M6: the fast fun ma­chine

But the $300K could be bet­ter spent else­where

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

bet­ter-look­ing coupe and cabri­o­let bod­ies of the 6 Se­ries grand tour­ers.

The M6 is not a racer but it would take some­thing very se­ri­ously quick— let’s say a Nis­san GT-R— to get away from it around Lakeside.

My ice-white M6 coupe is one in a fleet of six cars that has been rolled out byBMW Aus­tralia for a short peek into life with its mus­cle-car flag­ship. We have 120km on reg­u­lar roads and an hour at the track to see whether the M6 coupe and cabri­o­let can live up to the prom­ises.

The cabrio (from $308,500) makes an in­stant im­pact with its classy cabin and a top-down look that turns heads wher­ever we go. It’s not big in the boot and the back seat is re­ally only for toddlers but the front seats give you ev­ery­thing you could want or need in a lux­ury car.

It’s much the same with the coupe and I ad­mit it would be my choice over the cabrio ev­ery time. It’s lighter and tighter but, for me, it’s all about sun­screen and pro­tec­tion from the Queens­land sum­mer burn. Then again, if I had $300,000 to buy some­thing fast and fun I’d be more likely to be stop­ping at the Porsche deal­er­ship.

My time with the M6s is my sec­ond go-round with the car, fol­low­ing the global press pre­view of the cars in Spain ear­lier this year. In Europe, on roads made slip­pery by sand and heat, the M6s seemed over-pow­ered and un­der-done and I was keen to get them home for a sec­ond look.

They make a bet­ter im­pres­sion here as the heavy­weights— and they are heavy— cope much bet­ter with lumps, bumps and humps than I had an­tic­i­pated. They still feel big and take some plac­ing but the per­for­mance is in­stant and ac­ces­si­ble.

To put the M6 into per­spec­tive, the cars come with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that makes 412kW/680Nm, pro­pel­ling them from 0-100km/h in 4.2 sec­onds on to a top speed of 305km/h for a thirst of 9.5 litres/100km.

TheM­di­vi­sion’s sig­na­ture seven-speed dou­ble-clutch manu­matic trans­mis­sion, rear­wheel drive with an ac­tive dif­fer­en­tial, gi­ant brakes and driver-ad­justable steer­ing, trans­mis­sion, engine and sus­pen­sion set­tings are all part of the pack­age.

Above a reg­u­lar 6 Se­ries, they get big­ger wheels, more ag­gres­sive noses, rock­et­launcher ex­haust pipes andM tweak­ing of the seats and wheel and trans­mis­sion con­troller.

The M6 twins should def­i­nitely be five-star NCAP ma­chines, based on their airbags and safety acronyms— from the usual ABS and ESP to in­fin­ity— cov­er­ing ac­tive and pas­sive as­sis­tance for all the sys­tems that can get you out of trou­ble.

The most ob­vi­ous one is the trac­tion con­trol, as any car as pow­er­ful as these M-sters can be dif­fi­cult to con­trol if the road gets oily or you’re struck by a sud­den down­pour.

BMWAus­tralia knows the M6 has a lim­ited ap­peal but about 30 cars will be de­liv­ered this year and more than 150 will find homes in 2013.

‘‘ Per­for­mance-wise, the car speaks for it­self, both on pa­per and how it be­haves,’’ says Piers Scott ofBMWAus­tralia.

‘‘ The cars we were com­pet­ing with pre­vi­ously didn’t have the ca­pa­bil­ity at both ends of the spec­trum, ei­ther ev­ery­day or on a track. And I think the car com­pares very well on value. Say­ing that, this is a very emo­tive sub­ject.’’

BMWsays ri­vals for the M6ers range from the Jaguar XK-R S to theAMGMercedes CLS coupe and SL road­ster, and even the Maserati GranTurismo and As­ton Martin Van­tage V8.

‘‘ This new model could lure peo­ple from As­ton Martin and Maserati. They are def­i­nitely cus­tomers we can talk to now with this model,’’ says Scott.

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