by Jared Rosenholtz
BMW's four-door luxury sedan, the sleek Gran Coupe, is one of the most desirable models in the brand's entire line-up. In M6 form, it's also one of the very fastest. Utilizing a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, this Gran Coupe produces a towering 552 horsepower and will haul itself to 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds. The thing is, the newer M5 is more powerful, faster, and costs less. Plus, the 8 Series Gran Coupe is imminently available and will soon supersede the current 6 Series Gran Coupe. However, don't discount the M6 Gran Coupe just yet. It is arguably one of the prettiest BMW designs you can get, while the interior is also more distinctive than we've come to expect from the brand. In a throwback to older BMW M cars, a six-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option. Excellent build quality and many standard features make the M6 interior a feel-good place to be, although rear-seat passengers don't get much space. Along with the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the M6 Gran Coupe continues to occupy a small but intriguing niche within the luxury sedan segment.
BMW seems to have spent more of its time releasing newer models than worrying too much about refreshing the M6 Gran Coupe in its run-out phase. Bearing this in mind, the only change is the addition of Apple CarPlay integration. Unfortunately, it's subscription-based, with only the first year being free.
Considering that the first 6 Series Gran Coupe was introduced back at the 2012 New York Auto Show, the design has aged beautifully. Low and wide, it still looks suitably menacing, especially in M6 guise. Standard features include 20-inch M-specific wheels, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights and taillights and quad exhaust outlets finished in chrome.
Key dimensions for the M6 Gran Coupe are 197.3 inches in length, 54.9 inches in height, and 74.8 inches in width. The wheelbase measures 116.7 inches. Overall, the M6 Gran Coupe is lower and marginally longer than an M5. Curb weight is 4,430 in automatic guise and, without the benefit of all-wheel-drive, this explains why the M6 Gran Coupe can feel a bit unwieldy through the corners. The manual transmission model weighs in at a lighter 4,395 lbs.
Six standard and six optional colors are available when purchasing an M6 Gran Coupe. The standard options are Alpine White and five metallic shades: Black Sapphire, San Marino Blue, Silverstone, Singapore Gray, and Space Gray. The six optional metallic colors are Citrin Black, Frozen Brilliant White, Frozen Bronze, Moonstone, Ruby Black, and Tanzanite Blue. They each cost an additional $1,950. Avoid the Frozen colors - as they just add expense and make for nightmarish repairs when minor scratches appear - and instead opt for something timeless like San Marino Blue or Black Sapphire.
Like any other true BMW M car, the M6 Gran Coupe is a vicious performer with performance that easily shoves you into the back of those lovely bucket seats. There's 552 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque to exploit, and when equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, 60 mph comes up in only 4.1 seconds. The rare six-speed manual is marginally off that pace but still only requires 4.3 seconds to hit 60. These acceleration times make the M6 faster than a Mercedes-AMG CLS 53, but slower than a Mercedes-AMG E63 S. The maximum speed is a limited 155 mph as standard or 190 mph with the limiter removed as part of the M Driver's Package. The M6 is also the only Gran Coupe not to offer all-wheel-drive. While sending power exclusively to the rear wheels will please purists, both the AWD-equipped CLS and E63 S are easier to manage at higher speeds. The same can be said of the current BMW M5.
Using the same engine as the F10-generation M5, the M6 Gran Coupe provides similar performance. The 4.4-liter TwinPower V8 produces 552 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission with drivelogic - this feature makes it possible for the driver to customize transmission shift times. A six-speed manual is a no-cost option but you won't see them around too often. There's also the option to increase performance further with the Competition Pack, which adds another 40 hp to the maximum output while leaving torque unchanged.
The engine is massively effective at hurtling the M6 Gran Coupe down the road at unruly speeds. Although there is some turbo lag lower down in the rev range, once the M6 gets going, it is unrelenting all the way to its red line. While the engine has a welcome V8 growl, it's also a tad artificial and not as characterful as the naturally-aspirated, ballistic V10 used in the E60 M5, one of the few caveats that accompany turbocharging. You will, however, come to appreciate the way in which the M6's huge torque reserves allow for comically easy overtaking, even at higher speeds.
The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission can lurch a bit at lower speeds around town, but when used in anger is a fine partner to the V8, delivering extremely fast shifts and allowing the driver to get in on the action more than in a traditional automatic. The six-speed manual may have something to say about that, however, and this transmission also features rev-matching on downshifts.
The M6 Gran Coupe (and the previous M5 with which it shares an engine), represent a significant turning point in BMW's history. These are likely the last large and ultra-powerful M cars to feature rear-wheel-drive. Quite simply, even BMW realized that you can only send so much power to a pair of wheels before things get out of hand.
To be honest, it all makes sense when you try to drive the M6 Gran Coupe in anger for the first time. While it has great grip, this is a big and heavy machine and it feels it. Limited feedback through the steering wheel and suspension also make it challenging to sense where the car's limits are, with oversteer a constant threat (or treat depending on your intentions). The newer M5 is much more controllable despite its extra power. That said, the M6 Gran Coupe remains a joy through long sweeping bends on the open road.
Switch over to Comfort mode and you may be surprised at just how absorbent this M6 is. Most road scars are soaked up before they reach the cabin and noise insulation is good. Only the large tires can be heard a touch more than is ideal. Braking performance is as you'd expect in a high-performance car, the M6 Gran Coupe coming to a stop confidently and quickly.
There's a price to pay for all of that power and performance. EPA-rated economy numbers for the M6 Gran Coupe DCT are 14/20/16 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. A 21.1-gallon fuel tank means that the M6 can achieve a combined cruising range of 337 miles. The manual transmission model has slightly better figures of 15/22/17 mpg. For a better balance of power and economy, the cheaper Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 returns 21/27/23 mpg. Owners should note that the M6 requires premium unleaded gas.
For some time now BMW has been criticized for a conservative, cookie-cutter approach to their interiors. It's not that they weren't well-built, functional, and classy cabins, it's just that Audi and Mercedes-Benz had pushed the design envelope with more regularity. Thankfully, the M6 Gran Coupe does offer a bit more flair in this area. It's a more driver-focused layout than in the 5 Series, and there are plenty of fine materials and attractive stitching on the dashboard to further spice things up. The intuitive iDrive system, clear instrumentation, and many standard features are other advantages to this cabin. The main issue relates to the headroom, with the Gran Coupe's low roofline proving a problem for taller occupants in the rear.
It's in the area of interior space that the Gran Coupe can't match the M5. While there are five seats, the rear is ideally sculpted for two rather than three passengers due to a center console that runs all the way through to the rear seat. While legroom is good both front and rear, the low roofline that makes the M6 Gran Coupe such a looker has a detrimental effect on headroom for all passengers. It also negatively impacts ingress and egress, with tiny door apertures at the back being especially irksome.
Other than this, the low driving position feels suitably sporty, while both the seat and steering wheel offer enough adjustment. But the M6 Gran Coupe is a huge machine, and the slender body has an adverse effect on visibility in narrow spaces.
There are three standard and ten optional interior colors to choose from, with extended Merino leather upholstery being standard. The standard shades are Black, Sakhir Orange/Black, and Silverstone. Optional colors in Individual Merino leather are Amaro Brown, Canyon Brown, Champagne, Opal White, Opal White/Amaro Brown, and Platinum/Black. Finally, optional colors in full Merino leather are Aragon Brown, Black, Sakhir Orange/Black, and Silverstone. Sporty Alcantara also adorns the headliner, while optional trims include Dark Red Sycamore Wood, Piano Black, and White Ash Grain Wood. Standard carbon-fiber trim also adds to the sporty appeal of the cabin.
Considering the emphasis on style and performance, the Gran Coupe's 16.2 cubic feet of trunk space is quite impressive. This is enough for a large suitcase as well as two smaller ones. What's more, the rear seatbacks can be folded down to extended total cargo capacity to 44.7 cu. ft. Small-item storage is fair, with a center console, another smaller compartment sited below the iDrive controller, and door bins front and rear.
There are lots of features fitted to this flagship Gran Coupe. Standard items are automatic stop/start, keyless entry, soft-close automatic doors, a rearview camera, four-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable and heated front seats, and wireless charging. Safety features include dynamic cruise control, adaptive full LED lights, automatic high beams, and park distance control. Many extra features are available, although they can quickly send the M6's price soaring. Among them are heated rear seats, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, and forward collision warning.
Key connectivity functions and vehicle settings can be controlled via BMW's excellent iDrive interface. Continuous improvements through the years make this system one of the best on the market. Although the iDrive controller is slightly oddly positioned at an angle due to the unique design of the M6 Gran Coupe's center console, it's still relatively easy to reach when controlling the 10.2-inch display screen. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system is standard and provides rich sound quality. BMW TeleServices, navigation, BMW Assist eCall, and advanced real-time traffic information ensure that M6 owners get where they need to be as quickly and conveniently as possible. There's also enhanced USB, Bluetooth connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, HD radio, and satellite radio with a one-year subscription. Apple CarPlay is supported, but only as a subscription-based service for one year. Android Auto integration is not available.
The good news is that the M6 Gran Coupe (and the previous-generation M5) have received fewer complaints relative to the older E60 M5's temperamental V10. A three-and-a-half star J.D. Power predicted reliability rating for the 6 Series range as a whole indicates good dependability for what is a complex and highly advanced car. A 2017 NHTSA recall of the M6 involved seat-mounted airbags that may not deploy in the event of an accident.
BMW's coverage for the M6 Gran Coupe includes a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a drivetrain warranty of four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Roadside assistance is offered for four years with unlimited miles.
High-priced, high-performance cars like the M6 Gran Coupe are often not crash-tested, so there are no official safety ratings from the IIHS or NHTSA. There is, however, little reason to doubt the safety standards of this vehicle thanks to BMW's sterling safety record.
Although most of the driver-assist safety tech isn't standard, these can at least be added as an option by specifying the Driving Assistance Package. This package includes frontal collision warning, blind-spot detection, a head-up display, and lane departure warning. Standard features include dual front, knee, front side, and head airbags. There's also a rearview camera, dynamic cruise control, and park distance control. An optional Parking Assistance Package adds side- and top-view cameras.
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way: not only is the newer BMW M5 cheaper than the M6 Gran Coupe, but it's also faster, more powerful, and filled with the very latest of the brand's technologies. However, to focus only on the M5 would be missing the point of the M6 Gran Coupe. This is a car designed to seduce with its low, coupe-like proportions and stunning interior. Even at the end of its lifecycle, that's exactly what it continues to do. That it happens to be ridiculously fast is merely a bonus. In six-speed manual form and with exclusive rear-wheel-drive, the M6 Gran Coupe is also one of the last of its kind and, if you can get your hands on one in this guise, it is sure to become a highly desirable collector's item. Yes, there's limited rear-seat passenger room, dynamics hampered by its heavy weight, and a high price. But the M6 Gran Coupe is less about on-paper stats and figures and more about emotional appeal. In that context, it's every bit as captivating as that other German four-door coupe, the alluring Mercedes-Benz CLS.
Available in just one trim, the BMW M6 Gran Coupe has an MSRP of $119,900, with the price excluding tax, registration, and a $995 destination and handling charge. While a dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, a six-speed manual is a no-cost option.
Only one model is available. The BMW M6 Gran Coupe has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, rear-wheel-drive, and a 552-hp twin-turbo V8 engine. A six-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option.
Externally, the M6 is distinguished by 20-inch M double-spoke gloss black wheels, quad exhaust outlets, automatic adaptive LED headlights, and frameless windows. Extended Merino leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, four-zone climate control and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system are all standard. Infotainment now includes a one-year Apple CarPlay subscription, while a navigation system linked to a 10.2-inch central display screen is standard.
|M6 Gran Coupe||
4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Four main packages are available, along with a host of standalone optional features that allow for a high level of customization for the M6. The cheapest package is the Parking Assistance Package at $500; this adds side and top-view cameras. The Driving Assistance Package is $1,700 and bundles together several driver-assist safety technologies like active blind-spot detection and lane departure warning. For $5,000, the Executive Package ups the luxury feel with many premium interior additions like ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, power sunshades, and a Bang and Olufsen sound system.
Performance enthusiasts will need to find an extra $7,000 to take advantage of the Competition Pack, although the upgrades are noteworthy. Not only does this package increase the power output by 40 hp, but there are also unique wheels, an enhanced suspension setup, a faster steering system and a sport exhaust with tailpipes finished in black chrome. A less expensive performance upgrade is the $2,500 M Driver's Package, although this is exclusive to the manual variant. It raises the top speed to 190 mph and includes a day of high-performance driver training at one of BMW's performance centers.
Interesting standalone options are night vision with pedestrian detection ($2,300) and M carbon ceramic brakes ($9,250).
If you want the fastest BMW M car, you'd go for the M5 or even the new M850i - both hit 60 mph faster than the M6 Gran Coupe. For this reason, we'd suggest steering clear of the expensive performance upgrades and instead going for the indulgent Executive Package along with full Merino leather. These additions make the gorgeous M6 Gran Coupe feel truly special, and you'll still be able to enjoy what is one of the fastest BMW models currently available.
Further along in its life cycle than the current BMW M5, the M6 loses out in a few key areas. Not only is the M5 up on power, but its clever all-wheel-drive system allows it to get off the line faster than the M6. The M5 is also better-balanced in the corners, being easier to manage than the rear-wheel-drive M6 is at the limit. The M5's interior is a newer design than the M6 Gran Coupe, although both feel suitably luxurious inside. Rear-seat passengers will much prefer the M5's more spacious rear seat, however. More than this, an M5 Competition produces even more power and is still cheaper than the M6 Gran Coupe. The smart money is on the M5, with the M6's few advantages restricted to it being the more stylish, exclusive car.
Closest in concept to the Gran Coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CLS is also a lower-slung, four-door luxury sedan with coupe styling. At $79,900, the CLS 53 AMG lacks the firepower to directly compete with the M6 Gran Coupe, but it is also $40,000 cheaper. The CLS 53 is even more comfortable and luxurious than the Gran Coupe, while it also enjoys the benefit of all-wheel-drive. The Mercedes is also the much more fuel-efficient of these two competitors, largely due to lesser outputs and the introduction of mild hybridization to the Mercedes range. Both are somewhat compromised by their low rooflines for interior space, but the Gran Coupe has a larger trunk. If you don't need the M6's greater performance and want to spend a bit less, the CLS 53 is the newer product and is a fine choice in this segment.