Convertible Faults

When the top is down, the 650i is truly magnificent. Very little wind intrudes on front passengers, and the car feels rigid Ч very rigid. Like a tank.

The cruising experience is terrific right until you have to put the top up. My wife and I took a short road trip to Milwaukee from Chicago, leaving the kids behind. Sounds like it should be an idyllic time, but the drive itself Ч over various concrete and asphalt highways Ч was loud. Noise from the shoddy surfaces was extreme, and the canvas top let in more noise from passing semi trucks than I thought it should. Jaguar's canvas-topped XK is an improvement over the 650i in this regard, as well.

Lowering or raising the powered top is as easy as pressing a button, and it can be initiated while moving at low speeds. I also appreciated the accompanying clear, audible alert, along with a visual cue on the gauge cluster, to indicate when the process was complete.

The convertible top's long "tails" make for interesting styling when in place, but they also create a huge blind spot. There is little visibility for backing out of parking spaces, which is why it's a good thing the 650i comes equipped with a variety of parking sensors. On the open road, I found the mirrors adequate enough for merging. The large glass rear window also helped with visibility while driving.

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