That same hulk of an engine yields about 18.5 mpg with combined city/highway driving and frequent abuse by my right foot. Color me impressed. The only disappointing piece was the occasional computer-induced turbo lag. I get the feeling that the computer is only giving my right foot a 65 percent vote in output levels and it gets to determine when the other 35 percent gets thrown in, probably based on driving conditions like road surface, traction, engine temps and other things I don’t care about so much.
Once you get passed the overwhelming infatuation with the twin-turbo V8 under foot and start looking around the cockpit, you realize what else the six figures bought you.
The 650i delivers one of the all-time best looking interiors I’ve seen. Leather is everywhere, with high-contrast-stitching, Alcantara, ceramic black knobs, LCD panels for driver telemetry. The cockpit layout is all about the driver with a mere nod to your passenger that gets a small, yet comfortable corner carved out for them while you pilot the missile. The rear seats still seem like an after-thought despite the claimed increase in rear “leg room” from the previous 6 Series.
To prepare for flight, you need to find the Jekyll and Hyde personality buttons. There’s one all-out sport setting (Sport+) for the enthusiast and three levels of diminishing performance (Sport, comfort, and Comfort+). The switch changes ride (chassis) characteristics like electronically controlled dampers and active roll-bar system and transmission programming for more aggressive shift points and holding a gear longer.
I found I only needed Sport+ and Comfort+. They deliver exactly as advertised. Of course Sport+ feels great, provides point-and-shoot handling, and is not overly harsh. What’s dramatic here is how comfortable the Comfort+ setting is. This blend of disparate characteristics is what BMW does best. The aftermarket can’t touch this.
So how does this all deliver for the enthusiast? When I was done commuting and getting groceries in absolutely surprising comfort, I headed for the hills to hit the local twisty roads. After repeated uphill acceleration, I noticed engine output dropped a bit – probably getting hot. Coming back down the hill, I did notice some brake fade and increasing levels of understeer as a combination of hard braking then cornering started heating up the front tires. I also started to smell brake lining. I don’t expect this car to hold up for track days, but that’s not what it’s intended for and it’s still good for small doses of aggressive driving. There’s an M6 in the works if you want to drive like a madman!