Open gallery Close by Matt Prior 30 June 2015 Follow @matty_prior Share
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What is considered the most outrageous M-car in the range, even with the ludicrous V12-powered M760Li – the M6 is Bavaria’s answer to a bristling muscle car. The M6 is available in three guises, much the same way the 6 Series is – as a coupé, convertible and a four-door Gran Coupé. But that is where the similarities end.
The 6 Series is similar in many ways to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé as a competent grand tourer, while the M6 is cut from the same cloth as the aggressive brute that Mercedes-AMG devised in the S63 and S65 Coupé – that is to say brutally fast.
The BMW M6 Competition Pack is one of those cars that lets you overtake as you pleaseMatt PriorEditor-at-large
Getting to know the BMW M6
The standard M6 already has 552bhp, and like with most M cars there is a Competition Package that can be appended boosting the power to 591bhp. To put that in perspective, it remains on the coat tails of the 4.0-litre V8 S63 but finds itself 30bhp behind the outrageous twin-turbo V12 S65. In 2015, BMW facelifted the 6 Series with changes made to the bumpers, air intakes and headlights, with the M6 also inheriting those tweaks. However, there was one bespoke change BMW made to the M6’s Competition Pack too, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like a horsepower number that starts with a six?
That’s not all: this new Competition Package is more… competitiony. Springs and dampers have been upgraded, as have anti-roll bars. The electronically controlled limited-slip M-differential gets its own ECU, the stability control programme has its own tune, as does the steering, while there’s an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system.
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When I say the suspension is ‘upgraded’, mind, what I mean is ‘stiffer’. The dampers are still adaptive, so you do get some say in how rigid they are. The chassis, like the steering and the engine/transmission response, can be put in Comfort, Sport or Sport+ – individually, or together, as you prefer.
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For those of you keen to keep the M6 standard, you won’t be disappointed with the 552bhp it produces, not to mention its extensive equipment list. There is double-wishbone suspension at the front, 19in alloy wheels, an M-Performance aerodynamically tuned bodykit, a quad-pipe exhaust system and plenty of M6 designation as standard on the outside. Inside, there is a Merino leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front sports seats, a wifi hotspot, and a Harman and Kardon stereo system, while like the rest of the BMW range, the M6 gets iDrive with sat nav, DAB, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and the addition of a 10.2in screen.
Unleashing the BMW M6 on the asphalt
Here we took on the M6 Competition Package and anyway you set it up, it’s an agreeable car. Slip the settings into their softest ones and it does a passable impression of a GT car. And although there’s always an underlying firmness to it – a result, you suspect, of the pack’s unique 20in rims and some of the limitations of this platform, which have long prevented the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series from being all they might be – that’s not always a bad thing here.
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Unlike other cars on this architecture the M6 doesn’t have to ride particularly well, you see, and freed from those obligations it remains for my money the best car based on this platform. Body control, even in comfort, is tight, and if you flick the settings further, that only becomes more impressive. Sure, the ride goes from firm to fidgety, but it’s only too harsh on poor roads.
What is harder to find is a road that’s big enough. Quite often we drive a car overseas and have to reserve final judgement until we come to the UK. With the M6, almost the reverse is true. You’d want a derestricted autobahn to get the best out of this, performance is so mighty.
It takes a while to arrive, though. The 4.4-litre V8 has notable lag at lower revs, but after a short pause an inordinate amount of shove arrives. The M6 Competition Pack is one of those cars that lets you overtake as you please, that bothers its stability control regularly or, if it’s switched off, lets you enjoy its front-engined, rear-driven balance with great ease.