BMW will launch the new M6 Gran Coupe in India in the first week of April. Here's what it's like from behind the wheel
In order to fully understand what to expect out of the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe we shall first delve into the history books and take a look at its lineage. In 1983 BMW took a modified version of the M1 engine; put it in the E24 chassis of the 6 Series giving birth to the first M6 – the M635CSi. The M6 was on the money right from the word go. It was critically acclaimed for its aggressive ‘shark nose’ styling, its luxury and of course its performance. The perfect amalgamation of immaculate breeding, faultless manners and eager energy was what gave the M6 a well rounded persona that was universally appreciated. Over three decades into the future, BMW brings in the M6 Gran Coupe which is a four-door version of the M6, which is in fact a coupe version of the M5 sedan and for a car that comes from such a rich ancestry, it surely has pretty large shoes to fill. Will it be able to live up to the benchmark set by its ancestry is the question that we are trying to find the answer to.
On the outside, the M6 Gran Coupe bears close resemblance with the 6 Series Coupe’s design, needless to say with the large air intakes, the adaptive LED headlights and the M kidney grille design giving it a more aggressive stance. The sharp shoulder lines, the swooping roofline, the long wheelbase and the flared wheel arches accentuate the curvaceous silhouette of the car. At the back the L-shaped taillights, the quad-tipped carbon fibre exhausts, the LED brake lights at the end of the roof and of course the M6 badge on the boot lid makes sure that the rear looks complete, clean and classy. The short 1393mm height guarantees that the carbon fibre roof will not go unnoticed.
If the roof makes its statement, the Alcantara leather headliner doesn’t fall too far behind in giving the interiors a touch of class. The chunky new M steering wheel is good to grip and sports two memory buttons that store and recall two of your favourite gearbox, steering and suspension setups instantly. Despite being all back one doesn’t feel the need for another colour on the dashboard thanks to the fine touches of carbon fibre around the centre console and the driver side AC vent. Having said that, we wish that aside from the overall sporty look and feel there was something more to state that it is an ‘M’ car as the logo on the gear lever just doesn’t seem enough. While the cabin feels nice and cosy in the front as well as at the back getting in and out of it can be a task. Space at the back is just enough, although you won’t feel as comfortable as you would sitting at the back in an M5.
At the heart of it, the M6 Gran Coupe sports the same engine that works force in the M5 and is in fact even based on the same platform. The 4.4-litre V8 with two twin-scroll turbos produces 560PS between 6,000 to 7,000rpm and 680Nm of torque in a long range of 1,500-5,750rpm. The competition package that we drove gets an extra 15PS of power. Although the M6 Gran Coupe shares the same engine as the M5 it is a lot different to drive. It feels much more alert on its toes to get to speed as soon as you hit the throttle hard and this characteristic of the car has a lot to do with the seven-speed dual clutch transmission that shifts oh so seamlessly. At 4.2 seconds, BMW claims the M6 Gran Coupe to be one-tenth of a second quicker to touch the 100kmph marker than its sedan sibling. Fed by two turbo chargers, the M6 has no turbo lag whatsoever and is always ready to please. Ample of torque available even at lower revs makes it a breeze to drive not just at high speeds on the highway but even in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on city streets. Like all other BMWs and aside from the two preset driving modes - the controls for which are on the wheel - the M6 Gran Coupe too gets the usual Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and the Sport+ modes. In the comfort mode, the car pretty much absorbed all the undulations of the road, but then again, we drove the car in Germany and the needless to say the road there are a lot different from what we have here. Shift into the Sport or the Sport+ mode and the suspension gets stiffer and with it, the M6 feels a sharper on the handling front.
As far as the steering is concerned, BMW has gone with the old school hydraulic assist way for the rack and pinion setup as opposed to an electromechanical steering. While some might find it odd especially knowing that the M6 Gran Coupe is surely going to be a car with a hefty price tag and question why the German car maker didn’t install the car with the latest trend in technology, as far as the drive in itself is concerned, I personally liked the weighty steering wheel that really makes the car a great handler. That said, at higher speeds it feels a little vague and demands constant input, two traits that are particularly rare on a Bimmer.
Overall, despite the fact that the M6 Gran Coupe has a lot in common with the M5, it has its very own identity, not just in terms of overall design but also in terms of performance and handling. Yes, it does compromise a little knowing the fact that it can only seat four and not five but again that’s the price you pay if you love the way the coupe looks. The M6 Gran Coupe then has it all – it looks brilliant and will surely turn a lot of heads when you are on the road, is a good enough family car with a decent sized boot and of course it has the performance at the push of the pedal when you feel the need for it on the high. The M6 Gran Coupe is scheduled to be launched in the first week of April and we think that it might run its immediate competition like the Audi RS7 and the Porsche Panamera close. But, will it beat it? Only a head-to-head will reveal.