If there’s one lesson learned from our time spent at Leith BMW, it is that a 2014 650i xDrive Coupe will consume your thoughts. An introduction seems unable to be written because how can a person capture such exhilaration in words – and how can one think of anything else beyond that snarling exhaust note? Just meander through the lot, absorb the sights of such sharp character lines, and, eventually, the vehicle will choose you. And you are powerless in resisting it.
Consumption of thoughts. Powerless. Vehicle’s choice. This all appears to be pure hyperbole. It’s not. Our job isn’t contingent upon touting underwhelming characteristics or outright fallacies of a car’s appeal. We are asked to drive. And to write.
“Go ahead. Look at them and select the one you think would be most fun to drive,” said John Draz, our brand ambassador.
We did as suggested, peering into the windows of each 6-series. A cream white model sat stately at the end of the line – a classic beauty. While the elegance definitely appealed to our sensibilities, we wanted one that moved fast and looked impressive. Moving along the line, each car could’ve elicited a cat call, an excited whistle to indicate our interest. Tucked nearly closest to the curb, the 2014 BMW 650i xDrive Coupe waited sort of discretely like it knew we couldn’t resist.
“That’s not just powerful. That’s unmitigated power.”
From hood to tail, this car is sleek and overwhelmingly appealing. A high beltline and perfectly shaped character line work synergistically to form an almost voluptuous appearance. The kidney shaped dual grille and honeycomb front air dam are accentuated by two scowling headlamps – and they lead directly to an immense hood that houses an immaculate 4.4-liter V8 twin power turbo engine with direct injection. That’s not just powerful. That’s unmitigated power.
The trunk boasts a set of wrapping taillights that complete the athletic look of this car. Its inside is unexpectedly spacious with ample room for a set of golf clubs. With the trunk closed, the aerodynamics engineered by those glorious Bavarians is evident: such a gorgeous gradient that rises and falls from end to end.
John sat into the driver’s seat and fired the ignition. It sounded as if we had encroached upon a lion’s den, and the alpha issued its first warning. “This road … This road belongs to me.” And if a car could ever dominate the asphalt, this was the one.
Prior to delving into the specifics of the car’s manufacturing, John decided to begin the actual test drive with him behind the wheel. Why, you may ask? After driving the 650i xDrive coupe, those details would be easily forgotten. From the passenger’s seat, the car still looked incredibly athletic: the roof line curved just overhead and the hood stretched far beyond our fingertips. Before John took the car out of “Park,” it became readily apparent, in that moment, that this car could turn some heads.
“In this car, you will humble serpentine roads…”
The interior of the car reinforced the athletic look established by its exterior design. A solid black trim ran along the dashboard doors, and console – much of it Nappa leather. The leather portions were contrasted by a white stitching, and it embellished the sport feel. In addition to the stitching, wood-colored trim was subtly placed along the doors and clusters, which truly added a touch of class. This is a BMW, after all.
Suede lined the upper-half of the vehicle’s interior, including the safety beams throughout the cabin. While also dark, it offered a slight contrast to the leather. In this particular model, a panoramic sunroof – disguised by masterly design – nearly spans the width of the car and extends behind the pair of front seats. Even with it closed on this cold morning, the tinted view remained quite impressive.
As John prepared to shift the car into “Reverse,” we buckled our seatbelts and adjusted our posture in the seat. While the covering is Nappa leather, these aren’t buttery leather seats. BMW abandoned the geriatric understanding of luxury to which other brands desperately cling. No, these seats are a manifestation of Bavarian genius; a true understanding of what a sports performance car truly needs.
In this car, you will humble serpentine roads with the xDrive’s ability to tenaciously cling to curves. Passengers need seats that will hold them securely and comfortably in place for a spirited driving experience. Front passengers have the ability to adjust their positioning with sophisticated controls. It boasts great lumbar support, tilting, and leg extension, which can be saved in two memory sets.
While demonstrating the car’s abilities, John offered us full control of the sound system.
“What is the stock system in a BMW?” We asked.
“It sounds like it’s manufactured specifically for an orchestra conductor or band leader,” he began. “Can you guess what it is?”
Though there are many great companies that produce sound systems, one is synonymous with quality and clarity: Bang and Olufsen. Even increased to half the full volume, this system easily mirrors the robustness of sound at a live concert. The silver-colored speakers, all visible from a seated position, also complement the black interior.
While rounding the bends and cresting the hills on this exciting test-drive route, John casually pointed out the safety features of the car, such as the Active Driving Assist and Blind Spot Detection. There is an entire bevy of technology that works with the driver to avoid collisions, but we’ll leave it to the professionals like John Draz to review everything.
Inside the BMW is i-Drive, which is primarily controlled by a dial and a few buttons located on the middle console. A large, crisp LCD displays graphics that provide not only infotainment facts, but it provides feedback when you engage or disengage a safety feature – and a description of the feature accompanies it. BMW took meticulous care in designing the method of display for ease of use, and it makes for interactive and quick management. Other controls are located on the steering wheel and can access the infotainment in its full capacity.
“Sport Plus, please!”
With the first-half of the test drive completed, it was time to take control of the wheel. Two features immediately struck us as innovative: one purely a safety feature and the other a visual masterpiece.
The first is BMW’s heads-up display that projects pertinent travel information onto the windshield, including the speed limit, your current speed, and cruise control settings (when utilized). The numbers, while visible, do not obstruct your field of vision; in fact, they help ensure that you avert your eyes from the road ahead as seldom as possible.
The visual masterpiece is the set of digital meters in the instrument panel. With lustrous colors set against a black background, your information is delivered through innovative means that have a visually striking appeal. This was the first vehicle of any test drive that offered this feature, and it was supremely impressive.
To change gears, you place your thumb against a button located on the side of the shifter and merely flick the shifter forward or backward. So, with the car in “Drive,” it was time to see what this beauty could accomplish on the road with our own experience.
“Keep in mind that, as you drive, this car has several modes that adjust the steering and suspension,” John explained. “There’s Eco Pro, Sport, Sport Plus, Comfort, and Comfort Plus.”
Sport Plus, please!
We already mentioned how this 2014 BMW 650i xDrive Coupe could master the curves. With a little driving technique, the car barrels through with absolute confidence as the road straightens again. It remained flat and held the ground, substantiating the xDrive’s AWD capabilities.
Merging onto a highway has never been more fun, especially if the ramp is clear of any… obstructions. We are not promoting or condoning breaking the law, but as you approach a 70 MPH section of 540 down an on-ramp whilst preparing to join other motorists – well, you can white knuckle the steering wheel and give your heart rate a kick in the pants.
One of the more noteworthy characteristics of the driving experience is how seamless the car transitions through gears. Without paying particular attention by listening to the exhaust note, the shifts are barely perceived. The braking system of the 650i may be the car’s only component smoother than the acceleration. Despite its power and design, accelerating and decelerating require no acclimation as we’ve experienced in other brands.
The cabin is remarkably quiet thanks to German aerodynamic engineering. Through both slight vibration beneath your feet and an audible growl, the engine does make its presence known – reminding everyone in the cabin of its strength and performance. It does so without obstructing the ability to converse among all enjoying the ride.
In all, the 2014 BMW 650i xDrive Coupe governs the road. It is fun to accelerate, thrilling to take through bends, easy to brake, and commands the attention of other motorists. There exist many brands who make bold claims that fall short while driving their vehicles. Excellence, they say. Truth, they swear. Precision, they promise. After driving a BMW, you’ll quickly realize that the automaker does not need to swear or claim or guarantee in their slogans. It’s all found where it counts the most: behind the wheel.