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2012 BMW 650i (photos)

BMW's new generation 6-series employs exceptional technology, giving the car efficient power, excellent handling, and cutting-edge cabin electronics.

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Wayne Cunningham
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It has been a long time coming, but BMW finally updated its 6-series, changing the body style and giving it all the latest technology, from a powerful and efficient engine to app integration.

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The exterior design better echoes the original 6-series, with clean lines down the sides and a better-looking trunk lid. The front has the shorter grille of recent BMW models.

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LED headlights are an option on the 650i.

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The engine is common to BMW's other big cars, a 4.4-liter V-8 with direct injection and two twin-scroll turbos. It produces 407 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.

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Although the front seats are very comfortable, the rear seat is practically unusable. Think of it as a padded luggage shelf.

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A dynamic suspension helps counteract centrifugal forces during hard cornering, and can be set for comfort.

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Although the trunk is not huge, the wide opening lid makes access easy.

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BMW's rear-view camera is hidden under the badge, popping out only when in use.

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The interior is very lush, in keeping with BMW's luxury image.

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Unlike its lower-end cars, BMW makes many tech features, such as navigation, standard in the 650i.

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One neat feature are these winged headrests, with adjustable plates that cup your head.

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The 650i uses a very well-tuned electric power steering system, giving the car very neutral handling.

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Buttons integrated with the steering-wheel spokes control voice command, the phone system, and the stereo.

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BMW uses very elegant-looking gauges, and shows its efficiency gauge at the bottom of the tachometer.

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The transmission is an eight-speed automatic with Sport and Manual modes.

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A rocker switch lets you cycle through Sport plus, Sport, Comfort, and Comfort plus modes. The camera button activates a front split-view camera, useful for nosing out of parking garages.

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The iDrive controller remains a standard for BMW's cabin electronics control.

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This row of buttons activates a variety of driver assistance features, such as night vision and lane-departure warnings.

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The heads-up display shows speed and route guidance, using multiple colors.

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The main menu is very simple and lets you select from a variety of cabin-tech functions.

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The navigation system stores its maps on a hard drive, and renders buildings in 3D.

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Address entry with the iDrive controller can be a little tedious; you have to use a rotary controller to select letters.

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BMW's phone system includes the ability to read text messages, but it only works with a few handsets.

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Along with the CD player and the onboard hard drive, the 650i lets you plug in various portable devices for audio.

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Playing music from an iPod, the playback screen shows album art.

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The interface for MOG online music connectivity shows album art and a number of features for selecting music, such as editors' picks and new releases.

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You can plug an iPhone 4 or 4S into this special cradle, or use the white iPhone cable with the USB port in the console.

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With the Bang & Olufsen audio system, BMW allows a fine degree of music tuning, from simple treble and bass sliders to a seven-band equalizer.

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The Bang & Olufsen audio system has 1,200 watts of amplification and 16 speakers.

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BMW's ConnectedDrive app only works on iPhones, but enables some very cool features, from calendar integration to Twitter and Facebook.

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The different apps are available under the ConnectedDrive menu. BMW can add more app functionality through its ConnectedDrive app.

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The calendar integration shows your appointments from the iPhone calendar on the car's LCD.

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The Facebook integration shows your news feed.

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When selecting an individual news feed item, you can like it and have the car read it out loud.

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