A four door for Thor

V8 thun­der of new­est M car is too much for mere mor­tals

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - Stu­art Martin

IF an M5 sedan is too main­stream, but four doors is a must for your drive­way, then BMW’s flag­ship fits your bill.

The M6 Gran Coupe, is the svelte and mus­cu­lar coupe with easy rear seat ac­cess. Any­thing around $300,000 that doesn’t have an en­suite and off-street park­ing is tough to jux­ta­pose with ‘‘ value’’, but the ex­clu­siv­ity of just 20 cars of this ilk be­ing on Aus­tralian roads could make it worth the $70,000 over an M5.

Twin-scroll tur­bos puff­ing away atop an al­ready-po­tent V8 is a recipe for ra­pid­ity, even in a two-tonne Teu­ton. The engine has vari­able valve tim­ing and lift con­trol on both sides, as well as di­rect in­jec­tion, to gen­er­ate 412kW and 680Nm sent through the rear wheels.

New is the $12,000 Com­pe­ti­tion pack adding 11kW, com­pe­ti­tion wheels and a more ag­gres­sive sus­pen­sion and power steer­ing tune. The ex­tra grunt takes the sprint to 100km/h down to 4.1 sec­onds.

The M ver­sion adds to the al­ready im­pos­ing pres­ence of the ‘‘ main­stream’’ car. The vis­i­ble car­bon-fi­bre roof, alu­minium door and bon­net panels and plas­tic front guards help the cen­tre of grav­ity and keep weight to some 1.9 tonnes.

The stance is low and mus­cu­lar, with wider track, flared whee­larches and larger front air in­takes, the brood­ing and im­pos­ing ‘‘ coupe’’ sits just 110mm off the tar­mac on 20 inch wheels wrapped in liquorice in­stead of tyres. At 191cm I can sit be­hind my own driv­ing po­si­tion with only rear head­room be­ing an is­sue, while cargo space is good with a split­fold rear seat func­tion.

Saun­ter­ing out of the pit lane you feel the com­fort of a big lazy V8 and be­ing snug be­hind the wheel. The first thing you don’t get a sense of as you lap some bits of the Sepang track we’re on is the ride qual­ity. For that we’ll have to wait for lo­cal roads, but the clever steer­ing and sus­pen­sion sys­tems do great things for the Gran Coupe’s body con­trol.

The front can come un­der pres­sure if you’re heavy on the brakes, and the rear can slip side­ways un­der duress but the ex­tra bit of wheel­base and the ac­tive rear dif­fer­en­tial makes it an easy catch with the hy­draulic power steer­ing.

Time on the skid-pan demon­strates the team­work be­tween the elec­tron­ics and the rear diff, as well as the play­ful abil­i­ties and huge out­puts that can be used.

It’s noM3 in the bends or in chang­ing di­rec­tion, but the torque of the twin-turbo engine makes the M3 feel slow.

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