New Car: 2013 BMW M6

After a brief sabbatical, BMW’s M6 coupe and convertible are back and prepped to reassume their duties as BMW’s two-door M5 alternatives. The M5 and M6 share most of their underpinnings, with the latter delivering more style than the former—as well as reduced practicality. If you’re wondering why the droptop M6 is a 2012 and the coupe a 2013, it’s because BMW is staggering the launch of each version. The convertible lands in dealerships this June, with the fixed-roof car following a few months later.

Like the latest M5, the new M6 ditches the previous model’s high-revving V-10 engine for a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. The engine is a gem—we had a chance to fully test it in the M5—and it makes a whopping 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. As in the M5, it’s backed here by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and power is apportioned to each rear wheel by BMW’s torque-vectoring active M differential. Although we recently confirmed that the new M5 will be available with a manual transmission in North America, BMW isn’t saying yet whether the stick will be offered on the newest M6. That said, the last-gen M6 was available with a manual, and this new car is again being pitched as sportier than the already-ballistic M5. So we figure there’s hope.

BMW claims the M6 coupe reaches 60 mph in about 4.2 seconds and the convertible in 4.3—those figures are likely conservative. For reference, the company projected a 4.4-second 0-to-60 time for the new M5; in our hands, the über-sedan hit 60 in just 3.7 ticks.

Versus a regular 6-series, the M6 gets a rigidly mounted rear subframe, an M-specific suspension with Dynamic Damper Control active dampers, and uniquely tuned hydraulic-assist steering. As in the M5, the M Drive system allows drivers to tailor nearly every performance parameter of the M6, including suspension stiffness, steering effort and feedback, the quickness and severity of the transmission’s shifts, and myriad traction- and stability-control thresholds. Braking is handled by 15.7-inch front and 15.6-inch rear cast-iron discs squeezed by six-piston calipers. A first for an M car, the M6 will be available with carbon-ceramic brake rotors as an option. Measuring an even-larger 16.1 inches up front and an unchanged 15.6 in the rear, the ceramic jobs promise to resist fade better than the standard brakes while also saving more than 40 pounds of unsprung weight. (We have to imagine that this option will be extended to the M5 soon, although BMW won’t confirm the point.)
Thanks to: Car and Driver


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