Review: 2015 BMW M6 Coupe

2016 BMW M6 Coupe

The Ultimate Gentleperson’s Express

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You don’t have to be an enthusiast to know the BMW M6 Coupe is fast. I mean, look at it- that slinky shape, huge wheels and ginormous brakes peeking out from behind suggest speed at every angle. A glance at the spec sheet shows it’s putting out an honest-to-goodness 600 horsepower and despite a prodigious curb weight, this thing really moves.

Get into the throttle hard in first and second gears and hold on as the M6 rockets forward in a way that just feels obscene for such a big, heavy car.  You think, “Well, this is certainly fast.” The ferocity in which this Competition Package equipped (more on that later) example accelerates won’t really surprise you that much until you shift to third and you realize that the M6 is still blitzing the horizon with the same penchant for velocity as it did in the first two gears. Ditto the same result in fourth gear and beyond and unless you’re on a race track with a long straightaway or have access to an airport runway, you’ll be travelling at a rate of speed that is WAY too fast for street driving. That’s when it dawns on you just what kind of performance this is thing capable of. The 4.4 litre, twin turbo V8 is a tantalizing engine, able to punt you forward in almost violent fashion and equally at home pootling around town.

PROS: Breathtakingly fast, sumptuous interior, capable of some heroic moves for such a big car.

CONS: Too heavy, not particularly practical, aloof steering feel.

THE VERDICT: If you want to get someplace very quickly while steeped in luxury, this is your ride.

It’s the same story where the chassis is concerned.  Active dampers and selectable drive modes allow you to summon almost unbelievable levels of grip.  The M6 isn’t a small car by any measure, no matter what dimension is in question and yet it can be persuaded to achieve cornering speeds that will cause some people to complain of motion sickness. Its massive brakes feel right at home turning the prodigious kinetic energy created by the twin-turbo V8 into heat and respond with proper urgency. This car certainly earns its M badge and builds on the already potent 650i Coupe.

But does it really? BMW M models used to be about agility, screaming hi-revving engines and bespoke suspension pieces and to some extent, that’s true of the M6.

Yet as we know, BMW has been releasing models that have mandated a wider definition of what exactly  makes an M car- we’re looking at you, X5 and X6 M. In the M6’s case a two-plus tonne, 2,850 millimeter long beast is stretching the criteria quite a bit.

If it does have any failings as an M car, they are promptly put to rest when you look at the M6 in the proper context. This technology laden, leather lined land-bound jet is perfectly at home on the highway or on deserted two lane roads connecting one rural town to another. Its performance hardware will allow you to chomp away at the mileage ahead of you in large, luxurious bites. Just don’t plan on taking more than two people- for such a large car, the M6 suffers from a lack of rear passenger space as well as a smallish trunk.

The mildly refreshed M6 we tested had but one option package, simply known as the Ultimate Package. It’s got a ton of stuff as you’d expect of the $25,000 asking price, but the highlights have to be the full Merino leather, the decadent Bang and Olufsen stereo and the aforementioned Competition Package which gives you more power, massages the suspension for more grip and endows the M6 with seriously attractive 20” wheels. Oh, and we can’t forget the M Performance Titanium exhaust which not only looks sinister with its enlarged quad tips but addresses a major complaint about the M6’s underwhelming soundtrack- this exhaust changes the timbre of the engine note while simultaneously turning up the volume, allowing the braaaap! that occurs when you grab the next gear to be even more pronounced. Mixing hooliganism with such a serious car has never felt so right.

There’s always room for improvement in any car, and the M6 is no exception. It’s got the important stuff nailed down pat- the pulverizing engine, lightning quick transmission, killer brakes and a chassis that will keep you entertained for as long as you own it. All those bits would work even better if the M6 could drop 230-ish kilos, gain a bit more cabin and trunk space and allowed some actual feedback to make its way to the driver through a steering rack that can best be described as aloof.

BMW M engineers have never been ones to back down from a challenge, so who knows what’s in store for the next generation of hotted-up big coupes. Should BMW try and restore some of the E39 M5 magic to the sedan and keep the 6 series positioned as a wickedly quick grand tourer? No matter which directing they move in, you can bet they’ll look awesome and be able to scorch pavement at their driver’s whim.

2016 BMW M6 Coupe- Specifications

Price as tested: $150,500

Body Type: 2-door, 2+2 passenger Coupe

Powertrain Layout: Front engine/rear-wheel drive

Engine:  4.4-litre V8 twin turbo, DOHC, 32 valves

Horsepower: 600 @ 6,000-7,000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft.): 516 @ 1,500-5,750 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic

Curb weight: 1,930 kg (4,250 lbs)

Observed Fuel Economy: 16.9L/100km (14 mpg)