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Review: 2013 BMW M6 Convertible

Kamil Kaluski September 19, 2012 BMW Reviews, Featured 16 Comments

You may recall that last December I reviewed the BMW 650i Convertible. I really liked it, I found it to be a proper grand touring car, but despite it’s 400-horsepower engine it left something for the true enthusiast to desire. Recently I had the opportunity to drive the M6 Convertible. I was really curious if, despite being a heavy convertible, BMW could work its M magic to make this a proper enthusiast car.

When I first got into the it didn’t feel any different than the 650i. The steering feel was similar, the suspension felt the same, and it didn’t even feel faster. I began to feel disappointed; I was convinced that BMW is just whoring out its M brand and image, heck even the twin-turbo V8 in the M is related to the engines the 650i. I was disappointed.

After driving a bit I started fiddling with the steering, suspension, and engine dynamics settings. The steering got progressively tighter, ride stiffer, and the throttle more responsive. But again, the 650i has similar features, also with three settings each. On the M however, those settings seemed to be a notch or two higher; what is the “sport” setting on the 650i was “comfort” on the M6. But despite all this, I was still a bit disappointed. Yes, it was fast, really fast, but there is more to a sports car than just power and speed.

Sunday morning, Labor Day Weekend, two o’clock in the morning. My five month old son thought it would be just hilarious if he woke up everyone at the house and then go back to sleep once everyone was fully awaken. At that point I could have just gone back to sleep, but it’s not everyday that I have a 560-horsepower car sitting in my garage. I decided to do what every other sane man would do – I went for a drive.

Hooniverse top-tip – there is no one on the roads at 2am, on a Sunday, on Labor Day weekend. No one. No. One.

First I drove around the city a bit. More fiddling with the settings, got the top down, cruised. Awesome, but so was the 650i. Got out on the highway; yup, it’s still fast, as I really fast. It’s not that it can go really fast, but it’s how it gets those really high speeds. I’m not talking “you’re speeding, here is your ticket” fast. No, I’m talking “watch your head son, you’ll be spending your night with us, you’re facing four misdemeanors, and you probably won’t driving for a few years. I hope you have a really good lawyer, consider pleading insanity”

But it’s not just high speed fast, but how fast it gets to those speeds; arresting speed arrive in the time “normal” cars require to crack the three-digit point. Furthermore, once at speed, it’s how stable and almost innocent it feels. Reducing the speed comes courtesy of front 6-piston fixed clamping calipers 15.7″ and 4-piston rear fixed calipers clamping 15.6″ rotors; that’s hard-core track hardware (no squeaky track pads) which looks as good as they feel.

But wait, there is more! The three separately adjustable setting are all fine and dandy, but on the steering wheel there is the infamous M button, which I have all but forgot about by now. In an improvement over the E90 M3, which I have come to know intimately on several occasions, the new M6 has two programmable M settings and before the M mode is engaged you are asked for a confirmation. But seriously, what kind of a difference could a little button make?

Holy S***!! OMG!! I don’t really know what the M mode does, nor do I really care. But what I do know what it does to the car – it shrinks it down and transform it into sports car! But there is more; the stability control is loosened up allowing for some tail wagging which will make you, the driver, look like a driving god! I don’t know what the hell kind of black magic BMW performs on these cars but with a press of a button this car simply transforms. Remember that TopGear review of the E60 M5 where Clarkson said that it turns into a different car with a press of a button? He wasn’t lying!

While the car is amazing in each and every way it does not defy physics. Compared to the E90 M3 is feels about a foot wider and significantly heavier, which becomes apparent rather quickly. I doubt that the M6 will be anyone’s track car, nor does it inspire to be. What it is however, is two cars in one: a comfortable and reserved grand touring car for daily trips or weekend trips, and a badass stupidly fast sports car for those special moments. Its $125,000 price tag will make you cringe until you look at similarly priced Porsche 911 Cab, Aston Martin, and similar convertible four-seaters. It is then that you realize that the M6 will not only outperform all of those cars but simply destroy, them while delivering quality and features that those don’t even come with. Yes, I would take the M6 over an equally priced 911… you’ll read why soon.

Side Notes:

  • The shifter is not intuitive to use and sometimes annoying.
  • The transmission now has three settings, versus the seven of the E90 DCT.
  • Seats have a weird butt massage feature, only on the lower cushion of the seat, which feels a little weird.
  • Head up display is awesome, tells speed, nav, and tach. It is also adjustable for height and brightness.
  • Engine auto-stop is defeat-able and once turned off it will stay that way. This feature is really annoying, not smooth, and currently on all new Bimmers.
  • It is still a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Despite the many M badges, you don’t get anymore looks than when driving a pedestrian 6-series. That’s a good thing.
  • Did I mention how amazing the overall package is. If you think that BMW has lost their way this maybe the car that will turn you around. Yes, it’s fast, but it’s more driver focused in everything it does than any other car out there. 
  • Re-read my BMW 650i Convertible review as much of applies to the M6.
  • Also: the 6 is pretty again.

    Someone (who works at Tesla in Fremont) was following me to work yesterday and in a 6 Grand Coupeorwhatever (the sedan that looks better than a 7 series).

    To me, it feels like BMW's picked up where they left off in the 80s-to-early-90s.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      +1 to that. This restyling is so much better looking than the previous.

    • Yes! I'm still not loving the front but overall it's a huge improvement over the previous gen.
      I love the Grand Coupe 6-series.

      • Jay

        Certainly better looking, but that's not saying much. It was hard to take a turn for the worse given how dire the previous 6er looked.

        I like how a lot of buttons from the dash got relocated to the transmission tunnel area, so that people will think that iDrive actually replaced the buttons that were previously on the dash.

  • Scandinavian Flick

    As much of an aversion as I have to all things so heavily computer controlled and all things that take control away from the driver, this sounds like a pretty damn good car…

    Since the comparison was made though, I think I'd still take the 911 over it. There's an extra pedal option I would prefer in such a car. A 7-speed at that…

    • You can get the new M5 with a 6-speed manual. I have driven the PDK 911, review soon

  • Dean Bigglesworth

    Does it force your face into a silly grin and make you giggle like an idiot?

    • Silly grin, yes, but no giggles, more like wooooffa…

      • Dean Bigglesworth

        Maybe giggle is not the right word..

  • Plecostomus

    Kamil:

    Your comment about labor day reminds me of the Camaro review I wrote and posted here about two years ago – I got on the 57 freeway at 7am and it was EMPTY as far as the eye could see in either direction. I did what any other sane hoon with a Camaro SS and no risk of hitting anyone else or getting nailed by the CHiPs would do – I gunned that sumbitch to 155mph where the limiter kicks in. I slowed down right after, but I figured, I've only got the car another day, it would be a sin not to.

    In one weekend I put 1700 miles on that car. LOL

    • Nice! I did not such things and because of family obligations I put only about 100 miles on this car… but they were delightful miles. Plan was to go to the Lime Rock events… but again, family…

    • Also, I just read that, nice. Also also… why are you not writing for us anymore?

  • Here's an E24 M6 for sale with 5,000 miles.
    http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/cto/3262387387….

    • $65k

      !!! $65k !!!

      • Dude, I know.

        But other than the price, it's great.

        • Other than that, yea, great, like new. I wonder how long it's been for sale. CL may not be the best medium to sell it either.