If we may, a hypothetical situation for the reader: Say a family of ducks lives in your yard. And when the neighbor kid mows your lawn, he runs over a duckling. You’d complain, right? And if he kept doing it, you’d continue to complain until he finally stopped? (For the purposes of this illustration, you must retain his services.) We ask because we realize we’re repeating ourselves, but the reader must understand that BMW has been dicing some ducks. We cried foul after the company fitted the 5-series with a new electric power-steering system, as it deprives the driver of any feel through that most important of automotive interfaces. Now BMW has fitted the 6er with this system. It’s as if there were a rogue faction within the Bayerische Motoren Werke that is trying to scuttle the mother ship. We’re particularly disappointed because the setup otherwise has everything we want in really good steering: immediacy and satisfying weight. The steering effort is variable via the 6’s standard driving-dynamics-control system, but none of the settings (comfort, normal, sport, or sport plus) results in any communication. Fortunately, although driving dynamics control adjusts the damping, too, the Bavarians have yet to make an electric power chassis. Even if you can’t feel what the front tires are doing, this 4569-pound convertible’s balance will widen eyes and restore some of the confidence sapped by the lifeless tiller. At the ragged edge, though, this ragtop loses its poise a bit, getting a little squirrelly. After the skidpad test—in which the 650i scored an impressive 0.89 g—our test driver called it a “drift machine.” A 167-foot stop from 70 mph also nurses courage, as does the brake pedal’s firm, predictable feel. Its travel might be long for some, but it’s hard to fault BMW for making the brakes easy to modulate. Chasing Audi It’s also difficult to find fault with the 650i’s rakish new skin or its step-above interior. The car tested here had $2150 in interior upgrades—$1500 for stitched-leather trim and ventilated front seats; $650 for ceramic rings on the radio, HVAC, and iDrive controls—that we heartily endorse. This cabin design surpasses almost any recent BMW’s and challenges some of Audi’s better designs of late, although violent cowl shake will test the fortitude of its adhesives as the years pass. This convertible might have only two doors, but at 192.8 inches long, the 6-series is a large car, and there is a large piece of cloth where once there was far-more-rigid metal. Like most modern luxury convertibles, the 650i allows the driver to raise and lower the top while in motion. This can be done at speeds up to 25 mph, meaning you can cruise the boulevard all night with the top waving at passersby, but any owner with any sense of mechanical sympathy is going to do this only once or twice. That large top becomes a large sail halfway through the process, and even if BMW endorses it and the motors exhibit no sign of strain, the act of raising that sail into a 25-mph wind feels unkind. Hauling Kegs and Keisters Should the 6-series owner ever find himself pressed into keg-hauling duty—when the groom asks for a favor the day before his wedding, we try to oblige—he will be glad he opted for the convertible. With the top stowed, we easily hefted two half-barrels into the back seat. Be careful setting those kegs on the light-tan leather, though. We swaddled our babies in blankets to keep smudges off the seats and belts. What the 650i will haul more often than kegs is keister. Just 4.7 seconds pass between standstill and 60 mph, with 11 stopwatch ticks separating stationary from triple digits and 13.1 between the Christmas tree and a trap speed of 110 mph. BMW’s brilliant twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 bellows less boisterously here than in the X5 and X6, but we suppose that makes sense. The X6 in particular is a far more insane concept than the 650i—really, who thought BMW needed a 400-hp off-road “coupe”?—and insanity feeds on savagery. I’m Kind of a Big Deal Eventually, BMW will sell its lauded straight-six beneath the long hood of the 6-series in the U.S., but what’s the point of flaunting your existence in a $90,000-plus convertible if you don’t have the biggest, baddest engine? Actually, with the six, it might be a $75,000 or so convertible, which isn’t going to make nearly the impression on those people who refuse to look at you at stoplights. Heck, they might even think themselves worthy of eye contact. Perhaps to ensure a sufficiently huffy price, the car tested here piled on nearly every high-dollar option package available. The only items not on the list were the $2600 night-vision system and the $1750 active steering. Present and for the accountants were the $1800 upgraded audio system with an iPod/USB adapter, the active roll stabilization’s hydraulic anti-roll bars ($2000), the $750 Cold Weather package, and the aforementioned interior upgrades. We’d skip the $3900 worth of nanny tech in the Driver Assistance package, as well as the $1300 20-inch wheels—the convertible could use the extra bit of cushion provided by 19-inch wheels and accompanying higher-profile tires. Aside from the steering, price might be the 650i’s one other flaw: $105,025 would buy a lot of new ducks—or maybe a lawn mower with a duck-avoidance package.