BMW has officially unveiled the third generation M6, in both coupe and convertible versions. The M6 badge was first used back in 1987 and since then, the model has evolved into a powerful, athletic, focused, luxurious and efficient sports car. On the US market, the M6 Coupe was the last to arrive and went on sale in the late Summer of 2012 as a 2013 model.
As many rumors suggested, the new M6 has dropped its V10 engine in favor of a new 4.4-liter V8 equipped with M TwinPower Turbo Technology. Despite its lower capacity, the new V8 develops a total of 560 HP (an increase of 5 HP over the previous model) and a peak torque of 500 lb-ft. The engine is mated to a newly developed 7-speed double-clutch transmission designed to handle the high torque and high revving nature of the engine.
The new M6 Coupe will be immediately recognized as an elegant and sporty 6-Series, but it gets the usual M styling design cues that make it look sportier and more powerful. These elements include wider air intakes, stunningly contoured headlight units, the newly designed M kidney grille, which bears an "M6" badge, and powerful 19-inch M light-alloy wheels.
UPDATE 11/20/2012: BMW USA has transformed the M6 into the most interesting project: an M print. Using very interesting technology and Matt Mullins, Chief Driving Instructor of the BMW Performance Driving School, behind the wheel, the M6 was used to create unique autographs for M fans nationwide. Check out the the video after the jump!
Hit the jump to read more on the BMW M6 Coupe.
The Beauty Contest
The designer of the previous 6 series had passed away before he could get a chance to complete the project, leading to many jokes pertaining to the controversial look of the car. Some said that he got three quarters of the way there before kicking the bucket, leaving some of his minions to just slap on any rear end they desired, hence the awful rear angles.
BMW designer, Adrian Van Hooydonk, is very much alive, giving his newly designed 6 series a much better chance in the beauty contest. Straight away from the renderings, the overall look is much cleaner and less “alien looking” than the old M6. This is in line with BMW’s new design direction of “less is more”. One can easily see this when comparing the E46 M3 to the current E92. Gone are the days of über aggressive arches and testosterone-injected bulges from every angle. The new M6 benefits from a substantial de-Bangle-ing and subtle aggression that needs a sharp eye and keen wits to distinguish the M6 from say, a 650i sports pack.
From the front, the 2013 M6 is wider, and features a larger air dam and lower bumper, complete with built-in splitter. There is a newly designed M kidney grille featuring an "M6" badge as an homage to the first generation M6. The grille’s black, paired kidney grille slats take their cues from the characteristic double-spoke design of the M light-alloy wheels. The car has also increased by 1.2 inches in track width and gets by powerfully flared front wheel arches, which sit flush with the wheels. The three-dimensional shaping of their air intakes and race-inspired flaps designed to control airflow to the outer air intakes also underlines the cars’ forward-surging, dynamic character. Adaptive LED Headlights also come as standard on the M6 Coupe.
The side profile is streamlined and slick as you’d expect. The three-dimensional front fenders feature familiar M gills, wide chrome frames and indicator bars with the M logo. Aerodynamically optimised
exterior mirrors and side skirts are also good additions to the package, as is the BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line. Next you will notice some wider wheel arches and of course the 19" M light-alloy wheels in seven double-spokes in a two-tone finish. As an option you can also get 20" M light-alloy wheels in five slender double-spokes.
At the rear there are L-shaped rear lights and reflectors positioned immediately below them. The car ask carries an aerodynamically-optimised rear apron with a diffuser slotted between the familiar M quad exhaust tailpipes.
BMW interiors are always nice places to be in. The new M6 is of course no different. The car has been equipped with newly developed M sports seats, Merino extended leather upholstery, an integrated belt system, a newly developed M double-spoke leather steering wheel, an M gear selector and car set-up controls on the model-specific center console, illuminated door sills with "M6" lettering, an M driver’s footrest, exclusive carbon fiber interior trim, the BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite, 2-zone automatic climate control with extended features, and an iDrive control system with a 10.2-inch Control Display.
The new seats have been equipped with an integrated belt system and feature a M-specific design headlined by extremely prominent cushion and backrest bolsters, head restraints integrated into the backrests, eye-catching stitching and an M logo embossed into the shoulder area.
And to make the driving experience more pleasurable, the wheel has been equipped with two M Drive buttons, which can be used to call up a pre-configured setup for the car. For example, the driver can save a sporty configuration on the "M1" button and a track focused setup (with all driver aids shut off) on the "M2" button. The set-up selected will remain activated until it is either cancelled by pressing the button again or the driver switches to another M Drive setting. Once the system has been switched off – as when the engine is started – it reverts back to a default configuration focusing on efficiency and ride comfort.
What About the Power?
Any M car is built around its performance and, naturally, at the heart of it all is the engine. Sadly the legendary 5 liter V10 has been binned after just one generation’s worth of service, which should make the current M6 something of a collector’s item. The factors leading to its demise are difficult to argue with; the V10 was guzzler, making for bad fuel economy (as if anyone who drives an M6 cares), and it was heavy – even though it won numerous awards for design, engineering, emissions, and weight. There is no denying the weight saving of a smaller forced induction unit. They were also ludicrously expensive to build and maintain, and then there was the sheer size of the thing. Shoe-horning into the 6 meant there wasn’t much space up front that could be exploited, everything had to be shifted back to accommodate it.
Now though, it’s a new ball game. The new M6 gets a new heart in the form of a turbocharged 4.4 liter V8 M TwinPower Turbo with Twin Scroll Twin Turbo technology, a cross-bank exhaust manifold, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection and VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control. The engine actually made its first appearance in the new F10 M5 (the first ever M car with turbocharged power) and before we get bombarded by die hard M Power fans telling us how sacrilegious this is, let us just inform you, that we are some of those hardcore aspirated M fans – and we are disappointed and excited at the same time. This marks the end of an M Power era that has ruled both the streets and tracks around the world for over 30 years. As sad as we are for the V10 and all the aspirated M engines, one cannot help but be excited to see what performance the new turbocharged-legion at the M Division will deliver. We have had a taste of the new powerplant in the X6 and X5 M derivatives already, and let’s just say that we’re impressed. To get a two-tonne SUV from 0-60 faster than the V10 M6 is nothing to scoff at, and that’s with "only" 555 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque.
The new V8 engine delivers a total of 560 HP at 5,750 – 7,000 rpm, while its maximum torque of 500 lb-ft is on tap between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm (versus 500 lb-ft from 1,500 to 5650 rpm for the S63). The rev limiter intervenes at 7,200 rpm (up 200 rpm from the S63 engine). This power is just enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and to 124 mph in 12.6 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, or if you opt to go for the M Performance Package, top speed is ratcheted up to 189 mph. Average fuel consumption nets you 9.9 liters/100 kilometers - that’s 28.5 mpg in mileage speak - with CO2 emissions reaching 232 g/km.
Also, the new V8 has been equipped with an Active M Differential that helps the car working with high precision and speed. Its control unit is connected with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system via FlexRay high-speed data transfer technology and constantly cross-checks the data collected by its sensors with the feedback from DSC. It then uses this information to calculate the locking force required to deliver optimum traction and stability. The data recorded by DSC sensors is also passed on if the stability control system is in MDM mode or is switched off. The locking force within the differential can be varied continuously between 0 and 100%. The ABS system retains full functionality in all situations.
We will miss the awesome sound of the V10 at 8000RPM, but heck, you won’t have time to reminisce while driving this machine! As per the older models, there will sadly be no manual transmission available. Instead you will get a newly developed 7-speed double-clutch transmission designed to handle the high torque and high revving nature of the engine.
When Can I Get One?
The new M6 Coupe will go on sale on the US market in the summer of 2012 at a starting price of $106,995 (including destination and handling).
In the performance stakes, which is what this car is about, you can discount the R8 and Jag XK, as the M6 will show a clean pair of exhaust pipes to that duo. In terms of quality, wave good bye to the Nissan and Corvette, as they don’t really cut the cheese when it comes to materials and luxury. That leaves us with the Mazza (which will break sooner or later), the Merc, and Porsche. There really isn’t much between them in terms of performance, build quality, price, and value. We suppose it’s down to what your preferences are and what you need the car to do for you. The Maserati is beautiful to look at and has an engine note to match, but isn’t as quick. The Merc on the other hand is a bit too comfy and soft for the amount of power it produces, making it a lot less fun to drive.
That brings us to the thorn in BMW’s side – the 911 Turbo. The Porsche is a supercar you could really use everyday, has a four-wheel drive safety net, and comes with the “badge”. It is slightly more expensive than the BMW would be, but hey, which would you rather have?
More powerful engine
Highly equipped interior