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2018 BMW M6 Review

2018 BMW M6 Review
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The 2018 BMW M6 lineup loses its iconic coupe, but the four-door Gran Coupe was always the more compelling choice

The 2018 BMW M6 lineup shrinks some this year—not in size, but in the number of models BMW sells.

The M6 Coupe is no more. Meanwhile, the four-seat convertible and four-door Gran Coupe—the models most M6 buyers seemed to want—stick around, and are as lustworthy as ever.

This year, the M6 Coupe is gone from American BMW dealers. It’ll be missed, but only by those nostalgic for the first car to wear this badge—the “shark nose” two-door that became an icon on its own back in the 1980s. Otherwise, the convertible with its power-folding cloth roof and the sleek four-door Gran Coupe carry over unchanged.

Both models share the same twin-turbo V-8 engine, a 4.4-liter unit that pumps out up to 600 horsepower before topping out as high as 186 mph with the extra-cost Competition Package. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard, but an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned 6-speed manual is a no-cost option. Get one while you can; only a handful of BMWs can still be fitted with three pedals. M6s are all rear-wheel drive, something we can’t say about the next-generation M5 sedan due here for 2019.

Despite its name, the Competition Package that adds 40 hp and ups the top speed from 155 to 186 mph doesn’t necessarily make these big cars ready for racing. They’re ferocious performers, but ultimately their heft and size makes them more grand tourers than sports cars.

To that end, both versions of the M6 are trimmed in decadent leather and offer numerous customization opportunities inside. For a price, you can make your M6 as classy or as gaudy as you’d like.

Though there's no longer a BMW M6 Coupe, this lineup remains very attractive.

With the elimination of the coupe, the 2018 BMW M6 lineup is down to just two body styles: M6 convertible and the misnomer M6 Gran Coupe.

Both cars start life as regular BMW 6-Series vehicles, but they’re festooned with beefy body kits, big 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in high-performance rubber, and plenty of M badging. You can’t replicate this look in a “mundane” 640i, no matter how hard you try.
The convertible’s top is available in three hues and it integrates especially well for a look that’s not quite coupe-sleek but is still pleasing to the eye. Gran Coupes are where it’s at, as far as we’re concerned. They take the recipe pioneered by the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class to Munich for a little finishing. They’re elegant and stylish, although the available carbon-fiber roof may be a little too much for some.

One caveat: BMW offers a surprisingly limited color palette on the M6 that stands in contrast to paint-to-sample Porsches.

Inside, both cars share the same basic dashboard that’s canted slightly toward the driver. The standard configuration includes French-stitched leather along some of the dash and door cards, while the available full leather package swathes nearly everything in hides. If you’re in it for $125,000, the extra $3,500 for full leather seems worth your while.

Almost too polished for its own good, the BMW M6 is a strong-driving lineup.

Not all 2018 BMW M6s are created equal, but every example offers thundering performance, a mind-reading transmission, commendable handling, and impressive ride quality.

These aren’t raw sports cars. Frankly, BMW doesn’t make anything like that anymore. At 4,500 pounds, give or take, the M6 needs all the muscle it can get. Fortunately, its 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 cranks out 560 hp and 500 pound-feet of torque in its standard tune. Opt for the Competition Package and you’ll add 40 hp plus revised steering and a stiffer suspension to make the most of that grunt.

Either way, the M6’s V-8 pulls hard and sends a mellifluous snarl through its four exhaust pipes. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard on the M6, but a 6-speed manual is a no-cost option for those who prefer to row themselves. It’s a toss-up; the dual-clutch makes the most of the M6’s wall of thrust that comes on at 1,700 rpm, but we relish the tactile feel of a good 6-speed.

The standard M6 is electronically limited to 155 mph, but the Competition Package ups that figure to 186 mph—and it includes a driver’s training course.

All M6s are rear-wheel drive and they put power to their high-performance rubber via an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. Even the standard M6’s suspension with its 20-inch wheels is firm, but the Competition Package stiffens things up considerably. Try before you buy; that 40-hp boost may not be worth it if you’re rattling your teeth just to get out of your driveway.

The M6 does disguise its heft well. It’s more of an open-road cruiser than a corner carver, with steering that stays straight on the highway but can feel a little numb when worked hard. Competition Package models have their own steering tuning that’s a little sharper and faster, which makes them a better choice for a track day.

The M6’s standard brakes are plenty strong, while the optional, $9,250 ceramic units resist fade after a full day of hard driving. The ceramic brakes can be a little grabby in town and traditionally this style brake is very expensive to service, with a basic pad and rotor change often a four-figure affair. It’s worth trying both to see what fits your driving style best.

Comfort & Quality
The BMW M6's interior is beautifully wrought and luxurious, but not for rear-seat passengers regardless of body style.

The 2018 BMW M6’s interior is gorgeous with stunning attention to detail, unique materials, and comfortable front seats. Just don’t consider even the Gran Coupe to be much more than an occasional four-person hauler.

At these prices, we expect to find acres of leather and exotic trim finishes. The M6 delivers. Toss in an extra $3,500 and nearly every surface will be swathed in fine hides in your choice of several shades. Several variations of glossy and matte wood trims are available, but if that’s not your style, BMW also offers carbon fiber and piano black lacquer.

The M6’s front seats are multi-adjustable and comfortable. They’re a little more bolstered than what you’ll find in a standard 6-Series, but hardly confining. BMW’s Active Front Seat option, included with the Executive Package, almost imperceptibly raises and lowers each side of the front seats to reduce fatigue.

We wish we could heap the same praise on the M6’s back seat. The Convertible’s second row is best for children, pets, or a briefcase. That’s expected of a two-door. But the Gran Coupe, despite its nomenclature, has four doors. Row two boasts reasonable leg room, but even average height passengers will have to duck to slide aboard and they’ll have to keep their heads lowered since the roofline cuts in dramatically.

That said, Gran Coupes have a surprisingly big trunk: 16.2 cubic feet. Convertibles aren’t quite as vacation-friendly at 12.3 cubes with the top up and just 10.5 with it down.

There's a lot of safety tech standard here, but don't look for crash-test results any time soon.

The 2018 BMW M6 is loaded up with safety features, but these pricey, low-volume cars haven’t been crash tested and they’re not likely to be any time soon.

As a result, we can’t assign a score here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

That’s not to say that the M6 line isn’t equipped with lots of safety tech. What’s on the options list matters more, though. Blind-spot monitors that will gently vibrate the steering wheel if they detect the M6 going astray are a cheap, $500 option. Night vision that can detect pedestrians on a dark road runs $2,300, an option worth considering if you spend a lot of your time on quiet back roads.

The Driving Assistance Package adds lane-departure warnings, automatic emergency braking, and a head-up display for a reasonable $1,700.

The BMW M6 wants for little and can be tailored to just about any taste.

You can’t go wrong with a no-option BMW M6, but at these prices, what’s another $10,000 in features to make yours stand out a bit?

Both Gran Coupe and droptop versions of the M6 are equipped the same with everything you’d expect: acres of leather, power and heated front seats, premium audio, navigation displayed through a 10.2-inch screen, and even adaptive cruise control.

A few option packages offer up what most buyers will probably want. The Executive Package is the biggie, at $5,000. It includes heated rear seats on Gran Coupes, Bang & Olufsen audio, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, active front seats designed to reduce over-the-road fatigue, and a few more goodies.

The Competition Package runs $7,000 and brings with it a 40-hp upgrade, a stiffer suspension, and special steering tuning. It’s a must if you’re planning to go on a track, but can be a little too harsh for daily driving.

Among individual options, a few things stand out. A leather package swathes more than just the seats and door panels in leather; the center console, dashboard, and even the backs of the seats are wrapped in hides. It’s worth the $3,500 price of admission just for the scent alone.

Carbon ceramic brakes run $9,250, but try before you buy. They’re hugely powerful but a little aggressive for in-town use and they’re pricey to maintain.

The 10.2-inch iDrive infotainment screen features a control knob with a laptop-like touchpad. It’s menu-intensive and there’s a steep learning curve. Yet once you’ve mastered iDrive, suddenly everything makes sense—everything about German technology, at least. Oddly, Apple CarPlay is a $300 option, but Android Auto isn’t available.

Fuel Economy
Do you want a fuel-efficent car? Keep shopping.

With the dual-clutch transmission that’s in most M6s, these fast machines are rated at just 14 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined on the EPA’s scale.

Bucking what has become an industry trend, the manual versions of the M6 are slightly thriftier (as if you needed another reason to specify a three-pedal car): 15/22/17 mpg.

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