2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Introduction

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Introduction

Fully redesigned for model year 2013, BMW’s M6 is well and truly automotive royalty.

More than just a fast car, the 2013 BMW M6 is stunningly beautiful in addition to being luxuriously appointed. For many people, absolute road going prowess is just as much a luxury feature as a 16-way adjustable seat. Keeping this in mind, BMW’s M6 is indeed a luxury car of the first order.

To think of the 2013 BMW M6 as a BMW 650i on steroids would be pretty close to the mark. More muscular in appearance, and way more aggressive in demeanor, the 2013 BMW M6 feels even more in your face than its 2011 BMW M6 forebear. Given that model had two additional cylinders in its engine to work with, that’s a pretty big statement.

The ultimate coupe from the builders of the ultimate driving machine, you expect the M6 to perform and it absolutely does. And while it’s true the new BMW M6 relies upon V8 power rather than the racing inspired V10 of its predecessor, this twin-turbocharged V8 delivers even more muscle than that V10 — along with less complexity and better fuel economy.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Models & Prices

Offered in both coupe and convertible formats, the M6 is pretty much a one trim offering. With that said, a number of options have been bundled into a kit called the Executive Package for those who wish to tip the scale even more toward lux.

For 2013, the standard equipment roster of BMW’s M6 features 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension system, and automatic activating, swiveling and dimming xenon headlights. A set of heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, automatic wipers, and front and rear parking sensors—along with auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors grace the standard list of kit as well.

Further, the M6 driver is treated to interior ambient lighting, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, keyless entry and start, sun-reflective leather upholstery, and 16-way power heated front seats with front seat memory functions. The steering wheel uses power to tilt-and-telescope, while carbon fiber interior trim marks this as the ultimate in performance-oriented 6 Series BMW models. If you opt for the convertible, you’ll get a power-operated fabric top. Go for the hardtop coupe and you’ll get a sunroof.

M6 Coupe pricing starts at $108,350, while Convertible pricing starts at $114,650.

To those numbers you’ll need to add BMW’s $895 destination charge and the EPA’s $1,300 gas-guzzler tax. So ciphered, the Coupe comes in at $110,545 while the Convertible will require a minimum expenditure of $116,845.

To all of the above, the optional BMW M6 Executive Package ($4,900) adds LED headlights, a soft-close automatic door feature, a heated steering wheel, and a head-up display. Executive Package buyers will also find their M6 equipped with massage functionality for the front seats and smartphone app integration.

If you go for the Executive package, BMW gives you the option of adding the Driver Assistance package ($1,900) to it. This will also equip your M6 with a lane-departure warning system, a blind-spot monitor, a speed limit information display, and cameras mounted around the body of the car to provide birds-eye and around-the-corner views to ease parking and backing.

There are a few standalone options one can add to hone their M6 experience more perfectly to their liking; 20-inch wheels, a gloriously sonorous Bang & Olufsen sound system, ventilated front seats to keep back sweat to a minimum, night vision with pedestrian detection, and a variety of leather upholstery and interior wood trim choices.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Design

Whenever you park the M6 and walk away from it, you’ll absolutely want to look back. This is easily one of the most handsome cars on the road. The already sleek shark-like look of the 6 Series is enhanced beautifully in M6 livery.

Wearing as it does a deeper front airdam with large air inlets, the tasteful (and functional) side gills in the fenders, and the carbon panel in the roof (which adds lightness and lowers the Coupe’s center of gravity), the M6 is tastefully stunning.

The huge M-specific 19-inch wheels (or the optional 20s with the same spoke pattern), and the four exhaust outlets peeking out of the lower rear valance all combine to further telegraph the M6 ’s prodigious capabilities.

They also delight the eye of the beholder.

Inside and out, this is one distinctive ride y’all.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Comfort & Cargo

Naturally, the BMW M6’s interior accommodations are superlative.

Leather is the upholstery of choice for the seats, which also offer additional bolstering in all the right places above the thrones fitted to the standard 6 Series cars. Supple hides also cover the center console and door panels. If you’d like, you can get leather for the dash and even the seatbacks. Naturally, the steering wheel is an M-specific model.

Available secondary trim includes carbon fiber, gray wood, or oak.

The usual compliment of storage pockets and cubbies abound within the interior—cupholders too. The trunk of the Coupe (as you might imagine) is more commodious than that of the Convertible. The disappearing roof design predicates a degree of intrusion into the Convertible’s cargo compartment when it is folded away. Still, a well-to-do couple will find adequate capacity for a weekend away.

The Coupe offers 13.0 cubic of trunk space, while the Convertible offers 12.4 with the top deployed and 10.6 with it retracted.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Features & Controls

Standard comfort and convenience features include Bluetooth, BMW’s iDrive interface, a rearview camera, a navigation system and a surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod integration. Also included are driver-adjustable settings for the suspension, transmission, steering and engine in varying degrees ranging from comfort to all-out performance.

For better or for worse, (depending upon your point of view) the engineers at BMW have given each driver the ability to absolutely tailor each aspect of the car’s driving experience to their own tastes. Steering effort, suspension firmness, throttle response, and shift speeds are all individually adjustable through three ranges; comfort, sport and sport-plus. Separate buttons on the center console enable the selection of each parameter. They can also be set in the iDrive system. When you find two combinations you like best for specific situations, they can be stored and called up at the touch of one of the two “M” buttons on the steering wheel.

While some may really appreciate the ability to tune the car so finely to their tastes, others will opine three settings are all you really need, Comfort, Normal and Sport. But of course, “normal” is a relative term—isn’t it?

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Safety & Ratings

Leading the list of safety kit fitted to the BMW M6 are ABS, electronic brake force distribution, emergency braking preparation, brake drying, traction control, and stability control. There is a passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation system, head protection chamber side-mounted airbags, and a head restraint whiplash protection system for the driver and the front passenger—in addition to front seatbelt pre-tensioners.

If the airbags are deployed, the post collision safety system will unlock the doors and notify emergency personnel automatically. Other safety features include daytime running lights, high-pressure washers for the headlamps, dusk sensing headlamps, adaptive headlamps that switch to low beams automatically when faced with oncoming traffic, night vision with pedestrian detection, and self-leveling headlights.

Engine immobilization, a remote antitheft alarm system, a stolen vehicle tracking system, and an emergency interior trunk release are also available.

To date, neither NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested a 2013 BMW M6.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Engine/Fuel Economy

The 2013 BMW M6 is powered by a 560-horsepower version of BMWs 4.4-liter twin turbocharged V8. Configured so the turbos actually nestle in the V between the cylinder banks, the engine also produces 500 ft-lbs of torque at 1500 rpm—with essentially no turbo lag. Given the engine flaunts that much torque so low in the rev range, you’d expect the M6 to be quick and it absolutely is. A 4.1-second zero to 60 is quoted by BMW, although in our impromptu testing, we consistently saw times in the mid-to high three-second range.

Pumping that much torque to the rear wheels requires some determined engineering to get it to be effective. In this regard, BMW’s engineers fitted the M6 (and its M5 relative) with an active rear differential lock. This uses an electric actuator mounted on the differential housing to apportion torque accurately between the rear wheels, ensuring thrust is fed optimally to both sides in order to keep things “in line”, so to speak.

Power transmission occurs via a seven-speed automated manual gearbox. A statrt/stop feature is incorporated to reduce fuel consumption by shutting the engine down at traffic signals, railroad crossings, or during what would normally be extended periods of idling.

The EPA estimates 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Driving Impressions

To say the 2013 BMW M6 is an absolute joy to drive hard and fast is like saying hot fudge sundaes taste good. The collective response to that statement is a resounding “Well, duh!”

On the move, acceleration, braking, steering and cornering are all extremely exhilarating. The BMW is exceptionally surefooted, rides smoothly, and delivers transcendent performance—without forcing its owner to deal with a stiff suspension system, noisy tires and recalcitrant steering at low speeds.

The aural signature of the M6 while demonstrating its extraordinary accelerative prowess is absolutely awe-inspiring. It’s a highly refined snarl, rather than the rolling burble of a traditional V8. If you’ve heard the scream of a Ferrari V8, it’s similar, but delivered a couple of octaves lower in the tonal range. Also, the engine snaps, crackles and pops—much like a famous Kellogg’s rice based breakfast cereal—on downshifts. The sounds the engine makes are so delicious, you’ll intentionally run the M6 a gear or two lower than you need to, just to hear it.

Here’s the thing though, thanks to the near infinite adjustability of the BMWs performance parameters, one can enjoy the BMW M6 as a comfort oriented personal luxury coupe in day to day operation without the car hounding you to take advantage of its performance potential. This, quite literally gives you the best of both worlds—extreme high performance when you want it and palatial comfort when you need it.

This is quite simply the most polished version yet of BMW’s most sophisticated high performance two-door model.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review: Final Thoughts

If you’re a diehard BMW fan with the means to acquire one, the 2013 BMW M6 probably strikes you as a decision requiring very little deliberation. However, given the price tag attached to the BMW M6 runs well north of $100,000, for other drivers there are a number of options to consider. Audi’s R8, arguably more exotic and more exclusive, falls into the M6’s price range quite comfortably. Mercedes-Benz offers a big coupe of the same caliber, as does the Jaguar with the XK-series, and Porsche with the 911.

All of those cars offer performance on par with the BMW, all offer the same degree of exclusivity, and all are just as capable of blending extreme performance with the wildest fantasy of even the most imaginative hedonist when it comes to luxury features. It also has to be said while we appreciate the 2013 BMW M6 for what it is, the car does have a few quirks to consider.

The iDrive system still confounds a number of drivers, though personally we find it intuitive and easy-to-use. Further, the near infinite adjustability of the BMWs performance parameters; giving the driver the ability to adjust the suspension system, throttle response, transmission response, and steering response so many different ways and in so many different combinations can get a bit complex.

Still, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the 2013 BMW M6 is fully capable of holding its own with any other car in its price class. In the final analysis, it’s really a question of personal preference.

2013 BMW M6 Road Test and Review:Pros & Cons

Pros:

• Captivating style and presence

• Prodigious performance capability

• A broad array of standard equipment

• Outstanding fit and finish

• Comfortable ride and luxurious accommodations

Cons:

• Wide range of performance setting can be a bit complicated to set up; most buyers will probably never use them

• iDrive interface continues to confound some drivers

By Lyndon Conrad Bell