December 15, 2004 BMW's high performance M3 and M5 cars are set to be joined by the M6, a sporting rendition of the two-door luxury 6 Series Coupé. Powered by the same 500 horsepower Formula 1-inspired V10 motor and seven-speed sequential manual transmission fitted to the M5, the thoroughbred M6 will be available in very limited numbers towards the end of 2005.
While enthusiasts will no doubt be lusting after the high performance version of the beautiful two-door six series, there has been a lot more work done than simply dropping the 507 bhp (that's 373 kW with a brutal 520 Nm of torque) high-revving V10 light alloy engine into the 2+2 shape.
To obtain the greatest performance from the V10 engined car, M GmbH engineers focused their efforts on paring weight from the 645Ci to offer racetrack dynamics without compromising real-world on-road comfort. In this regard one of the M6's principal design features was borrowed from the M3 CSL - the carbon-fibre roof. The first car to feature a roof made of carbon was the limited edition BMW M3 CSL and now the M6 will use the same intelligent lightweight technology in series production.
This carbon-fibre material derived from motorsport is significantly lighter than aluminium, (which in turn is much lighter than the steel used in most cars) and helps reduce both overall weight and mass and lowers the car's centre of gravity, optimising handling, acceleration and braking.
Discrete, typically understated M body modifications distinguish the M6 from its 645Ci brethren. Transmitting the V10's power to the road is achieved via the same seven-speed SMG transmission installed in the M5 sedan, while the Variable M Differential Lock ensures the 19-inch rear wheels keep a firm grip on the road even under full-bore driving conditions.
Revving to 8,250 rpm, the V10 engine in the BMW M6 reaches a speed range previously the preserve of purebred racing cars alone. The engine easily outperforms the traditional racing benchmark of 100 bhp per litre. The two five-cylinder banks in the V10 are arranged at an angle of 90° to calm vibration and provide motoring comfort. A high-tech alloy composite together with race-derived bedplate design quells engine NVH. An extremely stiff crankshaft runs in six bearings.
Variable dual-VANOS camshaft control provides hearty on-road performance, an improved torque curve, optimum responsiveness, lower fuel consumption, and reduced emissions and BMW claims the main engine computer is the most powerful on any series production car.
Dual stainless steel exhaust pipes run to the rear silencer box with gases exiting from the now trademark quad M pipes.
The V10 is tuned to comply with stringent European EU4 and US LEV2 emission standards, while the exhaust note is tuned for its own distinctive raucous bark, different to that of the M5 sedan. BMW's seven-speed SMG manual gearbox can be shifted from the selector lever or via paddles in the steering wheel.
Compared with conventional SMG transmission, the new generation of SMG technology performs the entire gearshift process 20 per cent faster, gears merging directly into one another for all-but seamless acceleration from standstill to top speed.
Drivelogic control of the gearbox offers a total of 11 gearshift options enabling the gearshift characteristics to be adjusted to suit a driver's personal driving style. An automatic mode changes gears for the driver if required.
The BMW M6 delivers eye-opening acceleration, rushing from 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and 200 km/h in just about 14 seconds. The M6 is electronically limited to 250 km/h though the speedometer suggests a theoretical top speed of 330 km/h and rumours suggest that if you could defeat the electronic limiter, you'd easily pass the magical 300kmh mark.
BMW also confirmed that during testing, the M6 lapped the world-famous Nordschleife, (the Northern Circuit of the Nürburgring race circuit), in under eight minutes, confirming its Supercar status.
The variable, speed-sensing M Differential Lock gives the M6 superior driving stability and optimum traction particularly when accelerating out of a bend. The locking action is immediately activated to compensate for any difference in speed between the drive wheels, thus ensuring smooth and powerful traction at all times.
The BMW M6 boasts a brand-new generation of DSC Dynamic Stability Control. With the first stage of DSC being conceived for maximum driving safety, the M Dynamic mode, as on the M5, is tailored to the sporting driver. A button on the selector lever cover disables DSC at will.
EDC Electronic Damper Control offers three programs on demand: Comfort, Normal, and Sports, with the car's chassis and suspension ranging from sporting and firm all the way to smooth and comfortable. The driver operates EDC via the MDrive button on the steering wheel or the push button next to the SMG selector lever.
At start up, the BMW M6 sets off in the comfort-oriented P400 performance program, which has maximum power of 400 horses. Once the Power button on the selector lever cover is pressed, the full 500+ horsepower muscle of the ten-cylinder engine becomes available. The power button also makes the engine more direct and responsive.
Reflecting its outstanding power and performance, the BMW M6 naturally features extra-large high-performance brakes complete with cross-drilled extra-low-weight compound brake discs.
The double-piston swing callipers made of aluminium are optimised for both weight and stiffness and ensure stopping distances are shorter than ever before: Applying the brakes from 100 km/h, the BMW M6 stops in just 36 metres. From 200 km/h to 0 takes less than 140 metres.
The BMW M6 is distinguished visually from its 645Ci Coupé cousins by way of subtle and unpretentious styling modifications.
The most eye-catching feature is the truly impressive front air dam. The V10 engine requires roughly twice as much cooling air as the V8 in the BMW 645Ci. Large secondary intake openings to the left and right of the front air dam feed the M6 engine more air and cool the brakes at the same time.
Deeply contoured side-sills are styled for function but enhance the visual form. Four delicious 19-inch forged aluminium wheels - developed especially for the M6 - feature five filigree double spokes. They are extremely light and reveal the massive brake discs. M GmbH trademark aerodynamic door mirrors and ventilation slats cut into the front mudguards immediately identify the M6 to the connoisseur.
At the rear, the air dam, with its characteristic diffuser opening again serves an aerodynamic function and adds an even more sporting look to the car. The diffuser's design improves the flow of air along the underfloor and reduces lift.
Inside, the M6 stands out with sophisticated Merino leather upholstery in a choice of three colours or - optionally a full leather interior leaves absolutely nothing to be desired.
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