The 2012 M6 Convertible Experience - First Driving Review

by Tim Jones on May 23, 2012, 9:23 pm
Driving review of the 2012 BMW M6

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.

BMW M6 pulled over

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.

2012 BMW M6 convertible

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!
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16 responses to The 2012 M6 Convertible Experience - First Driving Review

mikeriley commented:
May 24, 2012, 12:02 am

Wow, are you a journalist or salesman?
tim330i commented:
May 24, 2012, 12:07 am

Originally Posted by mikeriley View Post
Wow, are you a journalist or salesman?
EDIT - Think I misunderstood what you were saying. I'm just a BMW enthusiast who got to cover the drive for Bimmerfest

The M6 sells itself to anyone who drives it. I couldn't help but gush, it's just that much fun to drive. Besides lowering the price point to something I could afford there isn't anything I would change about it. The driving review is how the BMW M6 made me feel while driving it.

danrts commented:
May 24, 2012, 12:53 am

Great! thanks for the review. I'd be keen to see a comparison M6 coupe VS M5
ray007 commented:
May 25, 2012, 4:36 am

Thanks a lot for the impression Tim!
now i am starting to get a little nervous ...
awaiting mine in first week of June ...
the last 2 weeks of waiting out of 16 weeks ...

almost like the white one but with 5spoke 20"
and white leather inside :-)
PREDATOR 007 commented:
May 29, 2012, 6:33 pm

Great Post! Now I want one of those too.
whoever commented:
May 31, 2012, 8:29 am

Does it have ECO Pro mode?
jettie1767 commented:
June 28, 2012, 1:30 pm

Yes it does have eco pro.
jdefg2000 commented:
July 20, 2012, 6:58 pm

great car! def one of the ones i had considered too! enjoy it!
varanj_16 commented:
July 24, 2012, 8:08 pm

I would suggest the writer of this particular thread to kindly take a look at the 2013 m6 review :-( Its damn sad
tim330i commented:
July 24, 2012, 8:10 pm

Originally Posted by varanj_16 View Post
I would suggest the writer of this particular thread to kindly take a look at the 2013 m6 review :-( Its damn sad
Can you clarify?

varanj_16 commented:
July 26, 2012, 10:04 pm

All I did was just googled up 2013 m6 review and I came across a link from an official car reviewer calling it big - fussy - heavy - sophisticated - pesky and not good enough
Kozmo10 commented:
July 27, 2012, 4:20 am

I have really been enjoying it. First M car. I am not a racer but I do like to have the power available on command. Kind of a niche vehicle I suppose? I like the luxury and the sport aspect and it seems to fill the gap between the two quite well.

IMHO in this price range if you want the sports car go for the Porsche, if you want the luxury GT go for the Maserati, if you want both go for the M6.

Just my .02
tim330i commented:
July 27, 2012, 10:24 am

Originally Posted by varanj_16 View Post
All I did was just googled up 2013 m6 review and I came across a link from an official car reviewer calling it big - fussy - heavy - sophisticated - pesky and not good enough
And why was my review not 'official' I was at the BMW press only M6 launch event to write the above review. It is a big heavy car but it doesn't feel like it while driving, it is a total blast!

Dave 330i commented:
July 30, 2012, 12:27 pm

Originally Posted by mikeriley View Post
Wow, are you a journalist or salesman?
Tim would rather sell you a 2013 4 door (chassis from the 5er) BMW 640i gran coupe with a 3 liter twin turbo (off the 330i), for $102K. Yep, $102K

tim330i commented:
July 30, 2012, 12:32 pm

Ha! I'm not in sales in anyway. I do think BMW has missed the mark on the pricing of the 6 series gran coupe next to the Audi A7 and the MB CLS but when priced next to the Panamera I'm told (did not confirm this) that is is comparable. BMW see the 6 gran coupe a cross shop to the Panamera more then the A7 and CLS. At least that is what I was told.

Dave 330i commented:
July 30, 2012, 12:37 pm
Post #6

PS. BMW deceptively calls the gran coupe a 640i. It's not a coupe and the base engine is not a V8, but those who buy this car could care less if it had a BMW 4 cylinder TC engine.