Tornado - BMW M6 convertible driven
Released in South Africa this week alongside the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe was the Big Gun of the Sixes - the M6 Convertible, armed with the same 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 as the M5 sedan, delivering the same 412kW at 6000 revs and 680Nm from 1500-5750rpm.
BMW quotes a 0-100 time of 4.3 seconds - which we find easy to believe despite the cars kerb weight of 1980kg - an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h and combined-cycle fuel consumption of 10.3 litres per 100km.
Now we don't say that's impossible, but we doubt that many drivers willing to shell out R1 495 675 for an M6 would exercise the self-discipline necessary to achieve it. Certainly Jesse Adams of our sister publication Star Motoring didn't, when he fired up the M6 for the launch drive.
“Without getting into all of our likes and like nots regarding BMW's latest M5 super saloon,” he said, “it's safe to say we love the engine - it's hard not to, with 412kW and 680Nm of twin-turbocharged fury behind it.
“Before I'd driven an M6, I made a bold statement to a colleague that it would feel exactly like an M5 but with two less doors, that I'd now like to retract. It doesn't. And in my opinion the M6, with a shorter wheelbase and smaller overall dimensions, is a better car.
“Just as in the M5 sedan, outright shove is phenomenal. In-gear acceleration, even if it's the wrong gear for any given circumstance, happens with a forceful whoosh.”
Standard kit on the M6 includes a seven-speed M-DCT double-clutch transmission, an Active M differential that neutralises variations in torque between the drive wheels with a corresponding locking action, reducing understeer and getting as much of that 680Nm down on the tar as the tyres can handle, and dynamic damping control that adapts the suspension individually, with the driver choosing between Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
Then there's M Dynamic mode, to be recommended for the track only, which allows the M6 to get seriously out of shape before stepping in only when it thinks you're about to lose the plot.
Adams took the M6 over the famed Franschoek Pass, and comment afterwards: “The occasional short bits of straight road were dismissed so quickly that the steering wheel was hardly ever positioned at 12 o'clock - and that was a good thing because it's in the bends where the M6 comes alive.
READY TO PLAY
“It seemed the car's Active M differential knew exactly what I was up to, and if I decided to hoof it sideways out of a hairpin, it was already locked-up and ready to play.
“In more flowing high speed corners, where any type of drift would have been counterproductive (never mind dangerous), it would release just enough power to the inside wheel to keep things tracking straight ahead. Very impressive indeed.
“It's still a heavy car, but the huge (optional) carbon ceramic brakes help to hide some of the weight. The M6 Convertible can barge into a corner hard on the anchors, and is still happy to grip the road with its front wheels almost regardless of how much is asked from them.
“From there, mid-corner adhesion can be fine tuned with steering inputs, and tail wag can be controlled on the way out using the ol' right-foot feed.
“I give the droptop M6 my approval, and now await the arrival of its Coupé sibling. Which will only be better.”