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While not all BMW designs are universally admired, the visually stunning 6 Series is one car that stops people in its tracks and creates a stir when it cruises into five-star hotel parkings.
At the top of this pecking order, with the punch to go with the ripped body, is the mighty M6. The Coupé version’s just been launched in South Africa, following the M6 Convertible which debuted here earlier this year.
Selling for R1 401 076, which is nearly 100 grand less than the open-top derivative, the M6 Coupé features a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic roof in place of the folding soft top, leading to the car weighing 130kg less and being slightly quicker.
Under that long and sleek bonnet is the same high-revving 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, producing 412kW at 6 000-7 000 rpm and 680Nm at just 1 500rpm. This, according to BMW’s figures, shoves the M6 from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds and 0-200km/h in 12.6, respectively one-tenth and half-a-second quicker than the Convertible. As always the top speed’s electonically governed to 250km/h.
A seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic and launch control fires the grunt to the rear wheels, where an Active M Differential ensures maximum grip is maintained when accelerating out of corners.
A nest of electrotrickery manages the car’s throttle and gearshift responses, its suspensions stiffness, and steering loading. Drivers are able to modify these settings to their liking at the press of a button, allowing the car to morph from a comfy commuter (complete with a fuel-saving stop-start system) to a foam-at-the-mouth track toy (a high performance course is included in the price).
A 30mm increase in track width over a standard 6 Series optimises roadholding and gives the M6 more of a hunkered, ready-for-action stance. Further visual M-ness comes from flared front wheel arches, enlarged air intakes, and flamboyant footwear in the form of 19-inch (standard) or 20-inch (optional) forged M light-alloy wheels in the familiar M double-spoke design.
As an alternative to the standard high-performance braking system, M carbon-ceramic brakes - identified by blue calipers - are optionally available in conjunction with the 20” wheels. The unique kinked roof also identifies this as the 6 Series with the most sizzle, and the overall design blends sleek elegance with aggression.
This theme continues inside the cabin where sporty plumage includes an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, carbon fibre trimmings, and electric M Sport seats. The M6 is stuffed with high-tech including Head Up-Display, reverse camera, Lane Departure Warning, surround view, and navigation. Extra money buys options like a Bang & Olufsen High End Surround Sound System, and BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition.
We bagged an exclusive test drive of the M6 Coupé ahead of its launch and can vouch for its head-turning presence and sporting abilities.
The bewitching Beemer snared stares wherever we drove it, but no one got to admire it for too long with 412kW of horizon-hunting thrust on board. The performance is always lively but with the throttle mapping set to its sportiest level it becomes outright livid, and it’s always accompanied by a gregarious growl from the quartet of tailpipes. Our Vbox recorded a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds at Gauteng altitude, and it would have been even quicker had the launch control not malfunctioned.
It’s a heavy car at 1850kg and you can’t throw it around like an M3 - it’s more sports tourer than outright sports car - but the handling’s suitably taut with the dampers set to rock hard, and it transforms into a comfy tourer with suspension on the standard setting. Less impressive is the way the M6 tackles speedhumps, which have to be taken at total snail’s pace to avoid scraping the front lip.
There’s officially seating for four but this is no family car as the rear is very cramped, although the boot’s a decent 460 litres.
In summary, a beauty with the heart of a beast. -Star Motoring