BMW M6 Review
I’ve had a thing for the BMW 6-Series ever since “Spenser: for Hire” shared the airways with Mötley Crüe. While Robert Urich had a cool Mustang, Avery Brooks had a vehicle worthy of his icy-cold demeanor: a white BMW 635CSi. Could there ever be a better vehicle in which a man could do the right thing by any means necessary? There is now. The BMW M6 has tons of M-tuned street cred and many of the right moves. Many, but not all.
The M6’ silhouette screams greatness without saying a word. The generous space between the front wheels and firewall, its swoopy lines and perfect proportions make for a killer profile. The model's lowered stance and wikkid 19” rims add animus aplenty. Unfortunately, viewed from any other angle, Bimmer's streetwise badass looks like a short-bus dumbass. Bangled lumps and bumps and disjointed details do nothing to help the model's G-force gravitas, and much to remove it.
The M6’ love-hate theme continues within. The cockpit has the perfect amount of flair for a top-dollar German coupe. Occupants are surrounded by decadent materials, from aromatic leather to slick burled wood to brushed aluminum accents. A sumptuous pair of endlessly supportive bucket seats coddle the most demanding derriere. The M-series steering wheel is the stuff of legend; its beefy rim, intuitive buttonage and fancy trimmings are a hand magnet for the sporting pistonhead. When it comes to sybaritic helms, no other carmaker comes close.
And that's it. At a robust $104k asking price, why isn’t the dash wrapped in leather, the headliner in Alcantara and the seats cooled by fans? While we’re at it, give the carbon fiber roof its walking papers and put a power moonroof in its place; the 3900 pound M6 should be as concerned with its grand touring weight as McDonald’s is about their clientele’s clogged arteries.
From here its best to forge on with the usual complaint about iDrive; a stern taskmaster who neither listens to your voice commands nor has the kindness to let you watch the road while adjusting the stereo or HVAC. No matter how BMW spins their collective propellers over this feature, technology was never meant to enslave, especially on a high performance grand touring coupe. Mein kingdom for a rheostat!
Wishes run deep in the M6, deepest of all within the SMG trans-mishap. Farago mightily proclaimed the latest SMG to be the world’s worst transmission. Be it in grandma mode or full-tilt boy racer tuning, every torturous upshift sends the driveline thudding, clunking and wincing in pain. SMG combines the spastic behavior of a beat up automatic transmission with the teeth chattering smoothness of a fried clutch. It is, quite literally, the worst of both worlds.
One bit of Bavarian technology works as intended: the Corvette-esque heads up display puts relevant information in an honest-to-God user-friendly format. So good, in fact, it helps the driver make sense out of the SMG’s nonsensical behavior. And when you find the right stretch of tarmac, you’ll find something wonderful in this sea of darkness.
The M6 takes to curves like a teenager to MySpace. The stiff chassis, sticky rubber, poised suspension and 500hp V-10's colossal twist turns the BMW M6 into a tenacious corner carver ready to consume your soul without missing a beat. Words cannot do justice to the handling perfection that is the M6. When you push its limits, the M6 encourages you to dig deeper, surrendering yourself to the siren song of its flat cornering and near limitless torque curve, a powerband that extends all the way to a mind-numbing 8200rpm.
This is where the M6 gets a new lease on life, where the cohesive sum becomes greater than its disjointed parts. Even the SMG makes sense, putting the power down with mad F1 downshifting skills. The precisely weighted steering speaks to you like your four-wheeled soul mate. Excitement uber alles baby!
But this whip is still down for a low stress interstate jaunt. the ride quality is respectable even with rubber band thin sidewalls. Extensive sound insulation keeps the stellar thirteen speaker audio system in the forefront, Even the bustled trunk is large enough for a relaxing week in wine country. Combined with the sporty ambiance of its 2+2 coupe configuration, the BMW M6 leaves its luxo-sport competition in the weeds.
But BMW’s M6 is still a machine in dire need of an exorcist. With its attention to detail comes the devil of belabored styling and infuriating technology. Such fine road manners come at the expense of a bi-polar transmission and an engine with a lusty appetite for gas (12/18) and even oil (begging for more after 3000 miles). Even with the demons in situ, the BMW M6 is one of the finest sporting coupes on the road. Can you imagine its potential if BMW ever deigned to learn from its mistakes?
[Sajeev and RF discuss the BMW M6 below.]
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