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Our Cars: BMW 650i Sport

2 months ago

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Richard Bremner | Journalist


13 February 2024

We can see it in the distance – a slate-grey squall threatening the small plain we will soon be driving across. Or more specifically, my wife will be driving across, her turn at the wheel of our 2005 BMW 650i Sport, taking us from a hotel in the Pyrenees to the small seaside town near Barcelona where my brother lives. That’s the aim, anyway.

Our £5500 V8 steed has been faultless so far on this high mileage holiday, although a ferry trip means that we’ve merely driven to Portsmouth and from Bilbao to south of the Pyrenees. Say, 300 miles. Not much of an endurance trial so far then. And there are reasons for doubt. Last time I’d taken this BMW abroad, heavy rain had halted it, 4.8-litres worth of V8 powering down as if someone had thrown a switch. That was on a French autoroute slip road, making the outage slightly less alarming, worry soon turning to surprise when I was immediately able to restart it. Weirdly, it didn’t serve any more unscheduled stops during this adventure to the Le Mans Classic, and I mentally parked the problem out of sight.

The rain is torrential when the BMW powers down again. We steer onto a hard shoulder only wide enough for a Renault Twizy, leaving half the BMW exposed to the inside lane, a surprising number of big trucks bearing down on it in a haze of spray. Flashing hazard lights don’t feel like much of a defence. But, the car restarts and drives 100 metres before dying again. Another attempt, it fires and with thanks to the travel gods, we see an exit slip road and manage to get onto it and out of the way of the thundering trucks. The slip leads to a roundabout beneath the motorway, where we pull over out of the rain.

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