sleeker than an M5 and somehow cooler than a two-door M6.
So first impressions are positive, but as the press conference begins my enthusiasm takes a knock. M division boss Friedrich Nitschke has just explained that the new car "stands for luxury like no other M-car" before even mentioning its sporting credentials.
Perhaps it doesn't have any. Given that Herr Nitschke has just described it as the new flagship M-car, that would be a pity. The proof will be in the driving, though, and as I approach the Frozen Grey M6 I have two questions in mind; what does this car do that the £25,000 less expensive M5 doesn't and which traditional M-car values remain?
A burst of Autobahn allows us to breach 165mph with absolute ease, for the 560hp motor pulls unabated from tick-over to the redline. The Gran Coupe feels good for 190mph and so composed at speed. UK cars will be limited to 155mph, though, with no option to have that lifted.
We pull off onto single-carriageway roads that roll across the countryside around Munich. It's here that the Gran Coupe shows its true pace; in a straight line it pulls with real urgency in the manner of a true M-car.
But that's about it. I try the Sport and Sport Plus settings for the steering for half a mile each. Rather than delivering a greater sense of connection with the front wheels, each setting simply throws a springy layer of disconnect between your palms and the contact patch. Comfort it is, then, in which mode the steering is pleasingly weighted and direct, although lacking in any real connectivity.
Similarly, the Sport Plus mode for the dampers is too firm and unforgiving to be of any use, although the Sport mode is worthwhile when pressing along on smoother roads. Again, however, Comfort is the preference because it delivers a pleasing degree of compliance while keeping the two-tonne body in check. The quality of damping over sudden compressions and bumps is very good indeed.
The M6 pours from one sweeping corner to another with fluidity and composure while carrying an awful lot of speed. It hides its weight commendably well, at least until the roads tighten and narrow, at which point it feels large and unwilling to change direction. The gearbox works very well across a broad spectrum of driving conditions, with a pleasing thump in the back in manual mode in a nod to the divisive SMG 'box. The M6 Gran Coupe is not a car that you grab by the scruff of its neck, however. It's one that you enjoy for its effortless power and cosseting ride, for that's what it does best.
What of my original questions? I can only think that it looks a little sexier than an M5 and is marginally more luxurious inside - it's not for me to decide if that justifies £25,000 - but as far as traditional M values go I draw a blank.
Such as the carbon-fibre roof and redundant suspension and steering modes, much about the M6 Gran Coupe is folly masquerading as attention to detail and motorsport breeding, the kind that once made M-badged cars so brilliant. BMW M has just been dragged even further away from where enthusiasts like us want it to be.
BMW M6 GRAN COUPE
Engine: 4,395cc, V8, twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed double-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 560hp@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 502lb ft@1,500rpm
Top speed: 155mph (electronically limited)
MPG: 28.5mpg (claimed)