Made up of more than 1,000 individual components it co-ordinates and controls all engine and gearbox functions by using three 32-bit processors that can perform a truly incredible 200 million individual calculations each second. This represents a performance increase by a factor of eight when compared with the M3 unit launched four years ago and MS S65 has ten times the memory capacity too.
So it is abundantly clear that the M6 engine has technological principles and production methods in common with the F1 engine. It is the product of technological transfer. The M6 blocks are cast at the BMW light alloy foundry in Landshut - the same place as the F1 blocks are born - before they journey to the special engine plant in Munich for assembly.
The engine features a Formula 1-inspired bedplate design for the crankcase that provides a compact and extremely stiff configuration to withstand the very high engine speeds, combustion pressures and high temperatures. Another motorsport-inspired technology is that each of the ten cylinders has its own throttle butterfly and each cylinder bank is served by its own activator.
Dropping the roof
The final piece in the F1 / M6 jigsaw is the attempt by the engineers to lighten the car using carbon fibre technology never before applied to a series production car.
The incorporation of a BMW-manufactured carbon fibre roof, bonded to the body, contributes to a 45kg weight reduction over a ‘standard’ steel car, for example, but also benefits the car’s dynamics in a far more subtle manner. As weight is removed from the top of the car, its centre of gravity is lowered (by as much as 60mm in the case of the M6), and its handling and performance subsequently improved. Again, BMW’s F1 experience has helped the engineers incorporate carbon fibre into the M6 design, both on the roof and on the front and rear bumper supports.
The fastest and most high tech BMW ever proudly displays its F1-inspired roof as an unpainted crowning achievement, but at the heart of the M6 lies the true glory behind the car.
Committed to ‘natural’ power
The V10 engine configuration has so far been the preserve of racing cars and exotic low volume sports cars. BMW is, therefore, breaking the mould with this new five-litre unit: it produces 507hp, thereby achieving a specific power output of no less than 101.4hp per litre - a remarkable result from such a large capacity engine.