£93,265 Price range
Reviews of the BMW M6 Coupe aren’t actually as positive as you might expect. It isn’t that it’s a bad car, more that testers are bemused by BMW’s cheek in offering what’s essentially a BMW M5 with a great deal less practicality for a great deal more money.
You’re looking at a £20k premium for a car that isn’t notably faster than the saloon on which it is based, and for many, that’s a bit hard to stomach. Get past that though, and you do get an insanely quick coupe with monstrous engine, even if this is unlikely to be considered one of the great M cars in years to come.
The M6′s interior has received a sprucing up when compared to the sombre 5 Series from which it’s derived. The M6 gets a sculpted dashboard with a neat three-spoke sports steering wheel. This comes with gearshift paddles for the seven-speed automatic transmission, and the lever sprouting from the centre tunnel can also be used to work the slick dual-clutch unit.
It’s very comfortable in the front of the cabin and the seats are great, while a splash of carbon fibre trim perks up the dashboard. But as a coupe, it’s a long way from being as practical as the M5 saloon. The rear seats are “hopeless” according to one review, and if there’s one main criticism it’s that the M6′s cabin doesn’t feel any more special than “lesser” 6 Series. There’s little real clue you’re in a hardcore M model.
For a car weighing in at 1,850 kg, the M6 does well. It has “amazing body control” when changing direction and “equally flop-free responses when you stick its tail sideways”, something that isn’t far away with all that power going to the rear tyres. It’s particularly effective when sportier chassis controls are dialled in, turning it from a wafting cruiser (which thanks to the smooth ride, it is brilliantly capable of) into something not unsuitable for the odd dabble on track.
It’s perhaps a little emotionless for an M car though. One review in particular is heavily critical of the car, saying “it doesn’t feel or sound alive”, and while scenery will pass you quickly outside the windows “sensation is lacking” – it’s a car that “doesn’t make you tingle”. That might be more forgivable if it wasn’t so much more expensive than the M5…
If the driving experience leaves some people cold, the engine is at least a bit hotter. It’s the same you’ll find in the M5 and in other M6 models like the Gran Coupe – a 4.4-litre, V8, twin-turbocharged unit pumping out 552 horsepower (or more, with the Competition Pack) and 502 pounds-feet of torque.
It’s enough to clear the 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.2 seconds (the Competition Pack is 0.1 seconds quicker) and like all BMWs, it headbutts the limiter at 155 mph. You’ll get there very quickly – “effortless” is how one review describes the M6′s performance – and while performance is very strong, it’s also surprisingly civil. If anything, it’s “less explosive than the numbers might have you believe”.
We shouldn’t necessarily consider that last statement to be a compliment, though. BMW’s M division have generally had a reputation for building some of the worlds finest engines; powerful, high-revving and producing a fantastic noise.
Reviewers have noted that compared to some of their previous units, the new twin-turbo V8 seems to lack a little of the character that makes M cars so special. The fact that BMW resort to artificially piping the exhaust sound into the cabin says it all, really…
The V8 lump pumps out 552 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, the same it produces under the nose of the BMW M5. The torque is developed low down and there's little turbo lag, so low down thrust "is incredible". It really is exceedingly brisk, officially reaching 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and running to a limited 155 mph.
There's a way of going even quicker, though - opt for the Competition Pack (detailed in a couple of the reviews above) and power jumps to 576 horses. It only shaves a tenth off the 0-60 time, partly because it's limited by traction - testers say it has trouble putting its power down. Frankly, the regular car is so quick anyway there's not much point spending more on the Competition Pack...
At £20,000 more than an M5, the M6′s price is off-putting for some testers. Worse still, the price tag puts it within firing distance of some seriously desirable competition, including hotted-up versions of the Porsche 911, or high-end Maseratis. The M6 is reasonably economical for its type, but depreciation will sting – cars like this rarely hold their value well.
One option to give the M6 some of the bite it lacks is to opt for the Competition Pack. Power climbs from 552 hp to 567 hp, while the 502 lb-ft torque peak is available across a wider plateau. You also get quicker steering, stiffer springs and dampers and a recalibrated active limited-slip differential. You may not notice the speed difference though and a few testers suggest spending the £6,500 it costs on ceramic brakes or other goodies.
For such a powerful car the M6 falls oddly flat in reviews. It seems that testers just struggle to get truly enthusiastic about it, whether due to its price or that as M cars go, it’s not quite as sharp as some would hope. You may be better off saving your money to grab the M5 – either that, or opt for one of the M6′s highly competent rivals: Porsche’s 911 would be the ideal choice…