DRIVEN: BMW M6
40 years of BMW M, embodied in the new M6 and a whoosh of twin-turbo V8
compared the Nissan GT-R with the M5 recently. And now the M6 is out of the blocks the Nissan has a more obvious Bavarian rival, even if the increasingly expensive GT-R - for now - undercuts the M6 by nearly 20 grand. Give it a couple of weeks and another 'revision' though...
So there you have it. The M6. It's a bargain. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is PH maths in action.
Having made the financial case, what's it like to drive?
The previous M6 and its M5 equivalent walked to very much to the same highly strung V10 beat. And now, as before, the M6 shares a lot with its saloon brother. Which may or may not be a good thing.
To re-cap, though. The new M6 loses a couple of cylinders, gains a pair of turbos and 53hp over the old V10 and drives through a dual-clutch, seven-speed Getrag M DCT gearbox just like its M5 brother. That ain't all though - it also gains 140kg, offset by 501lb ft of torque from just 1,500rpm rather than the 6,100rpm you needed for the measly 383lb ft from the old car. And though you may miss that high-revving character it's hard to argue with the new M6's (official) 28.5mpg and 232g/km against the V10's 19.8mpg and 342g/km.
Mean, if not especially lean
First impressions are strong, though. Where the M5 almost plays it down a bit, the M6 is much more in your face. Coupe dimensions and an 82mm lower roofline help make it feel a little more compact than the M5, even if it isn't really, and the exterior, even in that insipid metallic ochre, bristles with menace and muscle. It's a seriously handsome car, classically well proportioned but bursting with intent and some beguiling styling flourishes. A fine celebration of 40 years of M too.
It does give the M6 massive reach though, the base setting a perfect everyday default. The now familiar configurable M1 and M2 hot keys at least simplify the huge number of settings - including steering, suspension, throttle, HUD and more - into on-demand preferences.
To the max
With everything up to 11 - 'Sport Plus' officially - the M6 is a very different beast, even if development boss Albert Biermann admits the most aggressive gearbox setting is only really there to cater to the "SMG enthusiast" missing the evocative thwack of skull against headrest.
Variable it may be but the steering weighting never feels more informative than just that and there's enough jarring in the most aggressive settings for chassis and drivetrain to have you wonder what the point of having them might be. Credit where it's due though - the dampers do have a decent amount of travel and even on (optional) 20-inch wheels there's some vertical movement, but damped very effectively. Fluid might be going a bit far, but the ride is far from over-authoritative.
Excitement versus competence
And if that's happening, by golly, you'd want to feel just a little bit turned on by the experience.
Perhaps anticipating this, BMW laid on some time at Ascari Race Resort and the opportunity to push the M6 a little harder. But, like any lard arse, sweating in the sun, the big Beemer doesn't feel entirely happy here either.
To be fair its balance and poise are excellent, understeer well contained for a big fella and easily and predictably dialled out with the throttle and M Differential once past the apex. And if you want to play the hooligan it'll respond with huge, smoky drifts if you want it to.
At least the brakes - optionally upgradeable to ceramics for the first time on an M - are now up to the job and a big step up from what went before.
Back in that 'real world'
In truth it's not a natural track car but having experienced the upper reaches of what it is capable of to then be denied them by pesky things like traffic and speed limits is then doubly frustrating.
much discussed 640d review and leave you to figure the rest out for yourself...
BMW M6 COUPE
Engine: 4,395cc V8, twin-turbo, direct-injection
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto (M DCT), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 560@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 501@1,500rpm
0-62mph: 4.2 sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,925kg (EU, unladen)
MPG: 28.5mpg (NEDC combined)
Price: £93,820 (basic list)