BMW M6 Gran Coupe set for SA releaseComment on this story
BMW has always offered its customers a choice when it comes the Blue Propeller's flagship Grand Tourer - the only M car that is not an out-and-out hooligan tool.
We're talking about the M6, of course, the M division's superbly-appointed two-door luxury express train, which has always been available with either a hard or soft top.
And now there's a third option: the M6 Gran Coupe, with four doors and four seats in a svelte, fastback body style - and a high-revving V8 with TwinPower hairdryers and 412kW on tap, that'll launch this two-tonne, five-metre speedboat from 0-100 just over four seconds.
The M crew have also given the Gran Coupe, acknowledged as BMW's prettiest car since the pre-Bangle years, a big injection of Arnie-in-Armani machismo, with special features such as a carbon-fibre roof, bigger air intakes, adaptive LED headlights as standard kit, and a special M kidney grille.
From the side, flared wheel-arches draw attention to M6 Gran Coupe's wider track and signature M gills, streamlined side mirrors, a high-gloss Shadow Line package and very special 20” rims underline the car's performamce credentials, as do dual tailpipes near the outer corners of the rear apron, either side of a carbon-fibre diffuser.
The carbon fibre roof has a neat recess in the centre, mirrored inside by a leather panel in the alcantara headlining and the interior combines generous space (this is a big car) with performance-orientated styling, including sports seats with integral belt guides and Merino leather upholstery.
Under the bonnet you'll find a 4395cc V8 with direct fuel-injection, a cross-bank exhaust manifold and a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers, delivering a quoted 412kW from 6000-7000rpm, before the rev-limiter steps in at 7200, and 680Nm from 1500-5750rpm.
That's good for 0-100 in 4.2 seconds and 250km/h flat out - or 305km/h with the optional Driver's Pakage, at an average cost of 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres and 232 grams p[er kilometre of CO2.
The seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission has idle stop, a low-speed mapping for smoother cruising in traffic and launch control for when you want to get ahead of the traffic, while an electronically controlled multi-disc, limited-slip, active M differential works in conjunction with the dynamic stability control system, splitting drive between the rear wheels for optimum traction.
Also standard are an an M-specific dynamic damper control system and hydraulic variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering, while the M6 Gran Coupe can also be ordered with carbon-ceramic brakes, made from a new type of carbon-fibre compound ceramic with greater resistance to heat, lower weight and exceptional resistance to wear.
Arranged around the gearshift lever on the centre console of the M6 Gran Coupe are the buttons used to set up all the adjustable powertrain and chassis functions.
The engine, transmission, suspension and stability control mappings can be selected independently, so the the driver can put together a detailed set-up and store those settings on one of the two M Drive buttons on the multifunction steering wheel.
GRAN TURISMO LUSSO*
Standard equipment includes leather trim, heated driver and front passenger seats, automatically dimming rear-view and exterior mirrors, an alarm system and BMW Professional sound system.
Driver aids include an M-specific head-up display, parking sensors with a rear-view camera, auto high-beam, speed-limit and lane change warning, surround view and night vision with pedestrian recognition.
Available as an alternative to the standard dual-zone automatic climate control is a four-zone system with a control panel in the rear compartment - as well as multifunction seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a soft-close function for the doors, electric sun blinds and B&O surround sound.
The BMW M6 Gran Coupe will go on sale in South Africa in the second quarter of 2013. Prices, as always, when they get here.
*Now you know what GTL stands for.