Following a pics-and-specs preview at the LA Auto Show, the all-new 2012 BMW 650i Convertible made its first in-the-flesh appearance in Detroit. Even more stylish and techo-rich than the car it replaces, BMW's new premier drop-top is set to arrive here in the spring.

While retaining the basic proportions of its predecessor, the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible is longer, lower and wider, with a welcome 2.9-inch wheelbase stretch that benefits rear-seat passengers and additional headroom in all four spots. Careful reengineering and more expansive use of high-strength/multi-phase steel and other alloys has yielded an overall structure that has 50 percent more static rigidity and 29 percent more overall strength while extensive uses of lightweight panels -- aluminum in the doors and hood, composite in the front fenders, decklid and top cover -- help trim mass while ensuring even better balance. The one-button power activated multilayer canvas soft top on the new 6 Series Convertible retains the signature "flying buttress" lines and can be raised/lowered in 19 seconds. It also features a vertical glass rear window that can be independently retracted to improve ventilation or serve as an integral wind blocker.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

Inside, the new BMW 650i Convertible takes its driver-centric focus up a notch with things like improved control layouts and the latest version of iDrive with a new 10.1-inch center display. It also will be the first in its class to offer an optional Head-Up Display as well as features like BMW's ConnectedDrive driver assistance and mobility package along with a full 360-degree surround camera setup. In addition to the extra stretch room, all traveling in the car's 2+2 cabin will find themselves surrounded by even higher-grade materials throughout -- including standard Nappa leather -- as well as a primo audio system with HD radio. In addition to its comprehensive array of safely features, the new 650i Convertible also is fitted with a pair of pop-up roll hoops behind the rear head restraints.

Unlike certain other markets where it also will launch in 640i form with a 3.0-liter turbocharged-six, the new BMW 6 Series drop-top will arrive here only in V8-powered 650i form. Fitted with BMW's unique twin-turbo setup that positions those force-feeders between the cylinder banks, this all aluminum 4.4-liter cranks out 400 ponies and 450 lb-ft of torque and can be paired with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or a new eight-speed Sport Automatic alternative. Either choice will allow the car to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

Any "joy" it might be capable of delivering notwithstanding, BMW hasn't lost sight of the need to keep this new al fresco 6 Series an honest "Ultimate Driving Machine." To that end, its sport-tuned suspension matches aluminum-intensive front struts and rear multilink hardware with electronically controlled shocks, speed-sensitive electrically-boosted power steering and robust anti-lock disc brakes complemented by standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that interconnects the ABS, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and wheelspin-limiting Start-off Assistant. Another key element in the formula is BMW's Driving Dynamics Control that offers unique driver-selectable Comfort/Normal/Sport/Sport+ settings for throttle response, power steering assist, shock feel and automatic transmission shift mapping as well as the available Active Roll Stabilization and Integral Active Steering systems.

Pricing for the 2012 BMW 650i Convertible will start at $91,375.

While the BMW 6 Series convertible wasn't at the LA Auto show, it did make an appearance at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Below is a video of the walkaround.


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