New hardcore BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible shown in New York
By Vincent Rice
April 17, 2012
BMW’s 6 Series has always been its “golf club" car. A louche boulevardier aiming to impress more than a 3 Series but still with pretensions to sportiness. The range lost its way during the Chris Bangle design era, turning into a large and ugly beast that offended one’s eye and social sensibilities equally. The latest 6 is a much improved creature and BMW clearly had faith enough to unleash a new M variant after a couple of year’s hiatus. As you can see from the pictures, BMW has gone all-in on the aggressive styling. Has the M6 gone hardcore?
OK, maybe not hardcore - what’s happening is this. Just as Mercedes has full-on AMG vehicles and AMG-styled vehicles, BMW intends to do the same with the M badge. This means that the full “M” cars must live up to their billing. Having just produced two of the best driver's cars on the planet - the M5 and the 1M - the M6 really has to perform whilst providing all the comfort and hi-tech that the 6 Series buyer expects.
At the heart of it is the magnificent 4.4 liter twin turbo V8, inherited from the M5, mated to a 7-speed double-clutch transmission and an active differential driving the rear wheels. The four scrolls of the two twin-turbos are phased relative to each other, resulting in virtually no lag under acceleration.
With a rev limit of 7200 rpm, the engine produces a remarkable 560 bhp (412 kW) and a maximum torque of 500 lb-ft (680Nm). These big numbers result in a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time of 4.2 seconds for the Coupe, with the Convertible taking a tenth of a second longer. Top speed is of course limited to 155 mph (250 km/h), but purchase of the “Driver’s Pack” will get that moved up to 186 mph (300 km/h)
The chassis is specific to the car and includes specially forged front and rear axle elements. Naturally there are active dampers and a bunch of three-letter acronyms to denote intelligent stability and braking systems. Comfort, throttle and steering settings are all independently selectable from the cockpit and programmable into a pair of personal “M” buttons.
The cockpit itself is of course beautifully trimmed in leather, aluminum and carbon-fiber and designed in the usual sweeping driver-centric BMW manner.
Exterior changes over the standard 6 Series are pretty easy to spot. A black-grilled front valance with huge radiator, brake cooling ducts and a carbon-fiber splitter sweeps back over some seriously pumped wheel arches. The Coupe design is particularly successful with racing-inspired carbon-fiber “double-hump” roof line. The only external area that still grates is the rear trunk and fender treatment. No doubt the combination of safety laws and having to be able to carry two golf bags.
Still, I think this is the best-looking 6 Series for a decade and the experience of the M5 suggests that it will be an entertaining drive. There’s no getting around it - BMW do make some very good cars. Available mid year.