BMW 640i Convertible road test review
CONVERTIBLES are an interesting motoring genre.
The sight of passengers with wind in their hair seems to engender wild and varied emotions among passers-by.
Whether their feelings are borne from envy or spite, they often pigeon-hole drop-top drivers as posers or mid-life crisis suffers.
Lifting the lid has a tendency to attract attention, and this broad BMW certainly fits that mandate.
Imposing and bursting with road presence, it looks expensive…and it is. This derivative will cost you close to $200,000 once on the road.
But for your investment you get a four-seater that can drop the top with virtually no performance compromise.
The cabin is wide and oozes appeal with a brilliant colour screen positioned centrally, while the driver has instruments which are easy to read with a crisp display.
Across the expansive dash is a flowing shape which ups the pizzazz factor and makes it befitting of a plush grand tourer.
Internal space is reasonable for a convertible, and the rear two seats are usable, although adults taller than 165cm will find things somewhat claustrophobic.
Styling is not dynamically different from any other BMW; the layout is essentially basic yet either operate especially once you work out how to operate the iDrive system which gives you access to things such as the stereo and sat-nav, along with various trip and vehicle information.
The cabin is well insulated, there is very little road noise, even on the highway with the lid in place. With the roof dropped and speed there is limited wind intrusion, and the deflector which sits across the two back seats does help avoid air funnelling through.
On the road
It's a wonderfully powerful six-cylinder twin turbo engine.
The 640i always feels like there is plenty of muscle at the ready.
The official figures say it can sprint from 0-100kmh in just over five seconds …and it feels every bit as quick as that.
Partnered to an eight-speed box, the six-cylinder and the long-legged transmission work seamlessly.
On the highway it's hardly working at 110kmh, sitting below 2000rpm.
Despite being a convertible, the performance doesn't feel compromised in any way, and the big six is taut, with no hint of wobble, it's ultra responsive and sure-footed when the going gets bendy - everything you would expect from a BMW.
What do you get?
For your $193k the complimentary items include LED headlights which corner with steering inputs, soft-close doors which suck into place and don't require any hip nudging, wind deflector, surround view cameras, lane
change assist, leather trim, M Sport exhaust system, keyless start, 19-inch alloys, comfy sports seats with electric control and lumbar support, Harman Kardon sound system with digital radio, full bluetooth connectivity and five-star safety which includes a 360-view camera, head-up display and rollover protection.
Also worth a look are the Mercedes-Benz SL400 ($228,610), perhaps the Audi A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TFSI ($111,010), Jaguar F-Type Convertible V6S ($175,080) and the Porsche 911 3.4 Carrera ($208,200).
Our test saw the fuel consumption climb to around 10 litres for every 100km, but in fairness, we were fairly liberal with the accelerator.
Servicing can be expensive for newcomers to the premium segment, but BMWs have condition-based servicing which means the amount of maintenance is dependent on how hard and far you drive.
Dual cupholders feature in the console, while each door has a pocket which can accommodate a bottle laying down.
Boot space is good for a convertible, although you won't fit in any large suitcases but it's capable of some smaller bags; perfect for a weekend getaway.
BMW recognises the changes compared to the outgoing model are "subtle", with the focus on evolution rather than revolution.
There is no doubting this big Beemer is a head-turner. With the lid down it's arresting with an aura of indulgence.
Buyers can choose from four no-cost individual paint options (two shades of black, moonstone and blue) which are designed to offer three-dimensional depth that "fills them with life". Available in the special palette are two shades of black, moonstone and blue in addition to the range of existing metallic and non-metallic paintworks.
Convertibles aren't for everyone.
They are not traditionally the preserve of family motoring, but the 640i does a good job of balancing brute power, luxury and a level of practicality.
This drop-top's price dictates exclusivity, and for those with deep pockets who are looking to get the wind in their hair without losing any opulence, it doesn't get much better.
Model: BMW 640i Convertible.
Details: Four-seat rear-wheel drive luxury convertible.
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 235kW and peak torque of 450Nm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 7.9 litres/100km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 5.5 seconds.
Bottom line: $193,900.
What matters most
What we liked: Arresting good looks, powerful six-cylinder engine.
What we'd like to see: Sharper pricing, slightly less weighty feel - but it is a big offering.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. BMW has condition-based servicing, which means you only see the mechanic when required, but intervals are usually annual or 15,000km.
Driving experience 18/20
Features and equipment 18/20
Functionality and comfort 15/20
Value for money 16/20
Style and design 18/20