From a side view, the shape of the front wings has been modified to suit the larger, but lighter wheels, which weigh nearly two kgs less than comparable ‘normal’ light-alloy wheels. The wheels are shod with high performance Continental tyres.
Low, and dynamic re-styled side sills emphasize the length of the M6 and optimise the flow of air along the underside of the car, improving its aerodynamic properties. As do the new door mirrors with their dramatic two-tone design. Honed in the wind tunnel, they contribute towards reducing lift on the front axle.
Weight to the rearBattery and fuel tank placement was replicated from the M5 design following a redesign of the 6 Series Coupé boot floor. The battery location over the rear axle and the 70-litre plastic fuel tank situated in front of the rear axle helps weight distribution front to rear. A jet pump and pressure-controlled dual pump in the fuel tank permanently ensure a reliable fuel supply.
M body coloursLaunched on the M5 in May, four exclusive metallic paints - Sepang Bronze, Silverstone II, Indianapolis Red and Interlagos Blue - are also available on M6. Other colours available include Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic and Silver-grey metallic. The air vent gills in the front wings, the boot lid and the doorsill trims all bear the M6 logo.
The interior: sports car characteristics with a touch of comfort
The M6 interior offers the sporting touches and luxurious traits expected of such a thoroughbred sports car. Passengers are presented with performance-related functions, but space, comfort and safety remain fundamental criteria.
A total of six airbags, belt force limiters, intelligent safety electronics and the automatic or manual emergency call via the BMW Assist function (if the car is fitted with Bluetooth and telematics capability) are all standard.
Even with regard to luggage space, the car compares well with the M5 super-saloon. Confirming its credentials as a cross-country (or continent) GT, the M6 offers 450 litres boot space, just 50 litres shy of the M5.
Sporting luxury inside
The M6 features Merino leather upholstery as standard with Full and Perforated Merino leathers offered as an option. Full Merino leather adds a leather dashboard and centre console while Perforated Merino leather features active ventilation of the driver and the front passenger seats.
Comfort is all-important when seated at the wheel of a sports car and the M6’s contoured M seat is both supportive and comfortable. Featuring passive backrest width adjustment that offers superb side support, they also come with seat memory function, seat heating for driver and front seat passenger, and an electrically adjustable lumbar support.
2 + 2 = room for four
Space in the rear will always be a compromise for a sports car, but the new M6 offers sufficient room for two youngsters, or even two adults on short journeys. Access is easy as the front seats slide a long way forwards and tip, whilst contoured back rests on the rear seats ensure good support.
At the wheel
The newly designed M leather multi-function sports steering wheel is ergonomically designed with the SMG shift paddles (down on the left, up on the right) within fingertip reach.
The M6 features the same new design of speedometer and rev counter as introduced on the M5. A round black dial with white numerals and the typical M red needles provide all essential information. Yellow and red warning fields indicate rev limits while the engine is warming. An oil temperature gauge and odometer complete the instruments while a display between the speedo and tacho shows the SMG gear selected and Drivelogic transmission programme operation. It can also display the engine’s oil level and on-board computer functions.
MDrive is a new function activated by the M button on the steering wheel. It enables the driver to change the smooth and comfortable grand tourer into a thoroughbred sports car at the touch of a button.
At the press of a button the following functions are activated (after they have been pre-selected by the driver from the MDrive Manager menu within iDrive):
- The power button - P400, P500 or P500 Sport programmes
- SMG Drivelogic - which of the 11 programmes is preferred
- DSC - on, MDynamic mode or off
- EDC - Sport, Normal or Comfort damper settings
- HUD - normal or M specific display
All the driver has to do is select his favourite settings within iDrive then press the M button on the steering wheel.
The standard Head-up Display (HUD) provides driving information directly in the driver’s line of sight - i.e. it appears to be at the end of the bonnet. The driver can choose to have the normal HUD display, including navigation information, or specific M information.
The M-specific display shows engine revs in a coloured map image that flash at the point of gear change, gear in mesh and vehicle speed. In either display the Check Control messages such as “door open” or “low fuel” are still shown.
The M6 sees BMW entering a new niche market. Never before has the company offered a high-performance 2+2 sports GT that is able to stand toe-to-toe with Italian supercars.
Only 400 cars will be available in the UK in 2006 and the waiting list already covers that allocation. Performance-wise the car competes with far more expensive cars from the likes of Ferrari and Aston Martin, and at £80,755, outperforms many similarly priced cars. Typically, owners will have at least two other cars in their garage and will be slightly younger than the driver of a standard 6 Series Coupé (mid-40s compared to late-40s).
As with the M5 that was launched in May 2005, BMW UK is working hard to ensure that prospectors do not benefit at the expense of genuine customers on the waiting list.
Owners will be predominantly male, mostly successful businessmen or entrepreneurs. And with the combination of searing performance and practicality, they will use the car day-to-day, rather than as a weekend toy.
“BMW is enjoying a very successful new decade with record sales in the UK and the M badge is a key special ingredient in our achievements,” said Jim O’Donnell, managing director of BMW (UK) Ltd.
“The M5, and now the M6, are fantastically aspirational models within our range. They are an inspiration for true car enthusiasts and continue to set the benchmark for performance versions of standard road cars. For many of our customers, the M cars are the reason for joining the BMW family, whether they own a new M6 or our 1 Series sports hatch, where the company’s engineering principles, honed at the M division, clearly filter down through the range.
“As showcases for technological innovation, combined with driving dynamics that continue to appeal to the enthusiast, special cars like the M6 put the M in BMW,” O’Donnell concluded.Published 5 November 2005