New & Used BMW M6: In Depth
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The BMW M6 traces its roots back to the 1980s, just like its M5 sibling. Unlike the sport-sedan icon, the M6 has been a more sporadic offering in the German automaker's lineup, appearing for three distinct generations: from 1983 to 1989, from 2005 to 2010, and from 2012 to the present.
MORE: Read our 2016 BMW 6-Series review for more details on the M6 lineup
The first generation of the M6, known to Bimmer aficionados as the E24, was the only model to offer a manual transmission until the most recent M6 added the option in 2013. This original M6 was widely praised for its aggressive "shark nose" styling, its handling, and its level of luxury equipment. Upgrades from the standard E24 6-Series included the M88/3 engine, rated at 256 horsepower in the U.S., a revised bodywork package including a larger front air dam and rear spoiler, BBS wheels, and M badges. Acceleration was a bit less than brisk by modern standards, with the M6 officially hitting 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, though contemporary tests often showed the car to be more in the low-six-second range.
For the second-generation E63/64 M6, which arrived after more than a decade's hiatus, BMW used the powertrain from the M5. This 500-horsepower, 5.0-liter S85 V-10 engine was matched with the SMG III semi-automatic single-clutch gearbox, enabling 0–60 mph times of 4.4 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. A cabriolet (convertible) version of the M6 was also offered in addition to the coupe.
The current M6 brings the car into its third generation. Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, the F12/F13 M6 was available from the start in both coupe and convertible forms, with the drop-top gaining about 110 pounds in addition to its folding roof. An M6 Gran Coupe was added later, adapting the big engine to BMW's four-door coupe. Despite the coupe's 4,200-plus-pound curb weight, the M6's potent 560-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine enables 0–60 mph runs in the low-four-second range and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph--which can be raised to 190 mph with the M Driver's Package. The dual-clutch, seven-speed M DCT transmission was standard in the first year, with a manual option added later..
While the second-generation M6 wasn't well-loved for its aesthetic, the latest M6 has regained some of the E24's appeal, though in an entirely different manner. Large, wide, and low-slung, the new M6's look is tough and completely modern, inside and out. Despite the overarching differences in shape and style, some of the original M6's "shark nose" theme bleeds through.
The BMW M6 Gran Coupe, a new four-door coupe variant of the M6, was introduced to the fold in 2013 as a 2014 model. Widely praised for its handsome looks and long, lean proportions, the M6 Gran Coupe shares its specification and most of its design details with the two-door coupe.
The F12 M6 coupe and F13 convertible saw a few updates for the 2014 model year. The six-speed manual became available on all M6 models, while M-branded carbon-ceramic brake rotors also were added to the options sheet. The carbon rotors are lighter than their steel counterparts and also resist fade better under heavy use, such as in a track situation.
For 2015, the entire 6-Series lineup goes in for a bit of a refresh, and that applies to the M6 as well. While the standard sedans, coupes, and convertibles get a more intense visual update, the M6 models skip the new front end and instead make do with new headlight elements. The interior has also been massaged a bit, and several infotainment features have been modified or added. Powertrains have been left alone, which is no problem concerning the M6.