Features

Like most up-level BMWs these days, the 650i can be equipped with a dizzying array of technological wizardry. Ours came equipped with an optional lane departure warning and correction system, adaptive cruise control, and night vision with pedestrian detection to help drivers see better on dark roads.

The only piece of optional technology that I would choose to add to my 650i Ч with its already high starting price Ч would be the revised head-up display.

Few automakers offer the feature Ч GM is the most notable other one Ч but I find it extremely useful. Besides displaying the current speed in the windshield using a digital projection, it also offers route information from the navigation system, which is standard. Unlike in previous BMWs Ч including the current X5 SUV Ч this route information is detailed and in color.

I used it on the way home from Milwaukee, and it quickly became my favorite guidance device yet.

While navigation is standard, the head-up display is part of a $3,900 package that includes the lane departure system, blindspot detection, top-view cameras and an automatic parking feature. Night vision is an extra $2,600. My test car also had a premium sound package that added $1,800 to the price, and a $1,500 luxury seating package with ventilated front seats that automatically adjust when cornering, meaning the seat's bolsters move inward to hug the driver during turns. All told, our 650i test car was $104,225.

That 2011 Jaguar XKR I like so much starts at $102,125, but it comes with ventilated seats, navigation and a premium Bowers & Wilkins stereo. There's no night vision, and it lacks some of the BMW's other gadgetry, but it's more fun to drive and live with.

    See also:

    Opening
    ► Press the switch to the resistance point. The window opens while the switch is held. ► Press the switch beyond the resistance point. The window opens automatically. Pre ...

    Functional requirements
    ► There are no external sources of interference nearby. ► To lock the vehicle, the remote control must be located outside of the vehicle. ► The next unlocking and locking cycle i ...

    Aerodynamic optimisation of underside panelling
    As the excellent drag coefficient (cd = 0.26) would suggest, the aerodynamics of the new BMW 3-Series have been intensively honed in a state-of-the-art wind tunnel. The optimised aerodynamics also ...