"An astonishing machine that nonetheless can't hide the fact you can get the same thrills for less."
The BMW M6 is a rear-wheel-drive super-coupe based on the stylish 6 Series, and sits at the top of BMW's performance car tree. It features a 552bhp, 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and is capable of 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds. It is distinguishable from the standard coupe by its large alloy wheels, aggressive bodykit and flared wheel arches, while at the rear it gets unique M6 badging and quad exhausts. Inside, top-notch BMW build quality is present throughout.
In a straight line, the M6 is devastatingly fast. On paper, the 4.4-litre V8 develops 552bhp and propels the car from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds, but in reality it feels even faster. The huge amounts of power allow the BMW to keep accelerating well past 100mph, while the immediate gear changes from the seven-speed automatic give instant thrust, no matter what gear you’re in. However, the M6 is a big, heavy car and never feels quite as nimble or controlled as an Audi R8. That said, the huge rear tyres provide impressive grip, while the variable suspension, gearbox and steering settings allow the driver to alter the car's behaviour.
Thanks to a selection of driving modes, adjustable through the car's on-board computer – the driver can alter things like the suspension, steering and gearbox settings. This allows total control over how the car behaves and thus the level of comfort or sportiness. The softest settings make the M6 a capable long-distance cruiser, while the quiet interior and soft-but-supportive leather seats make the flagship 6 Series a special place to sit.
As with all BMWs, the build quality is right up there with the best in the industry. The materials are top notch, while everything from the heating controls to the steering feel solid and well built. As for reliability and owner satisfaction, BMW finishes consistently well in the Auto Express Driver Power survey – but it’d be fair to expect greater wear and tear on an M6 than on one of BMWs more mainstream models.
The great thing about the M6 is that it's just as practical as any other 6 Series, but with a storming 552bhp V8 under the bonnet. For a coupe, the boot is generous – boasting 460 litres of loadspace. Measure this against the 330 litres in a Jaguar XKR or the slight 100 litres on offer in an Audi R8, and the M6 looks comparatively huge. What's more, cabin space is generous and there's room in the rear for two averagely sized adults. There aren’t many cars that can mix performance and usability quite as well as the M6.
Value for money
At more than £93,000, the M6 doesn’t come cheap. When you consider the capable and quick 650i can be yours for less than £68,000, you start to wonder whether the M6's initial outlay can be justified. That said, performance is startling and standard kit is generous – dual-zone climate control, sat-nav and a useful heads-up display are all included in the price.
As you’d imagine with a £93,000 super-coupe, the M6 is far from cheap to run. Fuel, tax and insurance will all burn a hole in your pocket, and that's before taking into consideration consumables like tyres, brakes and servicing. Depreciation will be a big hit, too – with the M6 predicted to lose over 50 per cent of its value in just three years.