With a profile defined by voluptuous curves, few cars can provide the kind of instant recognition like the BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible. In addition to their provocative silhouettes, the 650i Coupe and Convertible set the benchmark as exemplary driver’s cars combining performance, luxury and exclusivity in equal measure. With 360 horsepower routed through either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, the 650i Coupe and Convertible have always offered cutting-edge performance to complement their undiluted luxury. Even now, four years after their introduction, the Coupe and Convertible remain two of the best-selling members of their class.
For 2008, a host of refinements enable these new models to maintain their class-leading positions. Subtle exterior changes enhance the look of both the Coupe and Convertible, setting them apart from previous models while still maintaining the 6 Series’ distinctive profile. Revised lighting increases the cars’ visibility front and rear, making it easier for the driver to see and be seen. Interior changes make the 6 Series Coupe and Convertible even more luxurious than before, with upgrades to the standard and optional leather. The Convertible’s interior also adds leather with BMW’s new Sun Reflective Technology, which significantly reduces heat gain from sunlight. New wheels give the cars a sportier look, and a new Sport Automatic transmission backs up that look with quicker, more responsive shifting and even more driver control.
New technological features also make their appearance for ’08, including BMW’s Lane Departure Warning system, a camera-based system that monitors lane placement and discreetly notifies the driver of any inadvertent lane change. Active Cruise Control becomes even more convenient via a new Stop and Go feature, which enables the system to function even in heavy traffic. Active Cruise allows the vehicle to come to a complete stop without losing its setting, then accelerate back up to set speed with only a touch of the accelerator pedal from the driver. A new Premium Sound Package adds a USB Adapter for an iPod or MP3 player. And BMW’s leading-edge iDrive system adds a row of ‘favorites’ buttons, known as Programmable Memory Keys, which can be used for anything from radio-station presets to pre-programmed destinations with the 6 Series standard navigation system.
Inside or out, the 6 Series represents BMW’s vision of a luxury-performance coupe and convertible. For 2008, that vision takes on a slightly sharper focus.
What’s new for 2008
As of 9/07 production (650i Coupe and Convertible):
2008 model selection remains as before:
• 650i Coupe
• 650i Convertible
Exterior design & function
650i Coupe and Convertible
• Reconfigured optical headlight lenses
• New front airdam has larger, reshaped opening
• Amber DOT reflectors relocated to lower bumper, ahead of the wheel-wells; headlight area is completely white
• Taillights include new LED design
• Reshaped trunklid, with taller spoiler along top edge and third brake light incorporated into the rear deck
Power & performance
Both 6 Series models:
• New optional Sport Automatic includes steering-wheel paddle shifters and rpm matching during downshifts (beginning 06/07 production), plus a Sport button for quicker, more dynamic shifting
• New electronic shifter, similar to that in the 5 Series, offers ‘shift-by-wire’ actuation and more ergonomic operation
• SMG no longer available
• Standard 18-inch and optional 19-inch cast alloy wheels are all updated designs, giving the 650i Coupe and Convertible a sportier look.
• Sport Package now includes forged 19-inch wheels with a higher strength/weight ratio. These produce lower unsprung weight, improving suspension response and ride characteristics.
Comfort & convenience
• Revised interior
• Brushed aluminum replaces Ruthenium on radio knobs
• Brushed aluminum iDrive controller
• iDrive includes six programmable ‘favorites’ buttons, which can be set to many frequently used features including destination addresses, auto-dialed phone numbers or radio station presets
• Leather-wrapped center console
• Seats on 650i Convertible include Sun Reflective Technology to keep seats cooler even in bright daylight.
Safety & security
• All standard and optional seats now include Active Head Restraints to minimize the chance of head or neck injury in a rear-end collision
• LED brake and turnsignal lights provide quicker response and brighter illumination than conventional bulbs
• A wider, trunklid-mounted third brake light improves rear visibility during braking
• Active Cruise Control Stop & Go allows operation even in dense traffic, and can accommodate speeds all the way down to a complete stop, and resume to set speed from 0 mph
• Lane Departure Warning system provides an immediate notification when the car crosses into another lane without turn signals
• USB adaptor for iPods or MP3 players provides complete access to the owner’s digital recordings via the iDrive system, without using the car’s CD changer connections
Power & performance:
Superlative performance with the 4.8-liter Valvetronic V-8 engine
Under the 650i models’ aluminum hood is a further evolution of the technologically advanced and unique N62 V-8 engine. As such, this power unit continues with BMW’s revolutionary Valvetronic system, which controls engine power by varying valve lift instead of relying on a conventional throttle. Compared to conventional valvegear, Valvetronic enhances torque, power and efficiency.
Indeed, the 650 engine achieves even greater specific power than its predecessor: With 9.1% more displacement (it’s up from 4.4 to 4.8 liters), power rose 35 hp (10.8%) from 325 to 360 hp. Likewise, its torque curve is richer; a higher torque peak of 360 lb-ft. (up from 330) occurs at 3400 rpm, down 200 rpm from the predecessor. The more readily experienced advance, however, is added urge virtually anytime the driver presses down on the accelerator pedal, especially at midrange speeds. One additional advantage of the additional displacement was a simplified induction system. The previous version had a fully variable induction system, capable of varying the induction passages’ length steplessly from minimum to maximum. With the current engine’s increased displacement boosting torque, BMW’s engine engineers simplified the induction system to 2 stages, one for low to medium engine speeds, the other for high engine speeds.
The 6 Series’ exhaust system is specially engineered to lend the V-8 engine an extra-sporty note. Actuated by engine vacuum in response to engine speed and load as well as the gear currently engaged, a movable element in the right-hand resonator is programmed to achieve the sportiest, most pleasurable engine sound within the overall legal exterior-noise limit.
Transmissions: 6-speed manual or Sport Automatic
6-speed manual. The standard transmission is the heavier-duty version of BMW’s two 6-speed manual transmissions. Compared to the 6-speed used in M3 models, it is lighter, and yet robust enough to handle the more abundant torque of the V-8 engine.
6-speed Sport Automatic. Compared to BMW’s traditional STEPTRONIC automatic, this new transmission boasts quicker shift response in ‘Sport’ mode, as well as standard shifter paddles on the steering wheel. The new 650i Coupe and Convertible also utilize BMW’s electronic shifter, which utilizes a shift-by-wire system and a simplified shift pattern: forward for Reverse, back for Drive, and simple thumb-push to engage Park. A separate console-mounted button engages Sport mode, which also alters the Dynamic Driving Control. As in the past, toggling the shifter to the left provides Manual operation. At that setting drivers can make manual shifts by moving the shifter—as in the past—or by flicking the steering wheel paddles forward or back. Either way, shifts are lightning quick. Downshifts are accompanied by ‘throttle-blipping’ to match engine rpm to transmission ratios, making downshifts virtually imperceptible except for the throaty engine response.
Dynamic Driving Control
BMW’s Dynamic Driving Control remains standard. When the driver selects Sport program, an LED in the button illuminates and vehicle behavior is modified as follows:
• Engine response to the accelerator is ‘quicker’; a given movement of the accelerator produces more response. (Cruise-control operation is similarly quicker.)
With the Sport Automatic transmission in Drive, automatic shifts occur at higher road/engine speeds.
• With the Sport Automatic in its normal Sport mode (as engaged with the shift lever), shifts occur at even higher speeds; this is thus a sort of ‘super-sport’ mode.
Steering power assist (with standard Servotronic steering only) is reduced.
By using aluminum, BMW engineers achieved a significant (6.6-lb.) weight reduction. At the same time, they were able to improve the vehicle’s management of impact energy in a frontal crash: both shaft sections are designed to collapse in a controlled manner under impact load. Connecting elements at the ends of each shaft section are of steel; specific welding techniques were developed to weld the aluminum to the steel.
Front suspension: full aluminum, specific 6 Series kinematics
The front suspension system is a further evolution of BMW’s double-pivot front system. Its general concept and design are shared with the 5 and 7 Series, but specific characteristics, dimensions and kinematics – including the 6’s lower ride height and center of gravity – endow the 650i models with their own, definitively sporty handling and riding characteristics. Most of its components are of aluminum, which reduces unsprung weight and thus optimizes the suspension’s response to irregular road surfaces.
Key distinctions between the 6 and 5 Series front suspension (650i Coupe/Convertible vs. 550i Sedan) include:
• Stronger self-centering feel in steering
• Lower ride height
• Firmer springs and shock absorbers compared to standard 550i calibration, not quite as firm as 550i sport calibration; the 6 Series offers just one calibration, and it is sporty.
Rear suspension system: here too, specific calibration of a proven system
Like the 5 and 7 Series, the 6 employs BMW’s most premium rear suspension system, a multi-link layout called Integral Link. This system controls rear-wheel angles very precisely, minimizing unwanted effects under load changes (such as lifting off the gas while cornering, and hard acceleration or braking) – and achieves a remarkably comfortable ride.
Here too, aluminum is extensively employed. Because supple reaction of the suspension to bumps is especially critical for road adhesion at the powered rear wheels, the benefits are even more important here than at the front.
Key distinctions between the 6 and 5 Series rear suspension (650i Coupe/Convertible vs. 550i Sedan) include:
• Wider rear track, 62.7 vs. 62.3 in.
• Greater negative camber, 2 vs. 1.5 degrees
• Lower roll center
• Lower ride height.
Standard Active Roll Stabilization
This suspension innovation dramatically reduces body roll in cornering. In so doing, ARS improves handling by virtue of better suspension geometry (wheel angles relative to vertical); but there is also a psychological component: Drivers and passengers alike marvel at the resulting ‘flat cornering.’ The ARS system consists of:
• Active anti-roll bars, replacing conventional mechanical (‘passive’) front and rear bars. Each bar consists of left and right portions, twisted in opposite directions by a hydraulic motor between them.
• A valve/sensor block containing various system valves and sensors.
• A lateral-acceleration sensor to detect how hard the vehicle is cornering.
• An electronic control unit (ECU) regulating the entire system.
• A tandem oil pump which, via its two sections, provides hydraulic pressure for ARS and the power steering.
• An oil cooler, reservoir, filter, oil-level sensor and the various hoses, mounting brackets and other minor components.
Whenever the vehicle enters a corner, curve or avoidance maneuver, lateral acceleration is generated. This is read by the sensor, which transmits a signal to the ECU. The ECU processes this signal and transmits it to the valve/sensor block. In turn, the valve/sensor block determines the hydraulic pressure applied to the active anti-roll bars to control body roll.
The key word here is ‘active.’ Active Roll Stabilization –
1. • Generates resistance to body roll by twisting the anti-roll bars.
2. • Acts in a stronger and more ‘tailored’ way than conventional anti-roll bars.
3. • Offers no resistance to bumps in straight-ahead driving, as do conventional anti-roll bars; this improves riding comfort.
4. • Increases the vehicle’s maximum cornering capability.
5. • Improves steering response, particularly in the range of cornering where body roll is most tightly controlled.
Rack-and-pinion steering with Servotronic power assist and variable ratio
Like the 5 and 7 Series, the 6 has a variable-ratio rack-and-pinion system with Servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive variable power assist.
The variable-ratio feature (not to be confused with variable assist, nor with Active Steering’s more dramatically variable ratio) results from special profiling of the rack-and-pinion mechanism’s gear teeth. The steering ratio becomes quicker (more steering effect for a given steering-wheel motion) as the wheel is turned outward from its center position. The result is a fine-tuning of steering response according to the situation one is in, be it on a fast straightaway (slower steering) or maneuvering into a parking space (quicker steering).
dramatic advance in vehicle dynamics
Originally part of the 6 Series Sport Package, Active Steering is now available as a stand-alone option. It expands dramatically on the variable-ratio principle.
Innovative brakes: abundant stopping power, weight-saving technology
An innovative, weight-saving construction of the brake discs is standard. In this construction, patented by BMW, the brake disc consists of a high-carbon cast-iron outer portion, which functions conventionally as the surface onto which the brake pads grip; and an aluminum center ‘hat,’ which mounts the rotor to the vehicle. The concept’s advantages include:
• Reduced unsprung weight, complementing the aluminum suspension. Compared to conventional all-cast-iron rotors, actual weight reductions are a very significant 2.2 lb. at the front, 1.5 lb. at the rear.
• Reduced rotor deformation under hard braking, by approximately 20%. This means less tendency of the brakes to vibrate when hot, and reduced likelihood of the rotors cracking under extreme heat conditions.
The front brake calipers are aluminum, which further reduce unsprung weight. Thus with the 6 Series, BMW once again takes the lead in combining top handling with amazing riding comfort.
18- or 19-in. wheels and tires, run-flat standard
New for 2008 are restyled wheels across the board. As before, the standard 6 Series wheel/tire equipment includes 18 x 8.0 front / 18 x 19.0 rear cast-alloy wheels with a Y-Spoke design; these carry W-rated 245/45R-18 front and 275/40R-18 rear run-flat all-season tires that give standard-equipped 650i models excellent performance and traction.
Sport Package contents include new forged 19-in. wheels with an Ellipsoid design. Forgings offer a higher strength to weight ratio so these wheels promise slightly better suspension response in a stronger wheel. In addition, an alternative 19-inch wheel five-spoke Star design is available as a stand-alone option. Both designs are 8.5 in. wide at the front, 9.0 wide at the rear. At the front, 245/40R-19 tires are fitted; the rear wheels carry 275/35R-19 tires. The optional and Sport Package tires are also of run-flat construction and W-rated performance-type, sometimes referred to as ‘summer’ tires.
Although run-flat tires are reputed to have a relatively hard ride, BMW’s handling-and-ride engineers rise above the usual compromises. In an August 2006 test of a 650i Convertible, Car and Driver commended the car’s ride, noting ‘For fast, daylong cruising, the 650i is in a league of its own. Want to do 1000 miles today? Go right ahead.’
A Tire Pressure Monitor alerts the driver to changes in any tire’s air pressure. Because all its models have run-flat tires, the 6 Series was designed without a spare; this contributes to the Series’ generous trunk capacity.
Dynamic Stability Control in its latest form
All BMW models are standard-equipped with Dynamic Stability Control, which provides a wide range of traction and stability functions.
While retaining all these functions, a new-generation DSC system introduced last year adds several new customer-relevant functions that make driving even safer and more pleasant. They are:
• Brake Fade Compensation. Brake fade occurs as the brakes heat up under hard use; a given degree of deceleration requires more pressure on the brake pedal. As brake temperature rises, this function automatically compensates by increasing the hydraulic pressure relative to pedal force.
• Brake Standby. When the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal abruptly, DSC recognizes that sharp braking may be about to occur and applies just enough pressure in the brake system to snug up the pads against the rotors. Thus by the time the driver’s foot reaches the brake pedal, the lag time normally resulting from bringing the pad to the rotor is eliminated, reducing stopping or deceleration distance.
• Brake Drying. Acting on input from the rain sensor (an element of the standard rain-sensing windshield wipers), the pads are periodically brought up to the rotors – just enough to eliminate any film of water between pads and rotors, but not enough to cause a brake application.
• Comfort Stop. Especially with an automatic transmission, unless the driver consciously eases off on the brake pedal, a jerk can occur as the vehicle comes to a stop. Comfort Stop eases off, making for smoother stops.
• Start-off Assistant. Briefly holds the vehicle when the brakes are released while stopped facing uphill. The driver can then start up without doing a ballet with the clutch, brake and accelerator (manual transmission) or rolling backward on a steep hill (automatic transmission).
• Modulated ABS function. ‘Analogized’ control of the DSC brake valves makes the anti-lockup function (ABS) smoother. Instead of simply being fully on or off, application and release of these valves are now modulated.
Exterior design & function
Whether in Coupe or Convertible form, the profile of the 6 Series retains its distinctive curve—a sweeping arc from front to rear that defines its sporting intent. For 2008, both the 650i Coupe and 650i Convertible receive numerous detail changes that differentiate them from previous model, yet still retain the purity of the original design.
As on other BMW models, the new 650i models include luminescent rings around the high beams, which give the cars an instantly recognizable front view, while providing a familial look with other members of the BMW lineup. Crowning the new headlamps are redesigned turn indicators, which feature jewel-like lenses and LED lights to increase their visibility even further. A redesigned front airdam includes a larger air intake with wider uprights. At its outer edge, the larger opening is flanked by a pair of standard foglights with restyled lenses.
The front flanks still incorporate additional turn-signal indicators, so-called ‘repeat blinkers.’ These are set elegantly flush into a recess that launches a side character line. The original shape meant the side panels couldn’t be stamped into steel or aluminum, hence the 6 Series’ innovative use of thermoplastic in the side panels or ‘fenders.’ The 2008 Coupe and Convertible retain this construction material.
Similarly, a new trunklid includes a sensuously recurved spoiler but retains its Sheet Molded Compound construction. Both Coupe and Convertible now include an integrated LED third brakelight in the trunklid; this represents a change for Coupe, which originally mounted the lamp in the upper backlight. The taillights have received new lenses, which again increase the rearward visibility of the ‘08 6 Series. Like those at the front, LED indicators prove even brighter to following drivers. The clear portion of the rear lamps has also been reconfigured to improve the effectiveness of the back-up lights and amber turn signals. Below the bumper, reshaped lower tail lamps highlight the rear diffuser and dual exhaust.
Connecting the front and rear views is the unmistakable 6 Series profile, made even more distinctive by new side sills. Their more pronounced curvature gives both the Coupe and Convertible a lower, shapelier appearance when viewed from the side. The effect re-emphasizes the overall low-slung stance of the 2008 6 Series. The primary aerodynamic goal remains as before, as demonstrated by an excellent coefficient of aerodynamic drag (CD) of 0.30 (Coupe) or 0.31 (Convertible). This result is due in part to an extensive underbody fairing, reaching from just behind the front bumper nearly back to the rear suspension. Even with the revised Federal ratings, both cars an retain excellent highway EPA mileage estimate of 23 mpg with automatic transmission.
The 2008 6 Series Coupe and Convertible continue their extensive use of lightweight materials and construction techniques. An aluminum front-end structure, door panels and hood, plus thermoplastic front side panels save significant poundage over all-steel counterparts. The SMC rear deck, also a weight-saver, offers extra resistance to bending – important in a large-area component like this. (Structural Engineer Ralf Grünn notes also that in a 50-mph rear-impact crash test, the trunklid did not break.) The hood’s aluminum outer and inner skins – the latter essential for strength – are bonded together with a new adhesive that gives it both longitudinal strength (a factor in crash-energy absorption) and vibration resistance. Formerly, two different adhesives were necessary for these two functions; using only one saves 6.2 lb.
Specific Convertible structural details
It’s an unavoidable rule: remove the roof, lose rigidity. Automotive body engineers beef up the lower body to compensate. Measures taken to ensure the Convertible’s structural integrity include:
• Additional diagonal braces, front and rear
• Specific front subframe
• Front thrust plate of 3-mm aluminum, vs. 2.5 mm on Coupe
• Specific reinforcements to side sills
• Strengthened attachment of B-pillar to lower body
• Reinforced attachments for diagonal braces at rear subframe
• Lateral lower-body reinforcement.
Measures relating to rollover integrity are:
• Ultra-strong windshield frame
• Rollover Protection System.
BMW also invested heavily in the windshield frame. It is formed in an ‘inside high-pressure forming’ process that optimizes its strength without rendering it unduly bulky or heavy. Under high heat, the frame is formed with oil inside it, ensuring even distribution of forming pressure and thus consistent wall thickness.
In terms of torsional rigidity – an important measurement of a vehicle body’s resistance to twisting and thus squeaks – the Convertible attains 15,000 Newton-meters per degree (without windshield glass); impressively, this is slightly more rigid than the Coupe with the opening for its Panorama Moonroof, also without its glass panes. With all glass panes in place, the Coupe will of course have greater rigidity than the Convertible.
Comfort & convenience
At its introduction, the 6 Series brought a whole new level of standard equipment to the class, including a choice of manual or automatic 6-speed transmission, iDrive, bi-Xenon headlamps, navigation, voice actuation, 12- or 14-way power front seats, programmable cruise control and, on the Coupe, a Panoramic moonroof. Not only was this level of equipment well above the typical sport-luxury car, but several of these features were unique to the class.
The same is true for 2008. The new 6 Series includes all the above as standard, and this year adds such new features as a leather-wrapped console, Dynamic Cruise Control, programmable favorites keys, power-folding exterior mirrors, and, on the Convertible, Sun Reflective Leather. And once again, these items are designed not merely to coddle the occupants, but to keep the driver more comfortable, relaxed and focused.
These new features enhance one of the most luxurious interiors ever to grace a luxury-sports car, coupe or convertible. A full description of the 6 Series features includes:
The instrument cluster
The 6 Series instrument cluster is similar to that of the 5 Series, with two main analog dials, two lower fields of digital displays between the two analog dials, and an upper field of indicators, warnings and graphic displays.
Each of the two round dials has a disc-type ‘pointer’ that rotates behind the dial face to indicate –
• On the speedometer, the cruise-control speed setting
• On the tachometer, the variable warning segment, delineated by white ‘ticks’ on the movable disc that reach as far down as 4200 rpm with a cold engine, and gradually increase the rpm limit to normal as the engine warms up.
Other distinctive features include:
• Chronometer design, with fine scale gradations
• An oil-temperature gauge at the bottom of the tachometer.
Premium lighting features
In addition to the familiar left/right front reading lights and BMW Ambiance Lighting that emanates from above the windshield to softly illuminate the console area at night, the 6 has several additional premium lighting features:
• LED ground lighting in the exterior mirror housings
• Illuminated doorsill logos
• Illumination of interior door handles
• LED illumination of door storage bins.
For users’ convenience and comfort, 6 Series power windows include comprehensive functional features:
Both models –
• 1-touch open/close door windows with anti-trapping feature
• Power door-sealing system. When a door is opened, the window (if closed and, on the Convertible, if the top is raised) drops slightly to clear the weatherseal; when the door is closed, it rises to seat firmly into the seal.
• Windows may be opened from the outside by pressing and holding the remote’s ‘unlock’ button.
Convertible only –
• 1-touch open/close rear side windows with anti-trapping feature
• All-window switch
• Retractable rear window, which can also be raised when the top is down to act as a wind-blocker.
The power exterior mirrors include both auto-dimming and heating functions. For 2008, the exterior mirrors also gain a power-fold feature for parking in close quarters.
Revised iDrive system with Programmable Memory Keys
The 6 Series continues with standard navigation, which also provides additional iDrive features such as –
• 8.8-in. monitor
• Controller with Force Feedback
• GPS Navigation with DVD database and Real Time Traffic Information
• Voice Command System
• Real Time Traffic Information
• Menu button.
In addition, features for 2008 add even more convenience to the 6 Series iDrive, including:
• A crisper display with new color scheme, higher contrast, and revised graphics to improve legibility
• ‘Hard keys’ for AM/FM selection, audio mode and climate-control air distribution
Six programmable memory keys.
These programmable ‘shortcuts’ can be used for anything from an auto-dial phone number or selected address for the navigation system, to radio-station presets or even a specific CD track. The selected function is displayed on the iDrive screen whenever the driver places a finger on the button. Paired with the new ‘hard keys’ for AM/FM selection, audio mode and air distribution, these additional controls provide another level of convenience to the 6 Series interior.
A text-to-speech engine makes it possible to translate various text messages, such as radio-station names and (in the future) received e-mails, into voice form. In the interaction of graphics and speech, for example, one can dial the number of a programmed phone contact merely by speaking his or her name. The system can recognize 3000 words.
Dynamic cruise control
An extension of the original programmable system, Dynamic Cruise Control broadens its functionality by using brake actuation to control speed. When a downhill section causes the car to start to exceed the set speed, Dynamic Cruise Control can actually apply the brakes to slow the car and maintain the setting. The previous system could only reduce the throttle opening. DCC still allows the driver to set multiple speeds, which can be resumed by moving the cruise-control lever forward or back. As before, the driver can (with the vehicle stationary) pre-program up to six desired speeds, corresponding to various speed limits or driving preferences, and then retrieve them at any time by pushing the stalk forward or pulling rearward past a detent. The current speed can also be captured as one of the programmed speeds. The optional Active Cruise Control also adds expanded functions for 2008.
Two audio systems are offered: standard and premium, which is part of the Premium Sound Package/
The standard AM/FM/CD system includes eight speakers:
• 2 subwoofers, 210 mm, one each in cavities at bases of the B-pillars (Coupe) or in rear side panels (Convertible)
• 2 conical midrange, 100 mm, in front doors (both models)
• 2 conical midrange, 100 mm, in rear shelf (Coupe) or rear side panels (Convertible)
• 2 tweeters, 25 mm, in the front-door mirror triangles (both models),
Upholstery and trim
Standard Dakota leather upholstery is available in three color schemes; the optional Pearl Leather adds two more. Instead of the previous leather trim only on the shifter boot and armrest, the entire console is now swathed in rich Nasca leather, which adds a richer texture to the 6 Series interior. Additionally, brushed aluminum trim replaces the previous Ruthenium, giving the interior a lighter, brighter appearance. As before, two wood trim options—Dark Birch and new Maple wood—are available at no extra charge. Pearl Leather, and the two available no-cost wood interior trim alternatives.
Sun Reflective Technology for the Convertible
The interior of the 2008 650i Convertible receives a unique upgrade, in the form of new Sun Reflective Technology coating on its leather. This convertible-specific interior treatment is designed with modified color pigments that reflect the sun’s rays and reduce heat absorption. The new coating can keep the temperature of the interior surfaces almost 70 degrees cooler than conventional leather. This remarkable treatment is used on seats, armrests, head restraints and gearshift lever in the 650i Convertible, regardless of color or leather selection.
Front seats: two choices in each model
The Coupe’s standard seats include 12-way power adjustments, including 4-way power lumbar support. To the Coupe’s standard front seats, those in the Convertible add power head-restraint/shoulder-belt height and a powered easy-entry feature. (The latter, which moves the seat forward for rear-seat ingress/egress, is manual in the Coupe.)
Another special feature of the Convertible front seats is their seat-integrated safety belts. This belt system provides the ultimate in positioning the belt on the occupant, and makes for easy entry and exit for rear-seat passengers. This year also adds Active Head Restraints, which are covered in the Safety & security section.
Sport seats are included in each model’s Sport Package.
Power-tilting Panorama Moonroof (Coupe)
The Coupe’s short roof precludes a conventional tilt-and-slide moonroof; the Panorama Moonroof more than compensates with its own functional and esthetic attributes. Its glass panel is an extra-large 43.3 inches wide and 29.8 in. front-to-rear; there is a powered interior sunshade. All functions have 1-touch operation and anti-trapping protection; a double-click forward or rearward closes or opens the glass panel and interior shade together.
Fully automatic, fully lined power softtop (Convertible)
The 650i Convertible’s softtop is a work of art and science in its own right. Available in Black or Dark Gray according to exterior and interior colors, it is unique in design, with vertical rear window and ‘fins’ extending rearward of it for an unusually sleek profile with the top raised.
It’s elegant on the inside, too, with its full lining concealing the framework and folding mechanism. Yet beauty and elegance aren’t all this softtop offers:
• Its quiet, fully automatic electrohydraulic power mechanism raises or lowers the top in approximately 25 sec.
• New technology reduces wind noise heard by passengers inside the vehicle with the top up.
• The full lining and sleek profile enhance weather protection and further reduce wind noise.
• With the top up, lowering the rear window enhances openness and ventilation.
• With the top down, raising the rear window creates a wind deflector for rear-seat passengers. (A wind deflector for those up front is available.)
New technology for improving softtop ‘performance’ appears for the first time in the 6 Series. Instead of the usual flock, the top’s inner surface is coated in polyurethane; this reduces wind noise and the tendency to vibrate. Low-frequency vibrations of the kind sometimes heard inside closed convertibles are eliminated; at 90 mph, BMW has measured an impressively low 75 decibels (dBA) inside the 650i Convertible.
Roomy trunk with attractive, functional features
The roomy trunk would do credit to a midsize sedan; at 13.0 cubic feet according to U.S. EPA measurement, the Coupe provides just 1 cu ft. less space than the generous 5 Series compartment. The Convertible’s trunk encloses 12.4 cu ft. with its adjustable softtop storage compartment raised, 10.6 cu ft. with it lowered. In either model, two large golfbags can ride here, and the Coupe takes a suitcase as well. With the optional ski bag, two pairs of skis or a snowboard can be loaded. Standard run-flat tires allow omitting a spare tire, which helps achieve the spacious cargo compartment.
Safety & security
The list of standard safety features offered by BMW’s premier coupe and convertible is virtually unmatched in the luxury-performance field. Active safety systems such as Adaptive Brake Lights and Headlights, DSC, a balanced chassis and the industry’s most-acclaimed braking performance ensure that 6 Series owners have a whole array of accident avoidance capabilities at their command. Augmenting that capacity are state-of-the-art passive safety systems that include BMW’s Smart Airbags for driver and front passenger, side-impact airbags, Active Knee Protection, Battery Safety Terminal and automatic safety-belt tensioners and force limiters. For 2008 the 650i Coupe and Convertible add new features in both active and passive categories.
Active Head Restraints
Standard on all 2008 6 Series cars regardless of seat options, Active Head Restraints help minimize the chance of whiplash injuries in rear-end collisions. These head restraints use a pyrotechnic charge that pivots the restraint forward in severe rear-end impacts, cradling the occupant’s head. Impact sensors in the rear bumper activate the system. Active Head Restraints allow passengers to adjust the restraints to a comfortable position without compromising their effectiveness in a rear-end collision.
Active Knee Protection
Unlike those of other countries, U.S. safety regulations require that production vehicles meet certain front-impact safety standards with unbelted occupants. Thus U.S. BMW models, along with those of other manufacturers, incorporate specific knee protection in the lower instrument-panel areas. The 6 Series incorporates Active Knee Protection for this purpose; two dedicated airbags, positioned ahead of the driver’s and passenger’s knees, reduce the space taken up by the knee protection.
Advanced Head Protection System (Coupe)
With the 6 Series, BMW introduces a new form of its pioneering Head Protection System. Its coverage is similar to that of the original system – essentially for front occupants, though it extends somewhat rearward of the B-pillar – but incorporates the stabilizing ‘sail’ first seen in the AHPS II system of the 5 and 7 Series. Made of airbag-type material, this sail spans between the inflatable tube and the ceiling; it and the tube cover essentially all body-side and side-window areas likely to be impacted by a front occupant’s head.
Rollover Protection System (Convertible)
This system, which offers Convertible-specific protection, consists of:
• Two interdependent modules, one behind each rear seat, each with a mechanical actuator and a deployable rollbar
• A highly sophisticated rollover sensor/control module.
• A g-sensor to detect the vehicle’s becoming airborne, also in the control module.
If either sensor system is triggered, the rollbars are deployed upward by powerful springs in a fraction of a section, and locked into position to help sustain rollover forces. The rollbars and deployment modules are entirely of aluminum; each bar has a molded pad at its top. When retracted, they are concealed by the head restraints.
Options & accessories
Given the very extensive standard equipment on both 6 Series models, their option list is relatively short. Yet there are two appealing Packages here, two transmission alternatives at no extra cost, enhanced leather upholstery, two types of wood interior trim (also at no extra cost) and high-tech options that include Active Steering, Active Cruise Control, the Head-up Display, Logic7 premium stereo and new High Definition Radio.
This Package is the same for both models, though it includes changes for 2008.
19-in. wheels and performance tires. In place of the standard 18 x 8.0 front and 18 x 9.0 rear wheels with W-rated performance tires, the Sport Package specifies 19 x 8.5 front/19 x 9.0 rear wheels, with 245/40R-19 front / 275/35R-19 rear W-rated performance tires. For 2008, the 19-inch wheels are a new style, five-spoke design made of forged-aluminum. Forged aluminum boasts a higher strength-to-weight ratio than the previous cast-aluminum material.
High-gloss Shadowline exterior trim around the Coupe side windows, replacing the standard chrome-trimmed matte black. On the Convertible, Shadowline appears along the body’s beltline,
Front sport seats. BMW’s typical sport-seat contours, with more prominent side bolsters on the cushions and lower backrests, enhance lateral support; manually adjustable thigh support is also added.
Cold Weather Package
This Package includes heated front seats and steering wheel, and a ski bag that’s concealed behind centerpiece of rear seats and accessible through trunk. The heated front seats are also available as a stand-alone option.
Premium Sound Package
Reinstated for 2008, a revised Premium Sound Package adds several new features to the 650i Coupe and Convertible. The package includes:
Logic7 audio system
Available last year as a stand-alone option, the Logic7 system upgrades the entire audio system with –
• Increased audio power
• Even higher-caliber speakers, plus additional speakers total 13 in Coupe, 11 in Convertible, vs. standard 8
• Digital Sound Processing (DSP), adjusted along with other Logic 7 parameters on iDrive monitor
• Surround Sound simulation
6-disc CD changer
• Permits owners to view their audio options on the 6 Series iDrive display
USB adapter for iPod or MP3 player
• Integrates an iPod or MP3 player completely into the stereo system without
• losing the CD-player connection
• Allows access to any of the player’s features through the iDrive display
• Permits changing selection or volume via the 6 Series’ steering-wheel controls
• Fully compatible with both the optional High Definition Radio and standard
• Real Time Traffic Information, so both features are available with the Premium Sound Package.
More supple and luxurious than the already impressive Dakota leather, Pearl Leather adds a different texture and distinctive stitching to the 6 Series interior as well as two additional colors—Chateau Red and Saddle Brown. For 2008 this option not only broadens the choice of colors over the standard Black or Cream Beige, but also provides an upgrade to a full leather dashboard in black Nappa leather in addition to the sun blinds and center console previously featured.
6-speed Sport Automatic transmission
Available as a no-cost option.
This convenient system eliminates the need to activate a remote to unlock or lock the vehicle, or to insert it into the dash before starting the engine. The system recognizes the authorized driver as he or she approaches, and unlocks the vehicle; upon exit, the user merely presses a door handle to lock the vehicle.
Active Steering offers unique benefits:
• Widely variable steering ratio. Steering-wheel movements for parking maneuvers, U-turns and sharp corners are greatly reduced for amazing agility. With increasing vehicle speed, the steering becomes ‘slower,’ favoring stability over agility.
• Vehicle stabilization; in critical situations, can intervene to preserve stability. For example, if the driver applies the brakes while driving on a surface with uneven traction (one side of the road slick, the other grippy), Active Steering can recognize incipient instability and steer against it.
Active Cruise Control, Stop & Go
As an expansion of the standard DCC, the optional Active Cruise Control adds several features to that system, as well as new Stop & Go feature for ‘08. Active Cruise provides the ability to function in surrounding traffic, by allowing the driver to set a specific following distance from any vehicles ahead. When a car intrudes on that space, the system responds by slowing the car slightly until the designated following distance is again attained.
For 2008, Active Cruise Control also adds the convenience of Stop & Go, which allows operation even in dense city traffic. When the car slows to a stop, the system remains engaged, and requires only a press on the accelerator to resume the set speed. If traffic remains too congested for ACC to adhere to the selected speed, the system will simply adjust the speed appropriately to maintain a comfortable following distance. When traffic clears, Active Cruise Control will then resume the driver’s original speed setting.
ACC can also reduce vehicle speed when a curve is entered at too high a speed. Indeed, the new ACC ‘looks ahead’ into curves and can adjust vehicle speed accordingly. In addition, the interaction between ACC and GPS Navigation gives the ACC ‘knowledge’ of the particular road the vehicle is traveling. This significantly enhances ACC’s driver assistance in a wide variety of driving situations.
Even though the system relies upon the Navigation database to determine its operational characteristics, it is not too rigidly linked to the database. It was essential to develop this ‘smart’ capability because no matter how good the database, it can become outdated and may not be 100% correct even in the best case. Therefore the ACC continuously compares actual road conditions with those predicted by the database; the more discrepancies it detects, the less aggressive its intervention. Whatever automatic intervention occurs under such conditions, the driver can override it by stepping on the accelerator or brake pedal.
High Beam Assistant
The optional High Beam Assistant automatically toggles the headlights between high and low beam, depending on vehicle speed, light conditions and oncoming traffic. When the system is activated, a sensor on the 6 Series windshield monitors traffic and light conditions to determine if the high beams should be switched on. The system can be engaged automatically through the vehicle’s iDrive menu, or manually via the turn-signal stalk and headlight switch. An icon on the instrument panel alerts the driver whenever the Assistant is enabled. The high beams can also be turned off manually any time.
HUD displays driving information in color on a 6 x 3-in. field in the windshield, approximately in line with the end of the hood in the driver’s field of sight. Thus the driver can observe the information with essentially no diversion from the road ahead. Via the iDrive i-menu, the driver decides which information is to be displayed and the brightness of the display; the display can also be turned on and off.
The Night Vision system uses a thermal imaging camera mounted below the front bumper to help detect objects, using their heat signature, that are difficult for the human eye to identify in low light conditions. The thermal imaging camera covers a range of up to 300 meters or almost 1,000 feet ahead of the car.
The image generated by the system is transmitted to the Control Display monitor, which displays detected objects with increasing brightness as a function of the heat detected by the camera – making human beings and animals particularly conspicuous.
High Definition Radio
HD Radio provides higher-quality sound from terrestrial transmitters and requires no subscription. FM reception is of digital quality; AM achieves virtually the quality of current FM. HD Radio represents the greatest step forward in sound quality since the advent of FM broadcasting. Digital broadcasts also give more stable and dependable reception. The HD equipment receives both analog and digital signals.
Sirius Satellite Radio
An appealing path to entertainment, news and information channels. Sirius service requires a subscription fee after the first year of BMW ownership.
Wood interior trim
Because some customers prefer the more traditional luxury of genuine wood interior trim, BMW offers Light Maple wood and Dark Birch wood at no extra cost.
Heated front seats
Though included in the Cold Weather Package, heated front seats can also be ordered separately.
Available as a BMW center accessory, the Convertible wind deflector reduces drafts and turbulence around the driver and front passenger when the softtop is lowered. It stores handily in its pouch in the trunk, is relatively light (5.6 lb.), and is easily mounted. For rear passengers, a similar effect is achieved by raising the retractable rear window.
BMW Assist: extra security and convenience for the BMW owner
This comprehensive program of safety- and security-oriented customer services comes standard with every new 5 Series automobile.
The in-vehicle equipment for BMW Assist includes GPS technology and SOS/Assist functions in the front overhead console. Vehicle occupants may request emergency or other services simply by pressing a button; the BMW Assist system then transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW Assist Response Center. A response specialist will then speak with the occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and requested. Deployment of an airbag automatically activates BMW Assist as well.
BMW Assist Safety Services now includes a 4-year membership; after the initial period there is an annual fee. In addition to the safety-related benefits, subscribers to the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at extra cost) can call a toll-free 800 number to avail themselves of many BMW Assist Concierge services, from travel planning to dining reservations, shopping assistance and event tickets.
BMW Ultimate Service
Every 2008 BMW automobile and SAV comes standard with BMW Ultimate Service. This unique program includes 4 year, unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance, 4 year / 50,000 mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty and BMW Maintenance Program at no extra cost. All BMWs also include a 12-year/unlimited-mileage rust-perforation warranty.
The 6 Series Experience
The BMW Performance Center Driving School, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina near the BMW Manufacturing Corp., adds a special dimension to BMW’s traditional focus on the benefits of skilled driving. Included with every new 6 Series model, the School’s 6 Series Experience affords new 6 Series buyers and lessees the opportunity to hone their driving skills at the wheel of a 650i Coupe in a safe track environment.
Participants enjoy learning the 6 Series’ amazing handling features – Active Roll Stabilization, available Active Steering – in hands-on driving experience under the guidance of professional drivers at the Center and on famous Carolina back roads. BMW provides first-class accommodations, gourmet meals, transportation and instruction for the two-day program. More information is available through the Performance Center’s toll-free number, 888-345-4BMW (4269).
Performance with a conscience
BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. ROLLS-ROYCE Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand, the MINI brand, and the ROLLS-ROYCE brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all Z4 Roadster and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 82 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 ROLLS-ROYCE Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
Price this car:
MSRP: $76,600 – $83,700
Invoice: $70,650 – $77,185
Source: BMW Press Release