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BMW M6 Cabriolet (BMW/BMW)
BMW M6 Cabriolet (BMW/BMW)

First Drive

BMW M6: Nifty, nimble and ready to race Add to ...

BMW says the M6 is a high-performance sports car designed for track use, yet for every day it is comfortable, relatively fuel-efficient and loaded with features. That is all true.

Under the hood of the 2013 M6 Coupe and 2012 Cabriolet is the most powerful engine (560 horsepower) in a production model from BMW M GmbH. It is mated to a seven-speed M-Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT) capable of handling great gobs of torque (500 lb-ft). To get that power to the wheels, BMW has fitted the M6 with what is called an Active M Differential capable of doing a spectacular job of transferring power between the rear wheels.

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But the engine…

The new 4.4-litre V-8, turbocharged, spins up more than 12 per cent more power than the V-10 of two years ago. Torque is up more than 30 per cent, yet BMW insists that fuel consumption will be down by 30 per cent-plus.

In the driving, you need to know that this V-8 loves to rev. The 4.4-litre engine develops a peak output between 5,750 and 7,000 rpm, while its maximum torque is there between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm. Redline: 7,200 rpm and it’s limited electronically form going higher.

BMW’s engineers love to carry on about how well this engine breathes and responds and why that’s so. I’ll just tell you that the 0-100 km/h time for the coupe is 4.2 seconds, 4.3 seconds for the Cabriolet. And the sprint from 0-200 km/h takes only 12.6 seconds for the Coupé and 13.1 for the Cabriolet.

Meanwhile, the seven-speed double-clutch transmission delivers fast and clean gear changes in both automatic mode (D) and manual mode (S). No clutch pedal is required for manual gearshifts and if you leave your foot buried on the throttle the changes come with no fuss and a nice throttle blip.

To let you hustle along you have Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) electronically controlled shock absorbers to vary the damping based on the driving conditions. “Comfort” is nice for more sedate runs, while “Sport Plus” stiffens the suspension to a point that unless you’re feeling really frisky is too much for long stretches in the saddle.

The brakes are amazing, the steering is tight and generous with the feedback and for a heavy car, the M6 convertible is agile as Lebron James in the paint.

jcato@globeandmail.com

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