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Monday 17th January 2011


PH Fleet: BMW M6 - The Final Chapter

'Our' 500hp V10 Super Coupe is ours no longer. Sigh.


Were it not for the small matter of a contractual obligation requiring us always to be 'aitch-ay-pee-pee-why' here at PH HQ, an air of glumness might have pervaded our New Year celebrations.


Yes, after 16,500 scintillating miles, a chap from the BMW press garage chose to reclaim 'our' glorious V10-powered M6 super coupe the day before Christmas, leaving only a set of keys to a new 535d saloon to help ease the pain. (And help they might have, had not Riggers snaffled the 5er for the whole holidays. Although, as fellow PHers-about-town will attest, the last thing you need when you've been dumped by a supermodel is a sympathy date with her less glamorous sister.)

Anyway, we've had a lot of fun with our BMW M6 over the last few months, you'll not be surprised to hear, and it would be churlish to linger over a despond-inducing parting.


Hopefully you'll already have read about a few of our exploits, although naturally some of the most exciting moments with our 500bhp V10 super coupe are best left 'off the record'. (Not that we've been particularly irresponsible you understand, but a rev-happy V10 would lead a saint into temptation occasionally, and the M-Power unit in the M6 is undoubtedly at its happiest when plying the upper reaches of its impressive 8,250rpm range.)

In case you haven't seen any of the highlights, our M6 provided a bunch of PH competition winners with some serious thrills at the Beechdean Mansell LMP1 test day at Silverstone last year. (Where we discovered from Greg that Red 5 used to own an M6 himself, and seriously rated its high speed stability on the road.)


The car's stunning acceleration, classic rear drive handling, high speed stability and upmarket sense of refinement meant the Bimmer (at 12,000miles) trounced a new Nissan GT-R in our ad hoc Kapitan Bavaria vs Godzilla feature.

Just as impressively, the M6 slotted into our Five Go (Slightly) Mad In Supercars line-up, where its performance and practicality ensured the car easily kept pace with the likes of a Merc SLS, Lambo Gallardo Superleggera and 911 GT3 on the road - with the added advantage of having elbow room and useable rear seats. Driving it into the Wilton House Supercar day later on felt slightly out of place, mind you, but I guess that serves to underline one of the M6's other positives. It's pretty much a supercar you can use every day, without setting off everybody else's radar.


Some of the pictures shown here were taken at a PH track day at Rockingham, where we unleashed the beast for a few playful laps. It's not really a great track car, mainly because a) the brakes are a little on the soft side (although fine on the road) and b) putting 500hp through the rear wheels on the exit from slow corners is a recipe for hooliganistic tail-sliding. We've nothing against that in principle, but it works out dreadfully expensive with the huge and sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa asymmetric tyres coming in at £300+ a pop.

Fortunately, although PH forumites have shared the occasional doubt about the M6's potential to rack up a big bill here and there, our 16,500 miles showed if nothing else that enjoying exotic performance needn't demand a maintenance regime to match - in a new car at least. Nothing went wrong with our M6 at all, and we drove it er, 'properly' a lot.


The day the car returned home it was showing 19.3mpg on the trip computer, but 'general motoring' usually meant we eked an 18-point-something out of the average tankful. (Greg Mansell got it down to 7mpg around Silverstone, but we rarely fell below 12 or 13mpg on the road.) We had to put a £17 litre of oil in at the 8k mark, and another at 16k, and apart from fresh rubber that was all we spent. The trip computer showed a major service was imminent when the car went back, but BMW kindly agreed to soak that up, as well as taking care of the tree-bashing the car took in the autumn. (Ahem, very sorry about that, nice BMW folk!)

Of course the cost of running a car like the M6 from new isn't really about the 'consumables', as depreciation makes everything else seem marginal. Our car had a list price of £87k with the Competition Pack, but we'll leave you to check out the PH classifieds and see what you need to spend to get your hands on a pre-owned one. Meanwhile we doff the PH virtual hat to any M6 owner who has proven themselves sufficiently committed to get involved. If you can afford to indulge yourself, why not?


Given our experience with the PH M6, we're particularly excited about the arrival of the next generation car. While the gorgeous V10 will be consigned to the history books with a deep sense of regret, we can't honestly imagine its (reported) twin-turbo V8 replacement will be a disappointment unless BMW's M Power engineers have all been kidnapped and held hostage by tree-huggers.

There seems to be almost universal agreement that the upcoming new 6er has addressed the outgoing model's only real issue (its controversial styling), and we're only days away from the first road test reports on the cabrio version. We've got a good feeling!









Author: Chris-R

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34 comments on this story

Last comment was by Lonners71
on 26th January 2011