2017 BMW M6

6.8
2017 BMW M6

The Basics:

You don't buy a BMW M6 for its subtlety: It's a car that will grab your attention in any form—coupe, convertible, or slick sedan—and it shows that you're not here to apologize for excess or expense. It's essentially a flagship of the BMW performance lineup, although that's a phrase that could be used for several different models. 

The 2017 BMW 6-Series is a luxurious jack of all trades (speed, style, comfort, and quality) but a master of one: grand touring.

We give it a rating of 8.2, for its astounding performance and deep bench of available features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Don't think of the M6, which is largely unchanged for 2017, as anything but a grand touring car aimed at eating up miles on a straight or curvy road. If you're looking to slide around a race track, BMW's M2 or the larger M3/M4 are better choices. But the M6 is roomier and more comfortable, meant to conquer long trips, not road courses. 

The tale of the tape is deceiving when it comes time to look at the specs. According to BMW, the M6 Coupe weighs a hefty 4,250 pounds; adding two doors to make the M6 Gran Coupe adds 180 more pounds. The M6 Convertible's weight balloons even further and clocks in at 4,515 pounds—all before passengers have sunk into the car's sumptuous leather interior. The M6 is relatively long at 193 inches (197.5 for the Gran Coupe); fairly wide at 74.8-inches (82.9 inches for the Gran Coupe); and relatively cumbersome with its 41-foot turning circle.

BMW M6 styling and performance

But don't be duped, the twin-turbo V-8 makes up for all that—and then some more.

Under its long hood, BMW packed in a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that cranks out 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to run to 60 mph in a mere 4.1 seconds before going all the way to a top speed of 155 mph (pick the M Drivers Package and that figure climbs to 186 mph and you get a free driver's training course, which seems like a good idea on BMW's part).

That power is delivered via a lightning quick 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or (and this one's a rarity), an honest-to-goodness, three-pedal 6-speed manual. BMW says they'll hold on to manuals until the bitter end. The automatic may the better option here not only because of its rapid-fire cog swaps, but also because the M6's wall of thrust at 1,700 rpm is a lot to handle if you're commuting in traffic. Power is sent through an electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential and shifted to the rear wheels exclusively.

The M6 has carried over largely unchanged since its debut in 2012, and that stays the same for 2017. Wider air intakes up front and blacked-out slats in the company's signature kidney-style grille are only part of the M6's story. At the rear, quad tailpipes that bookend the unique rear diffuser relay the V-8's snarl to innocent bystanders. The M6 rides on 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels as standard, with staggered-width tires back-to-front. The M6 is 1.2 inches wider than a standard 6-Series, and its flared wheel arches that barely cover the Z-rated performance tires only bolster its menacing narrative.

Last year, the standard 6-Series received a modest mid-cycle refresh limited to a revised grille and front-end appearance. But don't go looking for those changes on the M6 as they were mysteriously kept only to the 6-Series. Maybe that's because the M6 is such a low-volume model for BMW that the automaker didn't see fit to invest in minor updates—or maybe they were simply happy with what they had.

M6 Coupe and Gran Coupes feature natural carbon-fiber roofs with a racy channel that looks kind of like a '90s-era, part-down-the-middle hairstyle (only way better, thankfully). Convertibles offer a choice between a black or beige soft top that can be put up or down at speeds up to 25 mph.

Inside, the M6 is, as you should expect at this price point, awash in leather, carbon-fiber accents, and available wood trims. The center display stretches 10.2 inches as standard, and is operated via BMW's iDrive, which has been upgraded to the automaker's latest software for 2017.

M6 comfort, features, and safety

Dual-zone climate control, 20-way power front seats with memory settings, adaptive cruise control, and the company's LCD instrument cluster display are standard on the M6, as are red needles and an M badge on the tachometer that help set it apart from the standard 6-Series. 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.

As you should anticipate in a 2+2 coupe, the rear seats aren't especially useful regardless of body style. Rather, they do a better job of complementing the 16.2 cubic feet of trunk space in the Coupe and Gran Coupe (which shrinks to 12.3 cubic feet in the Convertible with the top up, 10.5 cubic feet with the top down).

Neither the 6-Series nor the M6 has been crash-tested. Standard safety items include driver and passenger front and side airbags, active head restraints, and automatic seat belt pre-tensioners. Carbon ceramic brakes are optional, but come at a $9,250 premium on top of the six-figure price tag.

Predictably, the M6 doesn't manage spectacular fuel economy. The EPA rates the M6 with its automatic transmission at 14 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined, regardless of body style. At least you'll enjoy guzzling all that premium fuel.

Buying Tips:

Our pick of the litter here is the Gran Coupe, since it gives up little in the way of style for (a bit more) practicality.

Other Choices:

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Class
  • 2017 Porsche 911
  • 2017 Jaguar F-Type
  • 2017 Audi A7
  • 2017 Maserati Quattroporte

Reason Why:

The BMW M6 squares off best against the Mercedes-Benz SL63 and the Audi RS 7, at least in terms of power, panache, and polish. Since the M6 line is offered as a convertible, a coupe, and a svelte four-door, it can go toe-to-toe with Mercedes' roadster and Audi's shapely hatchback. But you may also want to look at the more dedicated performance Porsche 911, as well as the remarkably entertaining Jaguar F-Type. And, just to keep shopping interesting, Maserati's Quattroporte is dripping with the character that the more Teutonic M6 can sometimes lack.

The Bottom Line:

The 2017 BMW M6 makes an excellent modern-day grand touring car; it's heavy for the track, but it relishes chewing up highway miles.

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