Review: 2016 BMW 650i Coupe

– Cleveland, Ohio

BMW usually gets noticed for its countless high-performance machines – the ones festooned with M badges. I actually prefer the garden-variety BMWs that aren’t Car and Driver cover models or taking center stage at an international auto show. When done right, these mass market Roundels tend to be a little bit good at everything: ride, handling, style, ergonomics. They’re the substance behind BMW’s famous “Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline because they can do it all. When done wrong, you get something like the BMW 650i: a decent car of which just too much is being asked.

Pros

  • Lots of cars offer multiple drive modes. I was just in an Audi that offered three: Dynamic, Auto, and Comfort. None of them felt just right. This BMW offers six drive modes: Sport+, Sport, Comfort, Comfort+, and EcoPro. More choices is good because it means there’s a better chance you’ll have the right mode when you want it. Plus, all six feel distinctly different. It’s like having six cars in one, or one car with a crazy multiple personality disorder.
  • My favorite mode is Comfort+ because the 6 Series is, at its core, a luxury car. Despite the 650i being powered by a biturbo V8 making 445 horsepower, and despite there being a stupid powerful 560-hp M6 version, and despite BMW having pressed this car into service as an actual GT race car, the 6 Series is simply better at cosseting than cornering. That’s its nature, no matter how hard BMW tries to redefine it. The ride is actually fantastic...