Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Don Cheng
Before picking up our M6, our team had a lengthy conversation about how BMW has one of the most attractive palettes of blue in the automotive industry. From the sporty Estoril Blue found on modern M-Sports, Long Beach Blue on the X6 M, Yas Marina Blue on the M3, to Monte Carlo Blue on the M5, we love them all. One could even say we got a case of the BMW blues.
But after snatching up the keys and gazing at our new 2016 BMW M6 test vehicle, we were awe-stricken and quickly came to the conclusion that this was our new favourite shade. BMW calls it San Marino Blue, named after a mountainous country near Italy and is exclusive to the M6 at no extra charge. It’s a deep blue with a purple hue that’s classy and not entirely offensive. Think of it like the old Interlagos Blue but richer and shinier with a deeper lustre.
Mixed with the M6’s low and muscular stance with rounded shoulders, BMW’s majestic grand tourer speeds along like an aerodynamic missile. It will take a keen eye – we still get mixed up - to notice the mild changes for the 2016 model. The front end now comes with standard LED headlights and the front grill and lights have also been given a slight redesign. Available in three body styles, a coupe, cabriolet, and four-door Gran Coupe, the M6 offers itself to a wide audience.
BMW hasn’t forgot about the track fiends either – and is offering a new Competition Package ($8,500) that boasts more power than ever before. Surging the M6’s output to 600 hp, it trumps the 2015 Competition Package (575 hp) and the base M6 (560 hp) by quite a substantial figure. Add on stiffened springs, dampers, bushings, anti-roll bars, two-tone 20-inch wheels, black exhaust tips (replaced here by titanium ones), a sport exhaust system, revised steering and a less intrusive stability control system, and one could argue that you’re really getting your money’s worth. If their mission was to turn the M6 into a part-time track car, this is the option that will do just that.
I’ll be honest, on paper the M6 is poised to deliver the total package. It has stunning looks, sounds good, but is it more than you would ever need? With an as-tested price of $150,500, there are quite a number of cars I can list off the top of my head that pose as compelling alternatives and are more performance-oriented: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Maserati GranTurismo, so why would one choose the M6?
For starters, the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 found under the hood is a mighty force in the playing field. Also found in the M5 and X5 M, it brings such character to the driving experience. There’s also no denying the effectiveness of two turbos mounted within the V8. It provides gargantuan loads of torque with little or no lag.
Mated with an equally quick 7-speed dual clutch transmission, the M6 provides instant shifts that make it all seem too easy. Before you even realize it, you’re hitting the brake to stay under the limit and frankly enough, during our weeklong test we lost count of how many times the 130 km/h speed limiter chimed and pinged us with warnings. A six-speed manual is available at no extra charge but we found this dual-clutch setup to be more favourable for the smooth cruising nature of the 6-series platform.
Regardless of power output, the M6 can’t escape the laws of physics and this heavy grand tourer weighs in at a whopping SUV-style 1,914 kg. BMW engineers have done miracles to make it handle like it does – it feels light on its feet with more precision than it’s elongated hood with drooping overhang may suggest – but in the end, it’s a grand tourer that feels more at home on the highway than it does on winding roads.
It’s terrifyingly easy to break traction with all that muscular power, yet even the novice driver could find excitement in the upper limits and deliver mischievous but manageable fishtails with only a flick of the wheel. As with all of BMW’s M vehicles, you have the choice of customizing the car’s suspension, throttle response, and steering weight into three intensities, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+.
In our opinion, it’s best to leave everything in Sport. Even though the M6 stuck with a proper hydraulic steering rack rather than the numb electric steering found on other BMWs, we still felt a lot of interference. Sport+ feels artificially heavy and not as direct as the old M3s of before. It’s too frisky at low speeds, where first and second gear delivers choppy inputs if you’re too light on the throttle. Sport on all the settings is the perfect porridge temperature – the throttle response is instant, the steering is progressive, and the suspension is firm but not terribly taxing, and I like a bit of lean in the corners.
I still regard the noise emitted from the last generation E63 M6 to be one of the best soundtracks to ever grace the Bavarian badge. Turbo-fed engines just can’t quite match the thrill and frenzy of a naturally aspirated V10 engine, but the F12 M6 is certainly their best effort so far. Despite the forced induction, the M6 delivers a beautiful and authoritative roar on start-up. At high revs, it produces a guttural and soulful noise but let the needle swing lower and the M6 turns into a silent and peaceful cruiser.
The 2016 BMW M6 indulges in the traditional BMW interior formula but strays away from it with a wider center console and a heavier emphasis towards a driver-centric cabin. You sit nice and low in the car, caressed by infinitely adjustable sport seats with a bottom-massaging function. Our particular M6 was graced in a lovely Silverstone leather interior – it’s a soft silver shade but I personally prefer a classier tan or brown colour matched with the exterior blue.
The BMW M6 with the Competition Package knowingly blurs the lines between a GT car and a traditional M performance car. It blends the incredibly cozy ride and library-like cabin of the 650i with the hilarity of that 4.4-litre V8 engine with quad titanium exhausts rolling out the rear. How would I spec out my M6? The practical side of me tells me to opt for the four-door Gran Coupe – it has two more functional doors and doesn’t sacrifice that beautiful roofline – but then I’d look at the whopping gas bill and instead aim for the more sensible 640i and bank the extra cash. It’s more practical, more efficient, and when you add on the optional M-sport package, it looks almost as good as the M6.
Don’t get me wrong, the M6 is a wonderful car, in fact it’s the most expensive and most powerful BMW I have ever driven. It’s also the best handling, the most track-oriented, and also the most beautiful Bavarian to ever charm my eyes. The stance, the drama, the attention; the M6 has it all. But unless you plan on taking it to the track, those power figures are more than you would ever need.
However, some buyers find comfort knowing that there’s a dormant shark lying under their engine hood, awaiting the day the gas pedal gets floored and every ounce of juice is squeezed out of the vehicle. Only then will the M6 feel duly justified. With that said, there are an endless number of cars you can get for $150,000 that offer sharper handling and faster lap times than the M6, but the BMW is the only one that offers it all in an invigorating blend of comfort, luxury, and performance wrapped under a beautiful sheath of San Marino Blue.
型号 Model: 2016 BMW M6 Coupé
顏色 Paint Type: San Marino Blue
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $125,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $150,500
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,851
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,898 / 1,899 / 1,374
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,914
引擎 Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 600 hp @ 6,000 - 7,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 500 lb-ft @ 1,500 - 6,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 16.1 / 10.9 / 13.7
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport; 265/35R20 front; 295/30R20 rear