Timm's BMW E64 650i SPORT INDIVIDUAL
Full BMW Service History 2007 E64 650ci 6-Series V8 4.8Ltr
This car has the usual E64 refinements plus:
Automatic Xenon Lights Heated Sports Seats Voice Control Professional Navigation
High Gloss Shadowline Advanced Park Distance Control Headlight Cleaning System LA Star Spoke 19" Alloys
This is my first 6-Series - it took a couple of years to find as, in the UK at least, only a tiny percentage of 6-Series are manufactured with an exterior colour rather than silver, grey or black. Most of the remainder were light blue which I didn't fancy either. The other criteria was that I didn't want a pre-facelift model as I felt the back of the car looked just too big and lumpy, whereas the facelift model had a re-designed rear end with the third brake light on the top edge of the boot.
What I didn't realise at the time was that the convertible E64 had a much better back end even on the pre-facelift models. And, although I wasn't looking for a convertible it was financially more viable to find a pre-facelift convertible. So, when this one appeared on Autotrader I put a deposit down on it straight away and then arranged to view it at the weekend.
So, off we went in a taxi to Swindon and the first sight of the car was enough to make the long wait worth it, the Barberarot Metallic finish was stunning under the showroom lights. A quick test-drive didn't reveal any problems and the convertible hood was pretty impressive in the way it raised and lowered. A few quid lighter and off we trundled home, quickly realising that moving the roof at anything over 10 MPH was a 'bad idea'.
Barberarot Metallic is pretty close to Mora Metallic, it can look brown in poor light, but in direct sunlight it comes alive with red and blue highlights, but, it takes a lot of polishing to keep it looking good. The interior is Dakota Creambeige, fortunately with less emphasis on the beige, quite similar to the Champagne Nappa that is fitted to my current 840ci - the main difference seeming to be that the Dakota leather is more robust.
The only problems so far was on the second day of ownership when the convertible top failed closed and the A/C started frying my face even when set to a cool setting. This was due to the ambient sensor wiring failing where it had been bodged with clip-on wire joiners. The convertible top would not move because the system thought that the low ambient temperature (showing -40C) would be damaging to the canvas. I fixed the wiring myself rather than taking it back to the garage, and they kindly paid my road tax!
The decision to go with a convertible rather than a coupe was driven by financial constraints and the availability of either in a decent colour. I was initially after the coupe to carry on the feel of the E31 8-Series - but, what I only realised when a friend bought an E63 coupe around for me to have a look at, was that the E63 isn't really a coupe inasmuch as the rear windows don't drop and there is a permanent B-pillar.
Right, enough about what it looks like, is it any better than an 8-Series or an E38 7-Series? Better is rather subjective, there is no doubt that the E64 is far technologically advanced over those models, it rides better, it's quieter, it goes faster and uses less petrol doing it. But better? No, not really, especially in comparison with the 840ci. There's something about the styling of the older cars that is timeless, and the introduction of IDrive lost the aircraft-cockpit feel of newer cars with the deletion of most of the analogue controls that festooned the interior.
At least the climate control panel is still there, that's got a few buttons to press and a few knobs to twiddle, but gone are the array of radio and MID buttons. Everything else is controlled via the IDrive. And there is a huge array of things to adjust. Where the 'Key Memory' functions were only programmable via diagnostics on the E38 and not available at all on the E31, these, such as seat position, climate control settings and many others can be allocated to a single key via the IDrive settings.
It's been a couple of months of ownership now and I'm slowly getting used to the E64, it's a lively car and a great drive. I was expecting E38 handling, but the handling is even better than the E31 - possibly because the E31 is 16 years old, but more likely to be because the E64 is on the same chassis as the M6! The car does seem to have a little difficulty in the middle ground though, when not lazily trundling around or thrashing it in Sport mode - The adaptive gearbox and dynamic throttle control gets a bit over excited when a good poke of the throttle is given - unlike the E38 which holds the gears a little longer and then calms down, the E64 stays very excited for a lot longer. And when it is excited, the gear changes are fast and the throttle control pretty coarse, loads of engine braking and lightening acceleration - a bit too harsh until it calms down again.
Well, summer's done now, and even in the cold weather we are still using the E64 - the addition of the OEM wind-deflector makes open-top driving sustainable no matter what the temperature, as long as it doesn't rain. The only problem has been awful gear changes, especially into 6th after giving it a bit of welly. Fortunately, my friend was going through the same problem on his E63 - he tried a few things, plugs, coils, transmission service - and last, re-setting the gearbox adaptations, and that did the trick.
So, out came the INPA diagnostics, a quick reset of adaptations and, well, perfect! At last, Sport mode is fun to use and the gear changes are still super-fast but they don't clout into gear like they used to. So, after six-months of ownership the car has lived up to expectations and more - it is a great car. But, if I had to get rid of either of my cars - this would still go before the 840ci.