275 at the rear) wrapped around 20-inch wheels.

The ride isn’t quite magic carpet smooth, but the adaptive damping cushions all but the worst of it. It’s almost a crime to put it into Sport as the ride stiffens up and it seems somehow out of character.

Verdict

Short of an Aston Rapide, there’s nothing quite like the Gran Coupe on the road. It’s a lot more stylish (for that read bling-free) compared to Mercedes’s CLS and Audi's A7.

It’s a great place to be, especially for front seat passengers and if you’ve got a bit of room, tremendous fun to fling around. But that’s not what it’s for – crushing long distances or tragic traffic is what it does best, and does it in impeccable style.

How do you think the Gran Coupe measures up to its rivals, the CLS and A7? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 BMW 650i Gran Coupe pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$105,645
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$70,600
Highest Price
$140,690

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
650i 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $107,100 – 135,410 2016 BMW 6 Series 2016 650i Pricing and Specs
640i IND Collection 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $111,300 – 140,690 2016 BMW 6 Series 2016 640i IND Collection Pricing and Specs
650i 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $100,200 – 126,720 2016 BMW 6 Series 2016 650i Pricing and Specs
640i IND Collection 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $103,600 – 131,010 2016 BMW 6 Series 2016 640i IND Collection Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$64,888

Lowest price, based on 7 car listings in the last 6 months

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