Although its formal debut will come next month at the Shanghai Auto Show, the first official photos of the new 2012 BMW 650i Coupe have just been released. As expected the hard top version of this sport-luxo 2+2 shares much with the BMW 6 Series Coupe Concept that was presented last summer in Paris as well as with the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible the automaker displayed at Detroit in January. Like its elegant droptop sibling, the new 650i Coupe retains the basic proportions of its predecessor, but is longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces and enjoys the same 2.95-inch wheelbase stretch that should make life in the still less than adult-scaled rear quarters a bit more palatable.

Style with a premium edge

Smooth, flowing body contours and a semi-fastback roofline are set off by a crisp shoulder ridge and fashionably flared wheel arches that give this new 6 Series Coupe even more formidable road presence. That assertive look is suitably reinforced by its distinctively revamps fascias. Up front, the forward-slanting signature twin-kidney grille is framed by new corner-following Adaptive LED headlamps and parking/running lights. Out back, L-shaped taillamps that also employ more efficient LED technology are set of by twin trapezoidal chrome exhaust outlets.

Inside, the 2012 BMW 650i Coupe shares all of its key cabin enhancements with the new Convertible, including yards of high-quality Nappa leather upholstery, 20-way power front bucket seats, a driver-oriented cockpit that features the latest iteration of BMW's iDrive integrated controller system with a new 10.1-inch LCD Central Display monitor, DVD-based voice activated navigation, a premium 12-speaker audio system with SIRIUS/HD radio and iPod/USB adapters as well as Park Distance Control. Like the Convertible, the 650i Coupe also will offer a host of trick optional items including a new full-color 3-D Head-Up display, 360-degree Top-View/Side-View cameras, enhanced BMW Connected Drive infotainment/telematics, Parking Assistant, Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection, Active Cruise Control with stop-and-go capability and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System.

Born to run even quicker

Building on its performance pedigree, the 2012 BMW 650i Coupe will arrive here powered by the automaker's 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged/direct-injected V8 that makes 400 horsepower between 5,500-6,400 rpm and a heady 450 lb-ft of torque from 1,750-4,500 revs -- both sizable gains from the T-charged 4.4-liter used before. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or eight-speed paddle-shifted ZF automatic, either of which will take the car from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and on to an electronically curtailed 155 mph top end. No word yet on EPA numbers, but BMW says the use of Brake Energy Regeneration and on-demand circuitry for various ancillary components is expected to help bump the overall figures at least a bit. 

Like its 5 Series and 7 Series stablemates, the BMW 650i Coupe is underpinned by an aluminum-intensive suspension system that complements its double-wishbone/multilink front/rear design elements and 245/40 all-season run-flat tires on 19-inch alloy wheels with standard electronically controlled active dampers and BMW's Driving Dynamics Control that offers four driver-selectable modes (Comfort/Normal/Sport/Sport+) that vary mapping for the steering, throttle, shock absorbers, transmission and stability/traction control systems. Stopping power comes from big anti-lock disc brakes that feature everything from Dynamic and Cornering Brake Control circuitry to Fade Compensation and Start-off Assist. For those seeking the ultimate, the 2012 BMW 650i Coupe also will be available with BMW's nifty Active Roll Stabilization and new Integral Active Steering that adds a precise measure of rear-axle steering to enhance high-speed stability as well as make the car it easier to maneuver in tight confines.

While its Convertible alter-ego is set to arrive at dealers this spring, the 2012 BMW 650i Coupe won't roll into showrooms until fall, with pricing to be released closer its on-sale date. At some point in 2012, it's expected to be joined here by a 640i Coupe, a model that will be part of the 6 Series launch lineup in other world markets and packs a 3.0-liter/315-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine underhood. An even more potent M6 model will be along at some point, and there's also a possibility we'll see an ActiveHybrid version to help BMW cope with the increasingly demanding CAFE requirements.

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