2013 BMW M6 Coupe Road Test Review

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To think of the 2013 BMW M6 coupe as a BMW 650i coupe on steroids would be pretty close to the mark. More muscular in appearance, and way more aggressive in demeanour, the new M6 coupe feels even more in your face than its 2013 BMW M6 convertible sibling. Which is pretty ironic, as the two share the exact same powerplant, drivetrain, suspension, and body modifications.

The 2013 M6 is powered by a 560-horsepower version of BMWs 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8. Configured so the turbos actually nestle in the V between the cylinder banks, the engine also produces 500 ft-lbs of torque at 1,500 rpm with essentially no turbo lag. Given the car is flaunting that much torque so low in the rev range, you'd expect the M6 to be quick and it absolutely is. A 4.2-second zero to 100 km/h is quoted by BMW, although in our impromptu testing, we consistently saw times in the mid-to high three-second range.

Pumping that much power to the rear wheels requires some determined engineering to get it to be effective. In this regard, BMW's design team have fitted the M6 (and its M5 relative) with BMW's active rear differential lock, which uses an electric actuator mounted on the differential housing to apportion torque accurately between the rear wheels. This ensures both are fed optimally to keep things "in line" so to speak.

For better or for worse, the engineers at BMW have also given each driver the ability to absolutely tailor each aspect of the car's driving experience to their own tastes. Steering effort, suspension firmness, throttle response, and shift speeds are all individually adjustable through three ranges: comfort, sport and sport-plus. Separate buttons on the centre console enable the selection of each parameter. They can also be set in the iDrive system. When you find two combinations you like best for specific situations, they can be stored and called up at the touch of one of the two "M" buttons on the steering wheel.

The aural signature of the M6 Coupe while demonstrating its extraordinary accelerative prowess is absolutely awe-inspiring. It's a highly refined snarl, rather than the rolling burble of a traditional V8. If you've heard the scream of a Ferrari V8, it's similar, but delivered a couple of octaves lower in the tonal range. Also, the engine snaps, crackles and pops-much like a famous Kellogg's rice based breakfast cereal-on downshifts. The sounds the engine makes are so delicious, you'll intentionally run the M6 a gear or two lower than you need to just to hear it.

Speaking of gears, the BMW M6 Coupe is fitted with a seven-speed dual wet clutch semi automatic transmission (referred to as the M-DCT in BMW-speak). The transmission will shift itself when left to its own devices, but is also capable of handing over full manual control of its ratios to you, sans the need to lift your left leg for clutch duties. Shifts are positive, quick and smooth. The engine barely pauses for a breath between gear changes. When you call for an upshift, you just hear the revs drop and feel the car accelerate harder as revs begin to build again immediately after the shift is implemented. On downshifts, the transmission blips the throttle so revs are precisely matched.

For those of you who absolutely insist on operating a clutch for yourselves, a six-speed manual M6 will come online for the 2014 model year. But frankly, having driven the 2013 M5 with this exact same engine and a six-speed manual-forget the stick-the dual-clutch transmission is the best move. You get all the greatest qualities of a manual transmission, but with considerably more quickness-as well as an extra gear to work with. In fact, we found the six-speed manual gearbox to be somewhat vague, with long throws after sampling the engine paired with the M-DCT. The six-speed manual felt archaic and completely out of character. Get the M-DCT and don't look back, you're not missing anything.

On the other hand, whenever you park the M6 Coupe and walk away from it, you'll absolutely want to look back. This is easily one of the most handsome cars on the road. The already sleek shark-like look of the 6 Series is enhanced beautifully in M6 livery. The deeper front airdam with the large air inlets, the tasteful (and functional) side gills in the fenders, the carbon panel in the roof (which adds lightness and lowers the car's centre of gravity), the huge M-specific 19-inch wheels (yes, 20s are optional, with the same spoke pattern), and the four exhaust outlets all combine to tastefully telegraph the M6 coupe's prodigious capabilities-while simultaneously delighting the eye of the beholder.

Naturally, interior accommodations are superlative. Leather is the upholstery of choice for the seats, which also offer additional bolstering in all the right places above those fitted to the standard 6 Series cars. Supple hides also cover the centre console and door panels. If you'd like you can get it for the dash and even the seatbacks. Naturally, the steering wheel is an M-specific model. Available trims include carbon fibre, grey wood, or oak-buyer's choice, no extra charge. Inside and out, this is one very good looking ride.

To say the 2013 BMW M6 Coupe is also an absolute joy to drive hard and fast is like saying hot fudge sundaes taste good. The collective response to that statement is, "Well, duh!" On the move, acceleration, braking, steering and cornering are all extremely exhilarating. The BMW is exceptionally surefooted, rides smoothly, and delivers transcendent performance-without forcing its owner to deal with a stiff suspension system, noisy tires and recalcitrant steering at low speeds. This is quite simply the most polished version of BMW's most sophisticated high performance coupe yet.

Pricing starts at $124,900.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, BMW, 2013, M6, $99,999+,

Organizations: BMW

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