2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe Review: Bringing 4-Door Sexy Back

Written May 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm by
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In select parts of the US, $112,000 can buy you a home.  Heck, it can buy you a home as well as a 1-year supply of diapers for your newborn.  Or it can buy you a relatively fully loaded BMW 650i Grand Coupe.

The 650i Gran Coupe is derived from BMW 5-series, much like its two door brother.  Yet, despite sporting the same wheelbase, it boasts a 4-inch longer body.   BMW bills it as a 4+1, provided the “+1″ is less than 5-feet tall and willing to straddle the center console with their knees.

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Nevertheless, there is no shortcoming or caveat that can negate the beauty of the Gran Coupe.  It’s a stunning car that is something of super model status amongst the sea of luxury sedans.  That is to say it’s slender yet bold, gregarious yet refined…you get the point.

My 650i Gran Coupe was outfitted with the company’s M package. Personally I think it’s an overpriced option, as it adds largely cosmetic enhancements.  But for those with a car budget north of $85,000, they probably won’t think twice about ticking this option. With it comes M badging that is slapped throughout the car, a set of larger wheels, a sportier steering wheel, slight modifications to the front fascia, and a higher top speed limiter.

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Crawling inside of the 650i Gran Coupe, to put it mildly, is an enjoyable and comforting experience.  If a car had to be a home away from home, this would be it.  From the stitching  to the supple leather, everything feels extremely well, and carefully crafted.  Unlike the S7, which I just drove for a week, BMW has made sure to not overdue the interior of this vehicle with excessive leather trim, or saddle the interior with unnecessary components, knobs, or switches.

My particular 650i had been adorned with a variety of cameras; two at either front wheel, one looking up and another looking back.  Combined they form an informative, yet somewhat head spinning view of the car – acclimation is required to truly leverage this camera setup when parking or entering tight spaces.

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Paddle shifters play complement to the car’s 445 horses of power, while the ZF-sourced eight-speed is flawless and could easily be mistaken for a dual-clutch box.  Stepping on the accelerator pedal, if patience is engaged  results in a jaw dropping take off for a car of this size.  However, patience is the key, as the accelerator pedal exudes an exceptional amount of lag that allowed me to demonstrate over and over again to my passengers that nothing would happen if suddenly pressed and depressed.  Needless to say, it’s not an experience that can be likened to that of the ActiveHybrid 5, which fires off like a bat out of hell.  Nonetheless, pedal feel, both gas and brake are commensurate with speed, or lack there of.

The suspension of the 650i Gran Coupe however does leave something to be desired.  445 horses is nothing to snuff at and by all accounts gets this 4-door coupe well underway.  Turning through corners, though, elicits a bit too much sway from left to right for my taste, even with the car in Sport or Sport+ mode.  It’s likely the target buyer of this car won’t notice, but compared to the S7, a car with a comparable amount of power and in a similar class, it’s far looser from side to side and all together less agile.

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Turbo lag, despite having twin turbos sucking down exhaust from a 4.4 liter V8, hasn’t been totally negated in the 650i Gran Coupe.  But that isn’t to say this car can’t shoot off a line like a bottle rocket.  Just expect to wind it up a bit more, where upon it will become the fire-breathing monster you so desire.

Interior creature comforts won’t disappoint in the 650i Gran Coupe.  Aside from the well-appointed leather seats and wooden inlays, BMW’s infotainment system, ConnectedDrive, is always a pleasure to tinker with and continues to be the best I’ve laid hands and eyes on.  I’m still not astounded by the Bang & Olufsen 16 speaker stereo system’s sound stag, despite a center channel that raises from the dash and never ceases to impress me..visually.

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Sheet metal wise, there are few cars that can compete with the Gran Coupe’s aesthetic.  Frameless windows rapidly pop in and out-of-place when the door is opened or closed, ensuring an exceptionally tight cabin.  Soft door closing, something that reeks of opulence is an option, and one that disgracefully isn’t default on this 650i Gran Coupe.  The rear seat can accommodate a 6-foot person, though I wouldn’t recommend anyone opt for that over the car’s front seats.  That said, compared to the S7 or A7 from Audi, it offers more head room, so if rear occupant space is a paramount concern, the 650i is the choice.

But despite boasting a somewhat heady amount of space in the back, the windshield of the 650i Gran Coupe is disconcertingly small.  So small that I could place a 12oz water bottle, a Fiji one, on the steering wheel (in the lowest position) and have it touch the windshield.  It’s a caveat, but one that brings the Gran Coupe’s sleek look.  If you can compromise on that, just keep in mind that the rearview mirror is largely in your face and unlike the driving position of Audi’s A7 or S7, which is quite good, the GC is more looks than utility.

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It’s tough not to gasp in awe at the Gran Coupe.  And one that has a twin turbo V8 attached to it.  Aesthetically the car leaves little to be desired.  The sloping lines that run from back to front qualify it as one of the best looking sedans available, and ones that only get better looking as time draws on.  BMW has once again out done themselves in terms of interior finishes, and windshield weirdness aside I’m gonna go as far as to say the GC is better looking than its 2-door sibling.

All said and done, my 650i Gran Coupe cost $111,995.  This includes a cold weather package ($1000), driver assistance package with HUD ($3800), luxury seating package ($2400), 20-inch wheels ($1300), premium sound system ($950), Bang & Olufsen sound system ($3700), adaptive drive ($2500), active steering ($1750), full LED headlights ($1900), BMW Apps ($250), and destination charge of $895.  Arguably, many of these could be left out, especially the cold weather package if you reside in a warm location, though you’d probably be hard press to find a setup that negates all of these options.


 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: Available Now
 
Price: Starting at $86,500 ($112k as tested)
 
Model: 650i Gran Coupé
 
Horsepower: 445hp
 
Transmission: 8-speed ZF
 
Article Type:
 
Brand:
 
Engine:
 
Body: ,
 
Year:
 

Positives


Gorgeous interior and exterior, rocket fast once wound up, 4-doors with a 2-door look

Negatives


Slight body roll even with Adaptive drive, pricey options, significant accelerator pedal delay


Bottom Line

If the BMW’s 650i Gran Coupe could talk, it would simply say to the competition: don’t hate the player, hate the game; few sedans can rival this car in looks, performance, finishes, and comfort.

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Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."


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