EVO Middle East editor-in-chief Bassam Kronfli tried the new drop-top big Beemer earlier this year on the spectacular roads of South Africa, and labelled it competent but lacking in drama.
But that was there. The 6 Series Convertible has now arrived in the Middle East, so does it make more sense on the sweaty highways and beach-front corniches than it did on the winding mountain switchbacks of Cape Town?
The old E63/64 6 Series heralded the arrival of the controversial Chris Bangle design era at BMW back in 2003. The F12 6 Series convertible has nowhere near the impact; it’s pretty anonymous, with a face that’s too big for its sleek body. From the back is its best view, with the low roofline emphasising its wide stance. Detailing on the flanks can’t hide the car’s size – it’s almost five metres long – but it does a good job of avoiding a flabby look.
The interior is much better, with plenty of gadgetry, from a huge 10.2-inch widescreen to buttons for various throttle/gearbox map and suspension modes.
Consequently the 6-Series is well suited to cruising in Comfort, soaking up all but the harshest of road surfaces. The top-of-the-line 650i, with its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, pushes out 401bhp in a beautiful, linear delivery to the rear wheels, making it fantastic for highway entrances and effortless overtakes; the eight-speed transmission instantly finding the best ratio, whatever the driver’s intentions.
Flick everything to Sport+ and the 650i stiffens up, with a more eager throttle and a paddle-operated manual mode to the gearbox. But it’s too refined to offer real thrills and while it muscles through fast changes of direction admirably for its two-ton weight, it needs a serious diet to cut it as a sports car. Fast sweeping roads can be dispatched quickly, but with minimal drama; the V8 produces more of a whirr than a growl, even with the canvas roof folded.
The 6-Series deserves to do well in the Middle East, despite its eyebrow-raising price. It’s a comfortable, powerful mile-muncher of the type already liked in the region, and a winter’s cruise with the top down is a very pleasant proposition. But with a coupe and M model on the way, we’re hopeful that the excitement we crave from BMW, especially at this kind of money, is still to come.”
Engine V8, 5395cc twin-turbo
Power 401bhp @ 5500-6400rpm
Torque 442lb ft @ 1750-4500rpm
0-100kph 5.0sec (claimed)
Top speed 250kph
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