2018 BMW M6

2018 BMW M6

The Basics:

The 2018 BMW M6 lineup shrinks some this year—not in size, but in the number of models BMW sells.

One of the ultimate grand-tourers, the BMW 6-Series stands ready to eat up miles, buyers' budgets, and premium unleaded.

The M6 Coupe and Convertible are no more. Meanwhile, the four-door Gran Coupe—the model most M6 buyers seemed to want—stick around, and is as lustworthy as ever.

We’ve scored them 7.8 out of 10 overall points based on their pampering luxury and 'bahn-storming performance. You’ll spend a lot for the honor of taking home an M6, but it’s probably worth it. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, the M6 Coupe and Convertible are gone from American BMW dealers. It’ll be missed, but only by those nostalgic for the first car to wear this badge—the “shark nose” two-door that became an icon on its own back in the 1980s. Otherwise, the sleek four-door Gran Coupe carries over unchanged.

The M6 lineup is based on the 6-Series, which we covered separately.

The M6 Gran Coupe gets a twin-turbo V-8 engine, a 4.4-liter unit that pumps out up to 600 horsepower before topping out as high as 186 mph with the extra-cost Competition Package. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard, but an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned 6-speed manual is a no-cost option. Get one while you can; only a handful of BMWs can still be fitted with three pedals. M6s are all rear-wheel drive, something we can’t say about the next-generation M5 sedan due here for 2019.

Despite its name, the Competition Package that adds 40 hp and ups the top speed from 155 to 186 mph doesn’t necessarily make these big cars ready for racing. They’re ferocious performers, but ultimately their heft and size makes them more grand tourers than sports cars.

To that end, the M6 is trimmed in decadent leather and offer numerous customization opportunities inside. For a price, you can make your M6 as classy or as gaudy as you’d like.

With the elimination of the coupe, the 2018 BMW M6 lineup is down to just one body style: the misnomer M6 Gran Coupe.

The coupe is tremendously sexy outside and a little conservative, but still attractive inside. We’ve rated the Gran Coupe an 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

One of the ultimate grand-tourers, the BMW 6-Series stands ready to eat up miles, buyers' budgets, and premium unleaded.

It starts life as regular BMW 6-Series vehicle, but the M6 is festooned with beefy body kits, big 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in high-performance rubber, and plenty of M badging. You can’t replicate this look in a “mundane” 640i, no matter how hard you try.

Gran Coupes are where it’s at, as far as we’re concerned. They take the recipe pioneered by the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class to Munich for a little finishing. They’re elegant and stylish, although the available carbon-fiber roof may be a little too much for some.

One caveat: BMW offers a surprisingly limited color palette on the M6 that stands in contrast to paint-to-sample Porsches.

Inside, the cars share the same basic dashboard that’s canted slightly toward the driver. The standard configuration includes French-stitched leather along some of the dash and door cards, while the available full leather package swathes nearly everything in hides. If you’re in it for $125,000, the extra $3,500 for full leather seems worth your while.

Not all 2018 BMW M6s are created equal, but every example offers thundering performance, a mind-reading transmission, commendable handling, and impressive ride quality.

Thought of as a grand tourer, the BMW M6 is an easy 9 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

These aren’t raw sports cars. Frankly, BMW doesn’t make anything like that anymore. At 4,500 pounds, give or take, the M6 needs all the muscle it can get. Fortunately, its 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 cranks out 560 hp and 500 pound-feet of torque in its standard tune. Opt for the Competition Package and you’ll add 40 hp plus revised steering and a stiffer suspension to make the most of that grunt.

Either way, the M6’s V-8 pulls hard and sends a mellifluous snarl through its four exhaust pipes. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard on the M6, but a 6-speed manual is a no-cost option for those who prefer to row themselves. It’s a toss-up; the dual-clutch makes the most of the M6’s wall of thrust that comes on at 1,700 rpm, but we relish the tactile feel of a good 6-speed.

The standard M6 is electronically limited to 155 mph, but the Competition Package ups that figure to 186 mph—and it includes a driver’s training course.

All M6s are rear-wheel drive and they put power to their high-performance rubber via an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. Even the standard M6’s suspension with its 20-inch wheels is firm, but the Competition Package stiffens things up considerably. Try before you buy; that 40-hp boost may not be worth it if you’re rattling your teeth just to get out of your driveway.

The M6 does disguise its heft well. It’s more of an open-road cruiser than a corner carver, with steering that stays straight on the highway but can feel a little numb when worked hard. Competition Package models have their own steering tuning that’s a little sharper and faster, which makes them a better choice for a track day.

The M6’s standard brakes are plenty strong, while the optional, $9,250 ceramic units resist fade after a full day of hard driving. The ceramic brakes can be a little grabby in town and traditionally this style brake is very expensive to service, with a basic pad and rotor change often a four-figure affair. It’s worth trying both to see what fits your driving style best.

The 2018 BMW M6’s interior is gorgeous with stunning attention to detail, unique materials, and comfortable front seats. Just don’t consider even the Gran Coupe to be much more than an occasional four-person hauler.

We’ve scored the M6 at 8 out of 10 here, adding points for its quality feel, upscale materials, and comfortable front seats, and pulling one off for a second row that’s both hard to access and cramped. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

At these prices, we expect to find acres of leather and exotic trim finishes. The M6 delivers. Toss in an extra $3,500 and nearly every surface will be swathed in fine hides in your choice of several shades. Several variations of glossy and matte wood trims are available, but if that’s not your style, BMW also offers carbon fiber and piano black lacquer.

The M6’s front seats are multi-adjustable and comfortable. They’re a little more bolstered than what you’ll find in a standard 6-Series, but hardly confining. BMW’s Active Front Seat option, included with the Executive Package, almost imperceptibly raises and lowers each side of the front seats to reduce fatigue.

We wish we could heap the same praise on the M6’s back seat. Row two boasts reasonable leg room, but even average height passengers will have to duck to slide aboard and they’ll have to keep their heads lowered since the roofline cuts in dramatically.

That said, Gran Coupes have a surprisingly big trunk: 16.2 cubic feet.

The 2018 BMW M6 is loaded up with safety features, but these pricey, low-volume cars haven’t been crash tested and they’re not likely to be any time soon.

As a result, we can’t assign a score here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

That’s not to say that the M6 line isn’t equipped with lots of safety tech. What’s on the options list matters more, though. Blind-spot monitors that will gently vibrate the steering wheel if they detect the M6 going astray are a cheap, $500 option. Night vision that can detect pedestrians on a dark road runs $2,300, an option worth considering if you spend a lot of your time on quiet back roads.

The Driving Assistance Package adds lane-departure warnings, automatic emergency braking, and a head-up display for a reasonable $1,700.

The 2018 BMW M6 comes well equipped from the get-go, get be optioned up to truly decadent and individual levels, and features an advanced infotainment system. That’s enough for a 9 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

You can’t go wrong with a no-option BMW M6, but at these prices, what’s another $10,000 in features to make yours stand out a bit?

Gran Coupe versions of the M6 are with everything you’d expect: acres of leather, power and heated front seats, premium audio, navigation displayed through a 10.2-inch screen, and even adaptive cruise control.

A few option packages offer up what most buyers will probably want. The Executive Package is the biggie, at $5,000. It includes heated rear seats on Gran Coupes, Bang & Olufsen audio, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, active front seats designed to reduce over-the-road fatigue, and a few more goodies.

The Competition Package runs $7,000 and brings with it a 40-hp upgrade, a stiffer suspension, and special steering tuning. It’s a must if you’re planning to go on a track, but can be a little too harsh for daily driving.

Among individual options, a few things stand out. A leather package swathes more than just the seats and door panels in leather; the center console, dashboard, and even the backs of the seats are wrapped in hides. It’s worth the $3,500 price of admission just for the scent alone.

Carbon ceramic brakes run $9,250, but try before you buy. They’re hugely powerful but a little aggressive for in-town use and they’re pricey to maintain.

The 10.2-inch iDrive infotainment screen features a control knob with a laptop-like touchpad. It’s menu-intensive and there’s a steep learning curve. Yet once you’ve mastered iDrive, suddenly everything makes sense—everything about German technology, at least. Oddly, Apple CarPlay is a $300 option, but Android Auto isn’t available.

If you’re looking for a fuel miser, you’re in the wrong place. The 2018 BMW M6 models share the same fuel economy rating and it’s not great: a 5 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With the dual-clutch transmission that’s in most M6s, these fast machines are rated at just 14 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined on the EPA’s scale.

Bucking what has become an industry trend, the manual versions of the M6 are slightly thriftier (as if you needed another reason to specify a three-pedal car): 15/22/17 mpg.

Buying Tips:

The BMW M6 Gran Coupe is tempting, just consider your back before opting for the Competition package.

Other Choices:

  • 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Class
  • 2018 Porsche 911
  • 2018 Jaguar F-Type
  • 2018 Lexus LC
  • 2018 Audi R8

Reason Why:

If you’ve got a pile of cash to spend, there are plenty of places to start. The sports car icon at this price point remains the Porsche 911, available in myriad configurations—none especially practical (that’s what the Panamera is for). The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class offers everything from gentle cruising to manic acceleration, depending on the model chosen. Lexus’ new LC is bonkers, but also sedate when it needs to be. We like it a lot, at least based on our initial impressions. Jaguar’s F-Type isn’t a convincing sports car, but it’s a highly desirable tourer in coupe or convertible configurations. And the Audi R8 is remarkably docile as a daily driver—until you turn up the wick.

The Bottom Line:

The 2018 BMW M6 lineup loses its iconic coupe, but the four-door Gran Coupe was always the more compelling choice

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