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Original MSRP: $76,600 - $83,700
MPG: 15 City / 22 Hwy
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2008 BMW 6-Series Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 BMW 6-Series was new.

Characterized by a powerful 360-horsepower V8 engine, the 2008 BMW 650i coupe offers a satisfying level of performance. Still, some competitors provide a smoother ride and better overall road feel. Consequently, Car and Driver describes the 6-Series as "An Above-Average Driving Machine, but Not Really the Ultimate."

Acceleration and Power

The 650i coupe is powered by a 4.8-liter V8 engine that makes 360 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 360 pound-feet of torque at 3,400 rpm -- which, according to Consumer Guide, is "superb power and response for most any situation." In fact, BMW reports that the 6-Series coupe has a top speed of 150 miles per hour (mph) and can travel from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. "However, overcoming two-ton mass simply requires more thrust, so even more impressive than the BMW's acceleration numbers is the 650i's 0.92-g skidpad grip, better by 0.05 g than the last M6 we tested and about what you'd get if you chained two Lotus Elises together to get a package with similar weight and interior space but likely more curb appeal," writes Car and Driver. Kelley Blue Book adds that "the engine emits a beautifully rich and throaty roar at full throttle."

Standard on the 2008 650i coupe is a six-speed manual transmission with Dynamic Driving Control (Sport Button), which activates the vehicle's Sport driving mode, meaning quicker engine responses and reduced power-steering assist. According to Car and Driver: "The clutch and the shifter are Jenny Craig-lite, almost too much so for a few of our test drivers, and as perfectly matched to the smooth 4.8-liter V-8 as golden sponge cake is to light, creamy filling. But when the road starts turning, things get flabby." Also available is a sport automatic transmission with manual shift paddles.

The 650i coupe requires unleaded premium gasoline and has an Environmental Protection Agency-rated city/highway fuel economy of 15/22 miles per gallon (mpg) with a manual transmission and15/23 mpg with an automatic.

Handling and Braking

Standard on the 6-Series coupe is vehicle-speed-sensitive, variable-assist (Servotronic), variable-ratio, rack-and-pinion power steering. Drivers seeking sharper handling may opt for an Active Steering system -- which, according to Forbes, "allows for lightening-quick turns in city driving, but it lends an artificial feel to the steering system that purists might no like."

While the 650i's suspension configuration is stiff, most critics report that it's not harsh enough to detract from its appeal. "Although the suspension is tuned more for control than pure comfort, the 650i is still a first-rate cruiser," says Kelley Blue Book. Cars.com explains: "The suspensions are sufficiently taut, and occupants may experience a jittery sensation while traversing certain surfaces. This excess motion doesn't really result in a harsh ride, and it's a small price to pay for such superior control." Even so, Consumer Guide recommends to "try before you buy" because it is "jiggly and thumpy vs. many class rivals" and "borderline harsh." The 650i coupe features a sport suspension with aluminum front and rear subframes, as well as twin-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers.

The 2008 650i coupe is outfitted with electro-hydraulic four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, as well as Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Brake Fade Compensation, and Brake Stand-by -- which anticipates hard braking every time a driver suddenly jerks his/her foot off the gas pedal, and brings the brake pads closer to the rotors accordingly in order to prepare for quick stop.

Additional handling aids include Active Roll Stabilization and Traction Control (TC), and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) -- the last of which adjusts braking and acceleration in order to maintain control over slippery surfaces.

Review Last Updated: 2/27/09

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