The new BMW M6 Coupe and BMW M6 Convertible have both emerged simultaneously from the go-fast division M GmbH. And fast they are. The BMW M6 Coupe takes the company’s quickest cars closer than ever to 4 seconds for the 0-60 sprint, with a time of 4.2 seconds.
The BMW M6 Convertible, despite the weight of a retractable roof system, is a little behind at 4.3 seconds but half a second quicker than before, and matched to the BMW M5 with which oit has much in common.
Like the M5, the M6 Coupe and Convertible are due this fall and switch from their predecessor’s high-revving naturally aspirated V10 to a more powerful twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8.
At between 6000-7000 revs and the bi-turbo V8 sends its maximum 560 horsepower to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and (again from the M5) and Active M differential that shuffles power between the left and right rear wheels for optimum traction.
The engine’s broader strength compared to the old V10 is epitomised by 500 foot pounds of torque delivered from as low as 1500 rpm, and while output and performance are up, fuel efficiency and emissions are improved by about 30 per cent.
Increased performance and efficiency comes despite both the Coupe and Convertible piling on the pound for their latest-generation form, with the fixed-roof M6 adding 308lbs to the scales and the folding-roof M6 gaining 110 lbs.
Both M6 models were extensively tested at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit, with both chassis honed for a greater level of agility than the regular 6-Series models. Tracks are widened about an inch compared to the 6-Series Coupe and Convertible and both cars sit on 19-inch alloy ‘M’ wheels as standard, with 20-inch wheels optional.
The M6 Coupe again comes with a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CRFP) roof that lowers the car’s centre of gravity. The M6 Convertible also copies its predecessor, offering a soft-top hood that opens electrically in 19 seconds and closes via the same single button in 24 seconds. The operation can be performed both at standstill or up to a speed of 25 mph.
The M6 Coupe reaches 120 mph from standstill half a second quicker than the Converitible (12.6 v 13.1sec), though both M6 models will hit a 155 mph maximum speed unless owners pay extra for the M Driver’s package that overides the electronic governor to hit 190 mph, and guarantees you a stay in the iron-bar hotel anywhere in the U.S.
BMW M cars are renowned for having excellent brakes, though if the standard stoppers on the M6 Coupe or Convertible aren’t enough for you, then carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.
The M6 interior is a two-tone affair, at least for the M6 Convertible. Sportier touches over the 6-Series include carbonfiber trim for the centre console, dash strip and part of the door trim, a thick-rimmed M steering wheel and perforated ‘M’ driver’s footrest.
If you want to see the new BMW M6 models as soon as possible, head to the 2012 Geneva motor show in March for the Coupe and the 2012 New York motor show in April for the Convertible.
A third M6 model – not yet officially confirmed – is expected to appear at the 2012 Paris motor in September in the form of the BMW M6 Gran Coupe – the company’s four-door version of the 6-Series Coupe that's a rival for the Mercedes-Benz CLS.––Paul Duchene
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