All the changes to the car’s looks, both inside and out, are gentle rather than dramatic; they’re there to improve the aesthetics, functionality, or both.
For example, along with new bumpers that now feature a full-width air intake at the front, there’s also a new kidney grille that has nine (instead of the previous 10) vertical bars. Each is angled sharply at the top, giving the grille an interesting three-dimensional effect, but the bigger openings are also functional and aid cooling.
Inside, there’s a standard leather-covered dash with contrast stitching and a new high-gloss centre console finisher that surrounds the climate and audio controls. This is an example of simple aesthetic detailing, designed to enhance an interior that needs to appeal to well-heeled buyers, used to high-quality materials and exacting design.
It’s a charming place to sit. As a driver or passenger, you feel ensconced and enveloped by the high dash and swooping centre console, but it’s not cramped and always comfortable, even if you are over 6ft tall.
BMW Connect is now standard. It uses an embedded 4G SIM card to give access to emergency assistance. However, you can add additional apps for live traffic reports, music streaming and, perhaps more fitting in the 6 Series, a concierge service. You can access this throughout Europe and use it for anything from booking a hotel to finding an out-of-hours pharmacy.
LED headlights are standard, but now you can upgrade to adaptive units that can be left on high beam and create dark zones to avoid dazzling other drivers. There’s also Driving Assistant Plus, which will intervene and stop the car from speeds of up to 37mph if it decides you are going to crash.
Of course, all this finery would be nothing without a decent engine. The 650i uses a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 that now transmits 444hp to the rear wheels, via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It makes a mellifluous eight-cylinder bellow as it exhales through a switchable sports exhaust and provides plenty of thrust; 0-62mph is dispatched in just 4.6sec.
In town, there's a sudden shove of low-down torque that can make it tricky to pull away smoothly. However, point the 650i down a snaking B-road and it will effortlessly maintain pace with just a hint of throttle, or build speed alarmingly quickly if you hoof it.
While it’s amazingly adept on fast sweepers, if the road narrows and tightens you will begin to notice the 650i’s hefty size and weight. Even so, it changes direction well, thanks in part to meaty and accurate steering – although it lacks feedback – and an element of rear-wheel steer.