£100,155 Price range
The BMW M6 Gran Coupe is the most practical version of the rocketship-spec 6 series and sits alongside the M6 Convertible and regular M6 coupe. It’s arguably the best-proportioned M6 and rivals other large super-saloons such as the Audi RS7, Mercedes-AMG CLS63 and to an extent, the Nissan GTR.
Gone are the cramped rear seats of the M6 coupe and Convertible and in their place are two comfortable chairs. You get in them through pillarless doors which are a small detail that makes the car that bit more special than the BMW M5 on which it’s based. And it needs to differentiate itself somehow because the interior is very similar to the one in the M5.
What the M6 Gran Coupe also shares with the M5 saloon is the impressive driving dynamics. This is a big and heavy car that has no problems carving up twisty back roads no worse than a much smaller M product. It’s also incredibly stable on the motorway and very quiet, too.
The M6 Gran Coupe is powered by the same 4.4-litre V8 used in the M5 and you really can’t go wrong with it. Most of the time, while you’re just pootling along, it’s easy and civilised, but prod the throttle and a deep growl that turns into a metallic shriek as the revs build up tells you you’re playing with more than 550hp.
This being one of the most expensive BMW cars currently on sale it’s no surprise that it comes as standard with full leather upholstery, a head-up display, powerful Harman Kardon stereo and BMW’s most advanced version of the iDrive infotainment system.
Inside, the M6 Gran Coupe feels special. That’s largely thanks to a low-slung driving position that feels more sporty than the M5 with which it shares an engine and basic underpinnings. It adds to the sense of occasion, though does make visibility a struggle, with a long, low bonnet and sweeping pillars that cut away your view. It’s worth noting that the M6 can feel very wide from that low seating position too, affecting your confidence when piloting the car on twisty roads or around town.
The sweep of the roofline also compromises rear seat space for taller passengers, though most should find enough head and leg space behind the driver. With a 460-litre boot, there’s also plenty of luggage space, though Audi’s RS7 is the more practical rival thanks to its hatchback layout – the Gran Coupe has a regular saloon boot.
Despite the rakish looks, BMW has tweaked the M6 Gran Coupe for a softer setup than the M5 saloon, though thanks to adaptive damper settings you don’t lose the hardcore element either. The M6 Gran Coupe strikes a near perfect balance between motorway cruiser and back road bruiser, and everything from steering to throttle response to gear changes can be fiddled with to create the sports saloon of your choosing.
Traction from the wide rear tyres is impressive, though with as much power as the M6 has it can still struggle to contain it, particularly on wet roads. Overall grip is high, and while a few will want for a little more steering feel, the Gran Coupe is still responsive for a big car. The optional ceramic brakes are powerful and don’t fade after prolonged use.
There’s only one engine in the M6 Gran Coupe, though if you want more you can always venture down the 6 Series Gran Coupe range for diesels and the like. M6 buyers will be more than happy with the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 installed here, which puts out 560 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque from just 1,500 rpm.
Performance is immense, as you’d probably expect. The opportunities to extend the engine on British roads are rare – it’s a real license-loser, this one. There’s absolutely no turbo lag from the big engine and performance is savage when you put your toe down – fast up to 5,000 rpm and ballistic from that point onward. At the same time, it can really settle down at a cruise so long-distance refinement isn’t a worry.
Nor is economy, to a certain extent. A combined official figure of 28.5 mpg won’t be saving any polar bears but it’s perfectly respectable given the punch on offer, and on-par with rivals.
There are, predictably, few complaints here. It "accelerates with the ferocity you'd expect" and turns from fast to ballistic once you cross 5,000 rpm. This is a car in which to fear your license - apparently, hitting 150 mph is very easy to do.
Its eager all the way through the rev range and while a few testers reckon a standard torque converter auto would be smoother, the ferocity of the dual-clutch gives it a different character. It's still "perfectly capable of being civil" when you need it to, too.
On price alone, there’s absolutely no reason why anyone should buy an M6 Gran Coupe, yet factor in the car’s great looks, comfortable (yet ballistic) drive and the mix of coupe and saloon-style practicality, and there’s a lot to like here.
In fact, it’s likeable enough that, anyone able to spare the extra cash, should get it over the M5.