2012 BMW 6-Series Convertible: First Drive

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If you've never been to the Los Cabos region of the southern Baja California peninsula, you should start making plans now. While you're at it, try to find a way to secure a 2012 BMW 650i Convertible to drive while you're there.

I make the recommendation based on my recent trip to drive the car at the North American launch event, thrown by BMW to show the car in the best light possible. While driving from San Jose del Cabo to La Paz, I realized: it was a risky choice to pick this particular resort area and its surrounding environs.

Not because of Mexico's much-discussed, sometimes justified reputation for danger, nor because the resort itself had any failings--it was almost embarrassingly luxurious--but because few places in the world so dramatically highlight the gap between the rich and the poor, and with so sharp a dividing line, as Baja. Yet I shrug off, at least temporarily, the guilt this knowledge brings. How can I be so callous?

Perhaps because I'm a typical first-worlder, desensitized to opulence and blind to the stark, brutal lives of the truly poor. Or perhaps because there are 407 twin-turbocharged horses and 443 pound-feet of torque under my right foot, eagerly stripping away all such deep and troubling thoughts at every corner. If it's a sin to lose oneself or one's human concern in such simple joys, I'm damned.

The 2012 650i delivers these joys in abundance, and with a refinement that's just subtle enough to live with. Each upshift is met with a muted five-beat thrump from the exhaust, each downshift with a clean rev-matched bark. Slip out of sport manual mode and let the eight-speed auto do the work, and you'll find yourself enjoying scenery you might have missed on a more intense drive while still devouring tarmac with Langolier-like pace and implacability.

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