Strengths and weaknesses:
- engine strength
- technological refinement
- superb handling/steering/braking’ body design
- cabin refinement
- can only hold a maximum of four hot babes
BMW exceeds expectations with new M6s
"The car is fast, clever, competent and loaded, and it makes all the right sounds."
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – I try very hard to not be one of those wheedling proles who goes nuts over exotic cars he will never buy in real life. While the price of the rebirthed M6 is yet-to-be announced in Canada, I’ll hazard a guess it will easily crest a hundred grand when it hits dealerships across the country in late summer 2012.
Truly a prohibitive price point for one such as me, but I’ll be up front: I am delighted with this thing and I want one.
The car is fast, clever, competent and loaded, and it makes all the right sounds as it claws the highways with power and handling that is already legendary, and is going to get more so come June 2012, when the Cabriolet model begins to appear (the Cab will be branded as a 2012 model, and it will be followed later by the coupe, which will be a 2013)
During some spirited driving in the hills and on the highways of southern California, the car demonstrates everything for which previous generations were known, and lives up to the boasts of its proud Bavarian parents.
Five hundred and sixty horses lurk beneath the hood, with the (new) 4.4 litre V8 powerplant pushing them to the wheels with monstrous torque (500 lb.-ft., coming on between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm); but it’s the refined nature of the company’s twin-scroll turbo monster that really makes it special.
The smoothness that BMW has bred into the engine, and a wonderfully understated exhaust note that announces the power without making an obnoxious ass of itself in traffic, will at once speak to the cognoscenti and cut the attention-seeking poseurs from the crowd.
The third-gen M does its attention seeking with beautifully sculpted sheetmetal rather than big stupid noise, and it draws you in with its perfected lines, modern-art wheels (20-inch forged alloy) and note-perfect interior before it blows you away with thrust.
And there is thrust aplenty from the M6 – BMW states an acceleration time of 4.3 seconds for the Cabriolet to get to 100 km/h, and I’ll take it at its word because my own tests here on the roads near Santa Barbara are, um, unscientific.
Using it in straight-up, start-it-up-and-drive mode (leaving the seven-speed, double clutch automatic in its default mode) the M is already a thoroughbred runner with enough muscle to please all but the most jaded of performance car operators; but taken into “ M dynamic mode” adds a whole new dimension to an already exciting drive.
An owner can configure his or her own ‘presets’; combinations of suspension management, steering dynamics and level of stability control, and save them; to be brought on at the touch of a button (one of two “M” mode buttons mounted on the steering wheel). The company’s product specialists have been kind enough to configure a couple presets up for the cars I used during the North American launch, sort of incrementally elevating the road manners with the first, and setting the second for an optimized, traction-control-free blast of yarbles-out driving that feels wonderful on the slaloming canyon roads.
It’s totally inappropriate in this configuration for real-world driving on populated, high-traffic roads, of course; this is a ‘track’ setting combination, but it’s still fun; and extremely noticeable in the way the car’s character changes when the button is pushed.
As for the cabin of this halo machine, I will say only this (as space grows short): see one. Touch one.
Hit a dealership this summer when this car becomes available and sit inside the cabrio and feel every surface, every aspect within the cabin. Play with the switches and get a comprehensive rundown of the avalanche of technology and high-end design that reflects at you from every angle within this car.
Drop the top and marvel at the rear passenger legroom the company has somehow engineered into the cab.
Then gasp at the price, which will be announced by then, and tell me if you’re not delighted by this thing ... and if you don’t feel you want one, too.