By Tim Pollard
First Official Pictures
13 February 2012 00:01
BMW has unveiled the new 2012 M6 – a two-door M5, in essence. The 552bhp super-coupe will be one of the highlights of the brand's stand at the 2012 Geneva motor show.
The M6 will be sold as a coupe or convertible, and Munich has unveiled both this weekend.
BMW M6 (2012): the lowdown
That M5 comparison is valid. The 6-series is a slinkier, two-door 5-series after all. So the M6 takes the same bi-turbo 4.4-litre V8, blown to produce a stout 552bhp at 5750rpm and 502lb ft at just 1500rpm.
Yes, that means the high-revving shriek of the old V10 M6 is banished, but on our first acquaintance of our long-term test M5 that's no bad thing. This V8 is high on performance, if lacking in some of the fizz of the old V10.
To give you some idea of much faster the new M6 is, that power figure is up 10%, maximum torque by a third!
So how fast is the new BMW M6?
The coupe passes 62mph in just 4.2 seconds and 124mph (200kph) in 12.6 seconds. Top speed is governed to 155mph, although the M Driver's Package will up that to 189mph.
It's more than just a stonking big engine though. The new M6 has a carbonfibre reinforced plastic roof to lower the centre of gravity. BMW first introduced this tech on the M3 CSL, and it's keen to fly the flag for cabonfibre ahead of the forthcoming composite i cars.
BMW claims the new M6 is a third less thirsty than before, quoting a 28.5mpg combined economy figure. The leggy seven-speed twin-clutch transmission helps there, of course.
Niceties such as switchable dampers are standard and you get the M5's Active M Differential as standard too. To simplify the multiple choice of which electronic modes to select, you can pre-programme your favourite settings in two M buttons on the steering wheel.
How can I spot the new 2012 M6?
BMW is making it easier to spot its M cars in future. Design chief Adrian van Hooydonk told CAR that the discreet M6 badge on the front grille will become an M mainstay. If you like subtlety, Munich appears to be upping the show-off factor.
Blue brake callipers will be standard-fit on all new M cars, too, and if you spec the optional 19kg lighter carbon brakes there'll be further telltales: those anchors will take on a golden hue.
All future M cars will adopt the M6's bespoke three-spoke steering wheel, too. In the past, they've never had a fully individual design, just retrimmed versions of existing wheels. And there's more M blue piping inside too.
It's all part of a concerted effort to increase sales of M cars. The halo models will remain very focused affairs, but BMW is pushing the halfway house M models, such as the recently unveiled tri-turbo diesel versions of the 5-series and X6.