Also optional on the new 6 Series is the Active Integral Steering option, as seen on the latest 7 Series. It’s a rear-wheel steering mechanism that turns the rear wheels contrary to the front wheels in low-speed situations to increase the car’s maneuverability—in a crowded parking lot or on a narrow street, say. At high speeds, driving speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the fronts for better overall tracking in bends and turns.

Out of the hills now and on to a long, downward slope, it was time to really lean into the throttle and let the turbos sing. (OK, maybe we were speeding a little bit.)

“Is that a Charger up ahead?” my partner abruptly asked, pointing. (The Federales drive Dodge Chargers.) So it was, and I was on the brakes: lightweight floating calipers clamping 13.7- and 13.6-inch discs front/rear, sized adequately in proportion to the 650i’s considerable girth. The brake system is central to the stability control (DSC) system, incorporating Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, fade compensation and, of course, ABS. So like the roll stabilization system, the brakes adapt themselves for optimal performance in every conceivable situation.

But I was late on the pedal, so even the consistent greatness of BMW brakes—they’ve literally saved our asses on other days, in other BMW cars—wasn’t enough to haul us down into the likely suggested realm of speed. And so whipped past the Fed, cringing, punching a 4,500-pound hole through the Baja atmosphere and trailing a long tail of Mexican dust. He never even looked up.

I’ve come to really like Mexico.

2012 BMW 650i Convertible

Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

4.4-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve, twin-turbocharged

Eight-speed automatic

Double wishbone front axle, multi-link rear, electronically controlled dampers

13.7/13.6-inch vented rotors (f/r)

Length/Width/Height (in.): 192.8/74.6/53.7
Wheelbase: 112.4 in.
Curb Weight: 4,531 lb

Performance Peak Power: 400 hp @ 5500 rpm
Peak Torque: 450 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.9 sec.
Top Speed: 130 mph (limited)
MSRP: $91,375

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