The BMW M6 is the automotive equivalent of Las Vegas Boulevard. The savage, exciting, and lavish car doesn't apologize for its excess or its expense. It's the most expensive performance model BMW sells and comes however you like it—coupe, convertible, or racy sedanâ€”and as rich as you can afford.
The BMW M6 carries many superlatives—ast, sexy, and quick come to mind—but this isn't one of them: it's primarily a grand tourer. It has a considerably bigger package than BMW's other performance coupes and sedans—M2 and M3, namely—and isn't entirely at home at the track; the M6 is constantly at odds with its size and weight. It's meant to conquer long trips; not racetracks.
Similarly, the tale of the tape is deceiving. According to the automaker, a zero option M6 Coupe weighs in at 4,250 pounds; adding the two doors to create the M6 Gran Coupe plumps that figure by 180 pounds. The M6 Convertible's heft balloons further, coming in at 4,515 pounds before passengers have even sunk themselves into the luxury car's leather cradles. At 193 inches, the M6 coupe is relatively long (the Gran Coupe stretches a further 197.5 inches) and it's wide at 74.8 inches. With its 41-foot turning circle, the M6 is somewhat cumbersome around town.
But the M6 is certainly not just a boulevardier.
Under the hood, BMW shoehorned in its inspired twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that produces 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque, sufficient to run up from rest to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds before topping out at 155 mph. The power is shifted through a lightning quick 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or part of a dying breed, an honest-to-goodness 6-speed manual with a clutch pedal. BMW says it's committed to manuals, at least for now. But in reality, the automatic is the better option not just because of its rapid-fire cog changes but also because its 1,700 rpm thrust wall would wear just about any right arm out. Power goes through an electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differentia exclusively to the rear wheels.
Since its debut back in 2012, the M6 has carried over essentially unchanged. Wider air ducts up front and special blacked-out kidney grille slats only hint to the M6's story. Out back, quad tailpipes bookend the unique rear diffuser to relay the V-8's fury to bystanders. The M6 rides on 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, with staggered-width tires rear-to-front. At a little over an inch wider than a standard 6-Series, its flared arches barely hid the performance-rated rubber.
For 2016, downballot 6-Series models received a very slight mid-cycle refresh that's mainly limited to a modified grille and front fascia appearance, but those changes were curiously kept from the M6. The 6-Series' lower air intake is now a single stylistic unit, while front fog lamps have three adjacent LEDs with a decorative surround—in chrome for the Convertible or gloss black for Coupes and Gran Coupes. (Curiously, the regular 6-Series can be equipped with an M Sport appearance package that may foretell the M6's forthcoming makeover, but we'll wait and see.)
M6 Coupe and Gran Coupes are topped with natural carbon fiber roofs with a racy channel that looks like a 90's-era, part-down-the-middle hairstyle. Convertibles get a black or beige soft top that can be operated up to 25 mph.
Inside, the M6 is awash in fine leather, carbon fiber accents, and available wood finishes. The central display is 10.2-inches as standard, and operated via BMW's iDrive. Dual-zone climate control, 20-way power-adjusted front seats with memory, adaptive cruise control, and the Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster display are standard on the M6, as are red needles and an M badge on the tachometer. An Executive Package, which adds a Bang & Olufsen sound system, head-up display, heated steering wheel, ventilated seats, and active bolsters is optional. Driver Assistance Plus adds blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and surround-view cameras as options. Night vision is a stand-alone option for $2,300 on top of the base $113,400 price tag.
In typical 2+2 coupe fashion, the M6's rear seats aren't particularly useful. Instead, they complement the 16.2 cubic feet of cargo room in both the two- and four-door models. Convertibles have 12.3 cubes with their top raised and 10.5 cubic feet with the cloth roof stowed away.
No model has yet been tested by major U.S. safety agencies and, frankly, their limited sales numbers mean they probably won't be. Standard safety features standard on all include driver and passenger front and side-impact airbags, active restraints, and automatic seatbelt pre-tensioners. On the options list are carbon ceramic brakes, but at $9,250, they're quite pricey even for a six-figure car.
Predictably, the M6 doesn't post impressive fuel economy. On the EPA test, the M6 rates at 14 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined.
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz SL Class
- 2016 Porsche 911
- 2016 Jaguar F-Type
- 2016 Maserati GranTurismo
- 2016 Audi A7
The M6 is most often compared to the Mercedes-Benz SL63 in terms of size and power. The Benz beats the BMW in available technology, but the M6 brings with it a little more sporting potential. In the same breath, it should be noted the M6 isn't the same sports car as a Porsche 911 or even a Jaguar F-Type. The Maserati GranTurismo may have more exotic credentials than the M6, but the BMW is built on a better chassis and doesn't sport a price tag in the mid-$100,000s—the M6 is only in the low-$100,000s.