BMW 650i Convertible driven

* All-new version of BMWs luxury drop-top * 26.4mpg, 249g/km CO2 * On sale March, from £73,430...

BMW 650i Convertible driven

All of BMWs advertising centres around one key word joy. So, whats the joy of Six? Well, the joy of the old 6 Series Convertible was that it could whisk you across continents in style and luxury, and you'd get a sun tan along the way.

When this new version goes on sale in March, it'll need to provide all those abilities, plus more besides. It makes a cracking start on the style front, because the new car swaps bare-faced brashness for understated elegance. It delivers on the luxury front, too, because the gorgeous cabin combines luscious materials, chic styling and fastidious attention to detail.

Theres more space than before, too, with more leg- and headroom in the back. In truth, it's still a squeeze for adults, but kids will be fine on longer trips. The boot gives enough space for a few bags, too.

So, your cross-continental jaunt will be more luxurious than before, and you'll get to the end of it sooner. Two storming petrol engines are available at launch, a 3.0-litre turbo known as the 640i, and a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 badged 650i, both driven through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

We drove the latter, and with 401bhp and 443lb ft of readily available pull, it has proper country-munching pace. Brutal acceleration is never more than a dab of the throttle away, and the speed and smoothness of the gearchanges also helps towards the effortless pace.

All Sixes come with Drive Dynamic Control, which lets you choose between four driving modes ranging from Comfort to Sport+, and tailors the steering, gearbox and throttle accordingly. Our car also had the optional Adaptive Drive (costing £3400), which also adjusts the suspension.

Even in Comfort mode, the low-speed ride has a firm edge. However, things even out as you go faster, and it's superb when you're cruising. Bends are fun, too; its a big, heavy car, but the strong grip and tight body control means it still feels pretty agile. Our car also came with Integral Active Steering (another £1220), which turns all four wheels for crisper responses. However, while the steering feels fast and direct, it could do with more feel.

All in all, the 650i is a great touring convertible thats pretty generous on the joy front. However, with a pricetag of £73,430, joy doesn't exactly come cheap.

What Car? says

A top-dropping grand tourer that's highly desirable

Ivan Aistrop