AM Online

Driven: BMW 630i



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The 630i looks superb, with sweeping lines and great panel fit. The interior is opulent, and has a high quality feel to it (no longer a given with the BMW badge).

Recline in the luxurious leather seats and stretch your legs out – there is plenty of room for the driver and front passenger, although the rear seats are only for kids or very small adults: rugby players would feel more comfortable in a scrum that squashed up next to each other in the back.

The layout is neat and clutter-free – no unnecessary cup holders everywhere you look. The whole effect is one of understated class.

Stereo, SatNav, phone and heating/air con are all controlled by BMW’s controversial iDrive system, which has a dial conveniently located on the centre console. It takes a while to get used to, but once mastered presents no problem to the driver.

A push button start is located to the right of the steering wheel, but there is no roar to welcome you once this is pressed; there is not enough aural stimulation from the twin rear pipes.

This is the biggest disappointment with the 630i. Yes, the performance is there, but everything feels watered down and a little too, well, genteel. The only sound effects will be from your own lips, as you throw the rear-wheel drive car into corners, imagining cardboard boxes being blasted out of the way.

The car looks exciting, it promises excitement, but it doesn’t deliver it. Instead, you get a very capable car that whizzes around without drawing attention to itself. When you pay c£50,000 for a car, you really want it to be heard coming.

Fitted to our test car was a £925 head-up display. This wonderful little toy projects information such as the current speed and limited navigational information into the driver’s field of vision. This is a really fun tool, which also offers safety aspects: you don’t have to move your eyes from the road to see how fast you are passing a Gatso.

Our test car had £6,790-worth of optional extras on it, which takes it into the price bracket of the bigger-engined 650i – this is where I would put my money.

Price: £46,285 (£53,075 as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre petrol; 258bhp @ 6,600rpm; 221lb ft @ 2,500rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 6.5sec; top speed: 155mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Efficiency: 31.4mpg (combined); 216g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £22,250 (34%)
Rivals: Mercedes-Benz CL, Jaguar XK

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