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The 2012 M6 Convertible Experience - First Driving Review
The all new 2012 BMW M6 Convertible is BMW's flagship M car. Powered by the highest output M engine ever, a fully M spec'ed interior and plenty of go fast M technology from the gauges, the HUD display, 7 speed M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) and the M Dynamic suspension. Every inch, every link, bolt, nut and part have been M-scrutinized to build the fastest road and track going vehicle possible.
When BMW M sets out to build a new M car, such as the M6, they draw a line in the proverbial sand. That line is a lap time on the Nurburgring and they develop the new car until it can turn lap after lap after lap at or better then their stated goal. BMW wouldn't tell me what time they had set out for the M6 but I know that they achieved it and that it must have been an very very fast time.
One does not simply 'drive' the M6. To say that you drove the M6 puts it on the same level as anything else you've ever driven. You don't drive the M6, you experience it, it is a total immersion experience into BMW M. From the moment you're within visual range the experience starts. The M signature quad exhaust, chrome side grill, bulging fenders crammed with 19" or 20" wheels, and massive brakes in brilliant blue demand your attention. Slide into the control seat, hit the start button, and a mechanical mastery comes to life. The exhaust burbles just loud enough to hint at what is waiting for you while the twin turbos hum under the aluminum hood. Put the 7 Speed DCT into 1st gear, choose one of the preset M buttons and you're ready to engage the full M6 experience.
2012 BMW M6 Convertible Highlights
S53Tu V8 TwinPower twin turbocharged engine making 560hp and 500 ft-lbs of torque
0 to 62 in 4.3 second and 0 to 124 takes in 13.1 seconds
Front brakes measure in at 15.7 inches with the rear brakes just a hair smaller at 15.6 inches. Carbon ceramic brakes offered later in the summer.
7 Speed M Dual Clutch Transmission with three shift speed settings
Available in a one non-metallic and eight metallic paint finishes - four of which are M exclusive. The soft top is available in Black, Beige or an optional Anthracite Silver effect
19" 7 spoke wheels standard with 20" 5 spoke wheels as an option
I have never felt like there is such a thing as 'too much' power, until now. The M6 V8 makes 560hp but more impressively has 500 ft-lbs of torque on tap from 1,500 RPM, 1,500 RPM! It bears repeating because it is such an incredibly low engine speed to have 100% torque available. What it means on the street is that other than at a stop you always have maximum torque ready and waiting for you.
With this massive always-on torque situation the rear tires are helplessly at odds with the pavement. Press the pedal vigorously and you're either into traction control or converting rubber into smoke while moving at an alarming rate of speed sideways. Once your tires make a truce with the pavement you're now traveling at a rate that most frown upon for public roads, most notably the local police. On the press drive the M6 introduced several journalists to the local law enforcement who were not impressed with the M6's ability to go well beyond the stated limit. The power is best used judiciously on the street, which can be an exercise in futility.
The feeling of being pressed back into the seat while the S53Tu revs to 7,200 RPM and the M DCT performs millisecond shifts is addicting. The power and the resulting sound that TwinPower twin turbo V8 makes are something you want to experience over and over again. I found myself stomping the gas, right paddle shifting up two gears, and then mashing the brakes and marveling as the M DCT rev-matched the left paddle downshifts all the way to a stand still. Then I would do it again, and again. It never got old, I could have driven around going 0-60-0-60-0 for days.
After thoroughly warming up the tires with my stop-go antics I headed into Sierra Madre mountains. The hundreds of tuning laps on the Nurburgring are instantly apparent when the road turns twisty. The M6 has incredible grip, amazing feedback to the driver and a lot of driving dynamic control. Each of the main systems: steering, suspension, engine, transmission and traction control have three settings so you can dial in your level of race car feeling, or in the case of the traction control, you can pick your bravery level. I tend to be a little twitchy on the throttle so I set it to sport (choices are comfort, sport and sport+) but dialed up the other systems to maximum ferocity and put the traction control in moderate hero mode. Your choice of settings can be pre configured on two steering wheel located M buttons, giving you finger tip access to your race car settings.
Cutting up the mountain road in the M6 is a ear to ear grin experience. The steering is direct with the perfect amount of boost and the precision is exacting. The transmission performs flawlessly and works with the other systems to ensure the car never gets unbalanced, even when asking it to change gears in the middle of a corner. The suspension takes all body roll out of the car while the engine sings along in the horsepower rev range sweet spot between 6 and 7,000 RPMs. The only flaw I could find on the mountain roads is again the power. There is so much of it with the grip to match you're quickly traveling at rates that are not safe or sane for public roads. I constantly found myself having to do a reality check on my speed and dial it back.
To truly appreciate the totality of the M6's perfection it must be taken it to the track. For all future M6 owners I know you will be buying one of the most amazing street cars, but please take your new baby to the track to truly appreciate the effort that BMW M has put into making this all new M6 the ultimate driving machine!
Last edited by pix335i; 05-23-2012 at 06:55 PM.
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