2007 BMW 650i Coupe

Nov. 8, 2007
This is a driver’s car.

That said, I didn’t like driving this luxurious coupe: I loved it. Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness never plunked down $84K for one of these. On Saturday night I considered driving to some trendy venue and sitting nonchalantly behind the wheel until some supermodel begged me to take her for a spin. But then I thought, “Why waste good driving time?”

Comfort Access lets you start the engine without having to remove the fob from your pocket. Simply engage the clutch and press the Start button. Very James Bond. The trunk is large (13 cu ft) and the lid opens all the way at the touch of a button. The 650i has run-flat tires and no spare. Battery and fuses are beneath the trunk.

BMW says the coupe’s top speed is limited to 155 mph. I’ll take their word on it. The ride is firm. Braking is assured with big, lightweight discs and calipers. The 32-valve V8 benefits from Valvetronic variable valve timing and variable lift, which combine for low-rev, off-the-line acceleration and high-rev horsepower. And it sounds great, making a throaty growl when punched. A Sport setting moves shift points to higher revs and quickens downshifts for increased response.

Active Roll Stabilization reduces body roll when cornering. As the car leans into a turn, hydraulic motors twist anti-roll bars to counteract the lean. The system also improves handling over bumps and improves steering response. Pushed a little too hard, Dynamic Stability Control kicks in to handle corners. DSC helps to keep the car from skidding into understeer or oversteer. Point the 650i where you want to go and that’s where you’re going. On snow and ice, Dynamic Traction Control manages engine power and keeps the rear tires from breaking free and spinning.

Optional Head-Up Display projects speed, navigational information, cruise-control status, and other data on the windshield. It’s easy to operate and nondistracting. The iDrive operates the stereo, climate controls, navigation, and other systems. A large dial on the center console works like the mouse on a personal computer but was awkward to operate.

Driver-side memory buttons let you store seat adjustments. The steering column also recalls your preferences. And leather front seats hide extendable thigh support. The rear seat (with passthrough for skis) might accommodate two vertically challenged yuppies.

The 650i likes premium unleaded — and plenty of it. EPA-estimated consumption is 17/24 (city/hwy), for which excess the buyer antes up a $1,300 gas-guzzler tax. The $73,900 base includes loads of standard features like the 4.8-liter, 32-valve (4-cam) V8, 18-in alloy wheels, highpressure headlight cleaner, park distance control, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Sport Package ($1,800) covers exterior trim, sport seats, 19-in alloy wheels, and run-flat tires.

Is the 650i coupe worth the money? How much you got?

— Patrick Mahoney

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