With the new 6-Series Gran Coupe, the revised 6-Series Coupe and Convertible, and now the 2012 M6, BMW's 6-Series range is approaching the model proliferation of the 3-Series. In this case, that's a very good thing.
First, lets hit the vitals: power comes from a 7,200-rpm redline, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 rated at 560 horsepower from 5,750-7,000 rpm and 500 pound-feet of torque from 1,500-5,750 rpm. The power band is therefore three times as wide as the former V-10 engine, according to BMW.
The transmission is a seven-speed M-DCT dual clutch unit sending power to the rear wheels. An Active M Differential limits slip and distributes power. Acceleration is claimed at 4.2 seconds to 62 mph for the M6 Coupe and 4.3 for the M6 Convertible. Zero to 124 mph takes 12.6 seconds (Coupe) or 13.1 seconds (Convertible), and top speed is 155 mph.
So it's an impressive sports car on power and acceleration alone. But the M6 also gets an M-specific chassis with a Nordschleife-tuned suspension. Changes from the standard 6-Series include a rigid connection between the rear subframe and the body; reinforced chassis mounts for the rear axles; forged aluminum suspension components; and tuned axle kinematics. Track is widened by 30 mm.
A Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) system is standard, using electro-hydraulic modulation of damping force to suit driving condition--or driver preference. Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes tune the system's responses from relaxed to track-ready at the push of a button.
BMW's M Drive system allows the driver to tune the car to taste, with six parameters of adjustment: engine management, response of the Servotronic electric power steering system, M-DCT shift program, DSC mode, DDC response, and the information provided by the heads-up display. These options can be configured via the iDrive menu system or the console-mounted buttons, and once stored, the custom configurations can be re-selected at the press of a button--or two presses if the driver includes "DSC off" mode as part of the program.
Upgraded brakes, measuring 15.7 inches front and 15.6 inches rear are also part of the package, with six-piston calipers clamping the pads.
Optional M Carbon-Ceramic brakes are the first ever to be offered on a BMW M car, upgrading to rotor diameter to 16.1 inches front and 15.6 inches rear, yet weighing a massive 42.8 pounds less than the standard brake combo. The increased braking capacity of the M Carbon-Ceramic system should allow the M6 in either Coupe or Convertible form to withstand even serious track-level abuse.
As for the design, it's mostly a matter of tweaks to the new 6er's look: wider air intakes, contoured headlights, a new M kidney grille with M6 badge, wider fenders, M gills in the front fenders, and race-inspired aerodynamic flaps. Standard 19-inch wheels can be upgraded to 20-inchers.
Like the M3 Coupe, the M6 Coupe gets a carbon fiber composite roof, shown in its natural color. High-gloss Shadow Line trim on the sides of the car and M mirror caps add further M touches.
Inside, the M6 brings some M-specific cues, including new M sport seats, Merino leather upholstery, M6 badges on the sills, exclusive carbon fiber trim, and an Antracite roof liner from BMW Individual--all as standard equipment. iDrive with the 10.2-inch display is also standard. The M Multifunction seats get an integrated seat belt system, extra bolstering, integrated head restraints, and embossed M logos, plus just about every electronic adjustment you can think of.
The BMW M6 will arrive first as a convertible in the U.S., in June 2012, as a 2012 model. The Coupe will wait until later this summer, as a 2013 model. Pricing and other details will be revealed closer to their on-sale dates.
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