A BMW racer for the open road

By Matt Greenop

M6 can be an angry track car, or a luxury cruiser with lots in reserve.

Available in coupe and convertible models, BMW's M6 is race-bred but also a winner on the highway. Photo / Supplied
Available in coupe and convertible models, BMW's M6 is race-bred but also a winner on the highway. Photo / Supplied

BMW this week launched its M6 - a race-bred version of the 6-series models already on the market, available in coupe and convertible versions.

We'll be running a full test on the new cars next weekend, but in the meantime, here are some numbers to whet the appetite.

The M6 is powered by the same stroppy twin turbo V8 that drives the M5, but its low-slung styling and far lower centre of gravity produce a radically different driving experience.

There is a staggering 680Nm and 412kW on tap, courtesy of the clever cross-bank exhaust manifold, which keeps the two twin-scroll turbos spinning fast for an almost completely lag-free drive - the maximum torque figure is reached at just 1500rpm.

Both models use the super-slick seven-speed M double clutch system and a clever active differential that throws power to the ground for a 4.2s sprint to 100km/h (for the coupe, add a tenth for the convertible), all the way to a limited top speed of 250km/h.

BMW's M division doesn't just tweak cars for the road, it builds them with a solid racetrack focus, hence its very successful motorsport heritage that stretches back 40 years.

And this is hugely apparent when you're behind the wheel - on the track, with the right set-up dialled in via the car's computer, it feels like an angry race car, back it off for the road and it's a comfortable cruisers with a heap of anger in reserve.

The car can be preloaded with two different set-ups that allow drivers to tweak gear-change settings, suspension behaviour, steering and more, with one button push to pick a set-up.

One horribly sexist motoring journo at the launch in Queensland suggested having "race" mode on one button and "wife" mode on the other.

Our M6 allotment is on its way to New Zealand, with a handful of cars here now.

The coupe version - our favourite as it's ever-so-slightly quicker and a whole lot stiffer - carries a $265,100 pricetag, the stylish convertible will go on sale at $277,100.

We'll give you a full run-down on the new car's performance on and off the racetrack in next Saturday's Driven.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 23 Nov 2014 14:05:14 Processing Time: 364ms