Some will argue there’s no logical need for the new BMW M6 Gran Coupe. If you want the ultimate four-door M, the M5 has you covered. Fancy something sportier? Well, how about the M6 Coupe and Convertible? All share the same engine and most of the same chassis parts, and yet the M6 Gran Coupe is a welcome addition that might actually make the others redundant.
There are no surprises in the make-up of the M6 Gran Coupe. It is, to all intents and purposes, a stretched M6 Coupe. That means an extra 4.4" of metal between the wheels, enough to slot in an extra door on each side, making access to the rear seats easier, and giving those occupants lots more room to stretch out.
But potential buyers might not be swayed by such practicalities. They’re more likely to be attracted by the styling – and who can blame them? The regular 6 Series Gran Coupe is an elegant machine, and that’s not lost in translation to M6 guise. But now it has a dose of menace that’s unmistakably from the school of M car design.
Up front there are larger air intakes and a bespoke kidney grille, complemented by high-end Adaptive LED lights with a unique signature. On the fenders, behind the arch-filling 20" rims, are characteristic gills, while the rear view is dominated by a quad-pipe layout. They attract the onlooker to the carbon fiber diffuser, which is matched to the carbon roof. No doubt, there was talk about weight saving and a lower center of gravity, but it looks damned good regardless.
The same can be said for the cockpit. All Gran Coupes come with an opulent cabin, but the M-specific add-ons raise the bar. Some won’t like the bewildering selection of driver customization options, but allowing three modes for individual sub-systems like the power steering, throttle map, stability control, damping and transmission calibration endows the Gran Coupe with an impressive breadth of ability.
Thankfully, like the M5 and M6, a favorite shortcut can be grouped together under one of two pre-set programs, which can be selected via buttons on the slim-rimmed steering wheel. Amusingly, if your selection includes “DSC off” the car asks for confirmation before relinquishing control. “Are you really sure you want to do that?”
Leave everything in Comfort mode and the M6 glides demurely. The exhaust barks at start-up, but otherwise the seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch transmission gives smooth changes and is keen to be in high gears in a bid to save fuel.
The suspension, despite having to disguise low-profile tires, does a very good job of absorbing whatever the road surface can throw at it, leaving the car comfortable and relaxing to drive. Admittedly, it’s firmer than lesser Gran Coupe models, but it’s still comfy enough for long distance cruising.
Go to the other extreme, with all settings in Sport Plus, and the M6 comes alive. Response from the engine changes from rapid to searing, and the V8 twin-turbo makes a unique turbine-like roar as it hurtles towards the redline. That’s when you notice the M-specific shift lights and, if you’ve taken control, you’ll flick the right-hand paddle to prompt the next ratio to bang into place – and it’s nothing short of ferocious as it does so.
Arrive at a tight corner and the brakes do a great job of hauling down the Gran Coupe from speed; the throttle is blipped automatically on each downshift. Admittedly, our test car was fitted with the optional carbon-ceramic stoppers, which aren’t cheap. However, the M6 is supremely stable, the longer wheelbase aiding composure.
Fortunately, its length doesn’t compromise the fun to be had. And despite an arsenal of cutting-edge safety electronics and driver aids, the M6 Gran Coupe is very engaging to drive hard. It may be doing everything for you, but it lets you think you’re partially responsible for the insane cornering speeds.
The regular Gran Coupe is one of our favorite GTs, with its athletic body, intimate cabin and accessible performance. The M6 version adds brutal performance to that mix, creating a four-door musclecar with luxurious appointments for rear passengers, opulence up front plus the engine and chassis of a racecar. If you’re not worried about weight and are looking for a luxury sport car, the new M6 Gran Coupe has to be on the shopping list.
2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Layout longitudinal front-mounted engine, RWD
Engine 4395cc S63B44Tü V8 M Twin Power DOHC direct injection, two twin-scroll turbochargers, reverse flow, cross-bank exhaust manifold, Valvetronic, Double Vanos
Transmission seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission, Active M Differential
Suspension Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
Brakes 15.7" rotors f, 15.6" r drilled, six-piston calipers f, single-piston r (optional 16.1" f, 15.6" r carbon-ceramic rotors)
Wheels & Tires 20x9.5" f, 20x10.5" r Style 433M wheels; 265/35 R20 f, 295/30 R20 r
Exterior M-specific front spoiler, flared fenders, side gills, mirrors, rear apron, diffuser, carbon composite roof
MSRP $113895 (inc D&D)
Power 560hp at 6000-7000rpm
Torque 500 lb-ft at 1500-5750rpm
Top Speed 155mph (limited)
Weight 4134 lb