I’d like to get the $127,900 price tag out of the way, right up front here where it’s on your mind. But I can’t.
Because the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe – dripping with technology and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.2 seconds – only starts at $127,900. BMW Canada generously loaded up the options on my tester to the tune of $160,950.
For that, you get something different and faster than Superman. If the M6 Gran Coupe had wings, it’s be vying with the F35 for a place in Canada’s air force. Yes, this Bimmer flies. That is all the more impressive because this M6 is based on the 7-Series. The M6 Gran Coupe is also as heavy as an F35, or thereabouts: 2,009 kilograms.
All that bulk seems odd for a) a BMW that spins “Efficient Dynamics” at every turn; and b) a 2+2-seater with a back seat as inefficient as a Senate expense investigation. Think of this M6 as a coupe with rear doors, and tight seating for two people you don’t like much.
Some background: The Gran Coupe is part of a trio of four-door German luxury cars designed to project the impression of a two-door. Audi’s is the A7, with the third being the Mercedes CLS.
In BMW’s case, the M6 had been absent from the lineup for around two years. How odd. The M6 badge has been a staple at BMW since the first-gen of 1987, though by today’s standards the “Shark” – BMW’s then-flagship coupe – was powered by fairly modest 256-horsepower inline-six-cylinder.
In any case, the M6 Gran Coupe and its ilk are cars that deliver the impression of a coupe and the ride of a sports car. Our friends at BMW say that, in this class, the Gran Coupe is a pure driving car with a 4+1 seating configuration. Yes, we’re told the rear seat has space for a third. Such a quaint notion and I would disabuse BMW of it. It’s tight in the back for two, much less three.
Oh, but the car delivers a terrific experience for the pilot. I know the curb weight seems a bit much, yet the handling is quick and light. This car does not feel like a lumbering heavyweight, but rather a spry middleweight.
That 560-horsepower, turbocharged V-8 is teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and it’s a wonderfully rich pairing. No one, I mean no one, will be disappointed by the drivetrain.
This, for the record, is the most powerful engine in a production model from BMW M GmbH. The seven-speed M-Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT) is robust enough to handle 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.
You most of all need to know that this V-8 loves to rev. The 4.4-litre mill develops 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 from going higher.
BMW’s engineers love to carry on about how well this engine breathes and responds and why that’s so. I’ll tell you the seven-speed double-clutch transmission delivers fast, 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 haul you down from speed, BMW will sell you optional M carbon ceramic brakes (“the size of most rental car wheels,” says M6 planner Matt Russell) and they might have a place on your car. With a 250 km/h top speed, the big binders should come in handy from time to time.
You will not be surprised to read that BMW says the M6 is a high-performance sports car designed for track use, yet at the same time it is comfortable, relatively fuel-efficient and loaded with features.
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.
Lastly, being a BMW, there is no shortage of gadgets. The so-called BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services include a rear-view camera, Surround View, Night Vision, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and even a new head-up display in colour. The wonderful and optional Bang & Olufsen surround sound system is a killer, too.
Sure, iDrive is the tool you use to manage all the electronics, yet the genius of BMW is that the car is so good, iDrive is just a minor though irritating distraction.
2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Type: Full-size luxury/performance sedan
Price: $127,900 (destination charge $2,095); price as tested: $160,950
Engine: 4.4-litre V-8, turbocharged
Horsepower/torque: 560 hp/500 lb-ft
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 13.3 city/8.6 highway; premium gas
Alternatives: Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS