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The new BMW M6: Supercar performance but no supercar looks

By Rigval on 16 Feb 2012

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BMW has released official pictures of the latest and possibly greatest M car – the new BMW M6. The new M6 will be previewed at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (in coupe form) and the New York Motor Show (in cabriolet form). It is scheduled for sale by the end of 2012.

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This will be the most powerful BMW one can buy. Everything performance based is inside this car. It has the 'everything except the kitchen sink' phrase written all over it. Let me explain to you readers why.

It shares with the latest BMW M5 the twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine and seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox to the rear wheels via M division’s active differential. This means that the M6 has 552bhp and 502lb ft of torque, enough to push the 1850kg M6 coupe to 100km/h from nought in 4.2sec and to 200km/h in 12.6sec. In standard form, the M6 reaches a top speed limited to 260km/h but if you opt for the optional M Driver’s Package you get 290km/h. Blistering supercar performance is what you get from it but what you don't get from it is truly outrageous supercar looks.

Other interesting performance enhancing goodies that makes the BMW M6 feel and look like a cup of expensively brewed cup of Latte instead of the plain black coffee BMW 6series is that they include a deep front spoiler, widened front wings, a unique front grille, a prominent diffuser. These are largely functional and aimed, for the most part, at providing sufficient cooling air for the engine. The usual performance car quad exhausts and 19in alloy wheels and tyres are also there to make the M6 look like it's something special.

BMW is also offering the new coupé and convertible M6s new optional carbon-ceramic brake discs for the first time. However this is only available in combination with optional 20in wheels, the carbon-ceramic discs measure 410mm up front and 396mm at the rear and are claimed to weigh 19.4kg less in total than the standard steel items. This little fact is very supercar-like in nature and befits a car that has over 550bhp to play around with.

Other weight saving stuff include use of CFRP (carbonfibre-reinforced plastic) roof for the M6 coupé, together with aluminium-skinned doors and bonnet, composite plastic front wings and a glassfibre composite boot lid. Note that the use of exotic materials is very supercar-like in nature too.

Another supercar-like detail in the new BMW M6 is the heavily reworked suspension of the standard BMW 6-series’ double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, wider track widths shared with the M5 saloon and unique dampers, springs and bushing. It also gets all those acronyms of gadgets we like to hear like ABS (anti-lock brakes), DSC (dynamic stability control) ASC (anti-skid control), CBC (cornering brake control), DBC (dynamic brake control) and DBF (dry braking function).

So if you read the whole spec sheet you'd actually notice that this car is actually a supercar aside from the looks. Instead of actually making a supercar BMW decided that there isn't a business case for one. So it took their 6 series and boosted it. It still isn't a Pagani Zonda in terms of outrageousness and a supercar needs to be outrageous. What we're getting from BMW is a fox instead of a wolf. BMW has basically done a whole lot of work on a car that has supercar-like performance but it has decided in actually going for the whole hog. It should as I am still not impressed. While the BMW M6 is a technological tour de force with its massive specs and all, it still does not have supercar looks. BMW still does not have a proper flagship to show off its colours. It would be like as if Audi stopped after producing the RS5 or Mercedes Benz stopping at the SL63 AMG as these two cars are what the base BMW 6 series are meant to be up against.

It's like someone left the icing off the cake or a large battle fleet without a flagship. I still think BMW should consider coming out with a proper flagship to show what its M Division is really worth, somewhat like Audi with its R8 and Mercedes Benz with its AMG SLS. Note that these two cars have engines that are derived from other production vehicles (although the SLS does have a more bespoke engine) but clad in a very unique (and in-your-face) styling, it makes all the difference. BMW still needs that supercar to complete its line-up and not be too calculative about the profit margins all of the time. BMW says it promotes joy, but the lack of a real supercar seems to say otherwise.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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Lucaswh Feb 16 2012 05:30 PM
Of course it doesn't have supercar looks. It's the M6, it's meant to be an executive coupe. Don't take it out on this new car, BMW's decision not to produce a 'supercar'.

By the way, the last 2 paragraphs can be refined. Sounds repetitive and draggy. Just my 2 cents.
Lammy84 Feb 16 2012 08:19 PM
the 6 is still my favourite beemer by a mile
Rigval Feb 17 2012 11:00 AM
sorry about the repetition...maybe I was venting my frustration for not having a new BMW M1 to savour? Or the fact that I was wondering whether people were actually reading my stuff or not? :)
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