The New BMW M6 | Part Five (2005)

BMW M6

BMW M6 Boot Decal (2005)

The devil is in the detail

The technical details of this new V10 engine could fill a book but to highlight just three items:

  • There are ten individual throttle butterflies, each individually electronically controlled, which read the position of the throttle pedal 200 times a second.
  • A clever transverse lubrication system ensures that the two cylinder heads receive oil even when 1g+ cornering forces are experienced and a quasi-dry sump system keeps the bottom end lubricated even under extreme 1.3g braking.
  • The spark plugs use ionic current technology to act as a sensor and inform the MS S65 control unit about combustion conditions and control engine knock, as well as igniting the fuel / air mixture.
Seventh heaven

To extract the best from this gem of a V10 engine BMW has developed a seven speed Sequential M Gearbox (SMG). This manual gearbox is an all-new transmission designed to handle up to 550Nm of torque and engine speeds of up to 8,500rpm, giving capacity to spare. Naturally, seven gears allows shorter steps from one gear to the next than a five or six-speed ‘box so this gearbox matches torque to the prodigious power output and translates it into maximum forward thrust.

Drivelogic - bespoke gear changes

BMW is the first manufacturer to offer such a seven-speed sequential gearbox in a production car. It also features Drivelogic - eleven gear change programmes available to every driver to select his or her preferences.

The selection of programmes is made by pressing a button next to the gear lever. A preferred default mode can also be programmed into MDrive Manager via the iDrive menu and activated by the MDrive button on the steering wheel.

Six programmes in S mode are manual changes that must be determined by the driver – either using the gear lever (forward for down changes, back for up) or the paddles behind the steering wheel (left for down changes, right for up). The remaining five in D mode are automated changes.

Each programme differs in gear change time - the higher the programme the shorter and faster the shift times and the longer the engine holds onto the revs. In the automated modes use of the throttle can influence the change: for example, releasing the throttle encourages an up-shift while pressing it harder calls up a down change.

Ten times quicker than you or I

The SMG system in the current M3 (SMG II) is already very fast but the new seven-speed SMG in the M6 (SMG III) is 20 per cent quicker still. To put this in perspective the new gearbox can make changes in 50 milliseconds while a seasoned driver will take around half a second with a normal manual gearbox.

BMW M6 | Part Six
Published 5 November 2005 Melanie Carter

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