The Car Connection BMW M6 Overview
The BMW M6 is a high powered coupe, coupe, sedan, or convertible that has rotated in and out of the automaker's lineup for years.
The M6 has its origins in the 1980s, as does its M5 sibling. However, while the M5 has been a constant in the BMW lineup, the M6 has been sold more sporadically. It's appeared in the U.S. lineup in three distinct generations: from 1983 to 1989, from 2005 to 2010, and from 2012 to the present.
In 2018, BMW dropped the coupe and only offered the M6 in convertible and Gran Coupe body styles. The writing may be on the wall for the 6-Series in general; the automaker is preparing a long-legged two-door coupe in the form of the 8-Series, which may bow sometime in 2018.
MORE: Read our 2018 BMW M6 review
The new BMW M6
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 more than 4,200-pound curb weight, the M6's potent 560-hp, 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, 7-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 6-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 was refreshed, and that applied to the M6 as well. While the standard sedans, coupes, and convertibles received a more substantial update, the M6 models skipped the new front end and instead made do with new headlight elements. The interior was massaged a bit, and several infotainment features were modified or added.
The 2016 and 2017 versions were largely unchanged from 2015.
BMW M6 history
The first generation of the M6, known to BMW 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-hp, 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.