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650i Gran Coupe merits 'rich' 4th in BMW lineup

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2013 BMW 650i xDrive Gran Coupe

• EPA fuel economy rating: 16 mpg city/24 highway/19 combined. Premium gasoline

• Base price, base model: $76,500

• Base price, model tested: $90,200

• Price as tested: $114,150

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By Mark Phelan
Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 9:27 p.m.
 

I'm as shallow as the next guy, but at some point even I have to look beyond surface appearances.

I reached that point reading the sticker price of the 2013 BMW 650i xDrive Gran Coupe. The slinky four-door sedan is exceptionally lovely, but the price stings, and BMW's own lineup offers better alternatives.

On my scorecard, the 650i xDrive Gran Coupe finishes fourth in the BMW showroom, behind the three less-expensive and more accommodating four-door BMWs with essentially the same drivetrain and architecture: the 550i xDrive, 550i GT xDrive and 750i xDrive.

The 650i xDrive Gran Coupe is an exercise in style: a larger and slightly more practical version of the 6-series two-door.

Prices for the 6-series Gran Coupe start at $76,500 for a rear-drive 640i with a 315-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six. All 6-series Gran Coupes have an eight-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the 650i gets you a 445-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 for $87,200. Adding all-wheel drive raises the price to $90,200 for a 650i xDrive Gran Coupe.

I tested a 650i xDrive that stickered at $114,150. It boasted a load of options including oak trim, leather dashboard; 20-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, Bang & Olufsen audio and more. All prices exclude destination charges.

BMW intends the 650i xDrive Gran Coupe to compete with high-style, all-wheel drive four-doors like the Audi S7, Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 4Matic and Porsche Panamera 4S.

The 650i xDrive Gran Coupe's base price is higher than the Audi and Mercedes, but lower than the Porsche. BMW doesn't recognize the intramural competition with its own other cars, but since I've opened that door, the 650i xDrive's base price is higher than the three four-doors I've singled out, and the two-door 650i xDrive coupe.

The Gran Coupe has a roomy and comfortable front seat. Rear headroom is limited. Small rear-door openings make it hard to get in and out. The trunk is on the small side among large luxury sedans. The passenger compartment is smaller than the other four-door BMWs, despite the fact that the Gran Coupe is longer than the 5-series sedan and 5 GT.

The optional seats are very comfortable, but several controls could be better. BMW's joystick-style shifter never felt natural. The combination of voice recognition and BMW's iDrive rotary controller is less intuitive than some competitors' systems.

The gauges are big and clear, including the head-up display. The power sunroof tilts but does not open fully, because sliding back all the way would disrupt the sleek roofline.

— The Detroit Free Press

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