By KBB.com Editors
High-powered, high-profile and highly desirable, the 2009 BMW 650i makes an exclusive statement in a very exclusive realm. While a few of its styling details may be open to some rather heated debate, there's no denying that this 2+2 offers a stunning driving experience for those who can afford its price of entry. A potent V8 engine, superbly responsive chassis and exceptional amenities make it a serious competitor to prestige coupes from Audi, Jaguar, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, in many cases delivering more absolute performance for considerably less money when comparably equipped.
If the exhilarating rush of a big V8-powered coupe or convertible that handles with the confidence of a world-class GT car sets your sporting senses tingling, you'll love the 2009 BMW 650i. A choice of manual or automatic transmissions, exceptional interior amenities and desirable options should please even the most demanding enthusiast.
Those who find fault with the styling of the 650i's rear quarters, or who are put off by the complexity of its iDrive system – that integrates control of the audio, ventilation, navigation and communication functions – might want to consider a Jaguar XK or Porsche 911 Carrera S. If you're looking for a more usable back seat, the Mercedes-Benz CLK550 would be a better choice.
This year's Sport Package is upgraded to include new 19-inch forged alloy wheels, an anthracite-color headliner (Alcantara in the Coupe or fabric in the Convertible), dark chrome exhaust tips, a contoured hood, sport-tuned exhaust and sport seats with Shadowline trim.
Driving Impressions The 2009 BMW 650i shares basic chassis elements with the 5 Series Sedan, but its 4.3-inch shorter wheelbase and slightly wider rear track dimension add an extra measure of agility...and surefootedness, while a host of computerized "active" control elements – from stability to traction to the anti-roll bars themselves – ensures it maintains that superb composure on virtually any kind of road. Although the suspension is tuned more for control than pure comfort, the 650i is still a first-rate cruiser. The silky 360-horsepower V8 takes it from zero to 60 mph in just about 5.5 seconds, regardless of whether it's backed by the conventional six-speed manual or the Sport six-speed automatic.
Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
The 6 Series' available radar-based cruise control will detect a slower-moving vehicle ahead and reduce speed accordingly. New for this year, the system will slow the car to a complete stop, enabling use in stop-and-go traffic.
6-speed Sport Automatic Transmission
We especially like this faster-shifting automatic, which includes paddle shifters and rev matching for smooth downshifts.
Comfort and convenience touches abound inside the 650i Coupe and Convertible, headed by its well-contoured power bucket seats and on-board computer and navigation system. Standard Dakota leather upholstery is set off with high-tech Pearl-gloss Ruthenium accent trim, but BMW offers Dark or Light Birch wood as no-charge alternatives for buyers with more traditional tastes. Even with its rakish roofline, the 650i has sufficient room for taller drivers up front, although some may find that the steering wheel rim obscures the tops of the gauge faces, even when adjusted to its full-up position. Rear seats are typical 2+2 fare – scaled strictly for kids, and smaller ones at that.Exterior
One of the most expressively styled BMWs, the 650i maintains the long, low nose and short rear-deck treatments that have characterized other classic coupes and convertibles from this marque, but incorporates lots of aluminum and thermoplastic panels to help reduce weight. Its laid-back windshield and sweeping roofline are smartly complemented by bold fender flares that add to the aggressive character. The Convertible distinguishes itself with a fully-lined one-touch power top and power-retractable back glass element. Although the 650i's tail treatment and trunk lid remain points of minor controversy for some, its overall visual impact – especially when fitted with the optional Sport Package that bumps the wheel and tire fitment from 18-inch to 19-inch alloy rims with even larger, lower-profile tires – is undeniably impressive.
The 2009 BMW 650i's standard features include a dual automatic climate control system, DVD-based navigation with iDrive integrated controller, a multifunction steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column, programmable keyless remote entry, corner-following xenon Adaptive Headlights, Adaptive Brake Lights (that indicate your stopping intensity to vehicles following behind), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), electronically-modulated Active Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Driving Control (that quickens throttle and shift responses), advanced anti-lock brakes, run-flat tires and a no-charge choice between a six-speed manual or six-speed Sport automatic transmission. Dual front and front-side airbags, BMW's Head Protection System and Active Knee Protection airbags are also standard equipment.
Owners can personalize the 650i with Active Steering (that makes it easier to maneuver in confined areas and adds more confident feel at higher speeds), Comfort Access automatic locking and unlocking, distance-maintaining Active Cruise Control, a premium Logic7 Surround Sound audio system, High Definition Radio, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Head-Up Display and thermal imaging Night Vision. A Cold Weather Package (heated front seats and steering wheel and a ski bag) and a Sport Package (19-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, sport bucket seats with adjustable thigh support and Shadowline exterior trim) also are available.
The 2009 BMW 650i's all-aluminum 4.8-liter V8 makes an outstanding 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. It incorporates both variable valve timing and variable valve lift to help optimize performance throughout a wide rev range, delivering super-quick response and respectable fuel economy with either of the available six-speed transmissions. Near-silent at idle, the engine emits a beautifully rich and throaty roar at full throttle, thanks in part to a movable element in the exhaust system that imparts an edgier character to the sound under higher load conditions. For maximum enthusiast appeal, the electronically-controlled automatic also offers racing-style, steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers.
360 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
360 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (Coupe, manual), 15/23 (Coupe, automatic), 14/21 (Convertible, manual), 15/23 (Convertible, automatic)
By Sea Clav (WA) on Monday, June 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,400overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks great; comfortable; feel good factor"
Cons: "Transmission is awful; not very practical; pricey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have a 2009 650i Convertible, just on 42.5K miles. This is nearly a great car - it looks fabulous and has been very reliable for me, only requiring scheduled maintenance, however there is one flaw that I cant get over, the tip in effect on the transmission / throttle. (For those unfamiliar, 'tip in' is the delay between pushing the throttle and the car responding with appropriate acceleration.) In my case, while driving in 'D' there's about a 2-3 second delay between engaging the throttle and the car responding. Like many modern automatics, my 650ic drops into 6th (top) gear early in the rev cycle to preserve gas, how ever it appears to have a very slow decision time in getting out of 6th to a gear one can actually accelerate in. My first reaction to this was that I'd learn to cope and predict the transmission, however after a year of driving I still can't work it out. The practical problem comes in when trying to get the car to accelerate from any cruising speed, low throttle pressure gets low acceleration; high throttle pressure gets a couple of second delay, then it hunts for a lower gear, and you get all the acceleration in a rush; middling throttle pressure may get either effect. Merging onto a freeway, or trying to take a 30mph tight turn is a nightmare as I simply can't predict whether it's going to cruise sluggishly, or accelerate like a rocket. Lesser problem in 'S' and Sport modes, and not notable in 'M'. I've had the car back to the BMW dealer who acknowledged the issue existed, claimed it was by design, and advised me to sell the car. On the plus side, if you are actually driving aggressively, and using the upper half of the rev range, there is a phenomenal amount of power available. Grip is pretty progressive and balanced, tending more towards 4-wheel drift than RWD wildness. Road noise with the roof up is quite acceptable, and scuttle shake is fairly minimal, even when chucking it around a mountain road. Overall - great car for blasting the twisties; low end acceleration is pathetic from a rolling (>20mph) start; not enough of a performance vehicle to justify the inconveniences of a 2+2 convertible."
By Dschotte (AZ) on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drive- handling-comfort"
Cons: "i-drive- run flats- 1 cup holder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The car runs fantastic. My only issue has been with the i-drive. Every so often the radio will need to boot up after starting the car. This process usually takes 10 minutes. The dealer has attempted to reboot system too many times to mention. Love everything else about the car. I've owned 20+ vechiles in my lifetime (ie old ) But for the i-drive this is top 3."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Chazzer (SC) on Monday, February 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm 50 years old and this is the BEST car I have ever owned. I have owned 4 BMW's (all 3 series) and this is BY FAR the best. The 6 series tops them all!!!!! I have owned Mercedes, Range Rovers, Mazada's, Honda's, Nissan's...and a few American models too. I have also owned this car longer than any other car. Just can't seem to part with it. When I do...I will be getting another BMW 6 Series. Handles like NOTHING else out there. My only advise, get a used one....the price tag on a new one will kill the wallet!!!"
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By superflychris (DC) on Saturday, January 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "styling and handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Loved the car since its introduction 2004 . Bought mine from my dealership 2004 black on black coupe 79k miles sports package loaded clean car fax . Owned a mercedes 2002 Cl 500 over all cant compare to the BMW 645. The Benz interior was flashy but the BMW is Overall Sexy....."
By Pnkgirly (CA) on Thursday, March 29, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Everything you need"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've always had luxury cars. But this one is worth every penny. The traction on the road is outstanding, the car has control over the road instead of the road controlling it. Anytime I go out of town for work and have to get into a rental I feel like I'm driving a plastic trashcan with wheels When I was in college I drove this car for 4 years put over 70k miles with not one oil change and no problems."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By MikeyTCW (NJ) on Monday, February 13, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fantastic value/great drivers car"
Cons: "small back seat/poor visibility in convertible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had the best cars in the world. This is among the best ever. It's fast, comfortable, reliable, and very reasonably priced. It's relatively good on fuel economy with highway registering 30 MPG at 75-80 mph, city mileage is another story at around 18mpg. Controversial I-Drive was difficult to get comfortable with at first, but once I "got-it", it's pretty good (still not great). It eliminates a lot of clutter on the dashboard which is nice, but it's overly complicated for making simple adjustments to vents/radio. It works very well with the Navi system. Looks are a matter of personal taste. Initially I was not fond of the look of this car, but the driving of this car turns it into a beauty. The looks have "grown" on me to where I actually like it's appearance now. Small back seat with difficult access, small trunk space, but this isn't what you buy this car for. In a strange way sort of like a cross between a MB CL500 and a Porsche 911."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful