New Car Review
2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe: First Drive
The 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe is essentially a 6-Series Gran Coupe with the high-performance M treatment applied. Like other 6-Series Gran Coupe models, the M6 Gran Coupe is not a traditional 2-door coupe but rather a swoopy, low-roofed 4+1 sedan. Compared to the M6 2-door coupe, it is more practical yet just as fast and expensive as it looks. (And it looks really fast and really expensive.)
Pricey and Pretty
The 560-horsepower M6 Gran Coupe starts at $115,225 and is extremely well equipped. Inside and out, it is gorgeous, visually distinguishable from the 315-hp 640i and 445-hp 650i Gran Coupes with its lustrous carbon fiber roof, sporty 20-inch wheels, unique front grille and air intakes, side gills and unique rear bumper with diffuser elements. The interior is upgraded with abundant leather, an Alcantara-lined ceiling and carbon fiber accents.
Intimate Interior, Big Trunk
The Gran Coupe doesn't place the driver in an upright position like most $100,000-plus luxury sedans. Instead, it sits the driver low in snug, supportive sport seats with inflatable side bolsters that hold you in place in corners, as we found during a day of road and track driving at a BMW-sponsored program. There is more rear-seat space than 2-door M6 models, though legroom remains tight; the +1 center position should be reserved for very short trips and/or very short people.
As we've come to expect from BMW, materials are generally high in quality, though the grainy standard leather seems unimpressive in a 6-figure car, despite its top-stitch sew patterns. We expect most M6 customers will spring for the softer leather included with the $3,500 Full Leather or $5,000 Priority One packages, which offer several unique color combinations. Another $5,500 earns an Executive Package with a heated steering wheel, power sunshade, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, all-LED headlights and Head-up display gauges.
The M6 Gran Coupe contains several storage cubbies, though none are particularly spacious, and we found that the oddly shaped main cup holder allows average water bottles to flop around clumsily. At least the 16.2 cu ft of trunk space is right up there with luxury sedans and can be expanded through its 60/40 split folding rear seat backs.
Behind the M6's meaty 3-spoke steering wheel is a flat-panel instrument screen that presents lots of data in a sensible if busy cluster of sub-screens controlled via steering wheel buttons and toggle switches. BMW's iDrive system combines HVAC, audio and navigation functions in an adjacent stand-up 10.2-in screen. A nifty $1,300 Head-up display option supplements the primary gauges with a customizable display reflected upon the inside of the windshield, while a $1,900 Driver Assistance Package includes lane departure and blind spot warning systems, side and top-view cameras and speed limit information. Also available are an infrared night vision system ($2,600) and Bang & Olufsen speakers ($3,700).
Docile to Dominator
With its 560-hp twin-turbocharged V8 providing 500 lb-ft of torque, the M6 Gran Coupe is extremely quick. The standard 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission offers three operating modes, with the most relaxed setting behaving like a normal automatic, and the Sport and Sport Plus settings enabling faster shifts and rev-matched paddle-shifted manual shifts. A traditional 6-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option, but between its somewhat long shifter throw and high-set position within the console, it wasn't particularly satisfying to use.
BMW claims it will accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.1 seconds with the 7-speed dual clutch automatic and in 4.3 seconds with the 6-speed manual. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
The M6's steering, suspension and throttle settings also offer three levels of adjustability, allowing the car to behave like a sporty luxury car, an all-out track dominator or something in between. Regardless of setting, there is nothing soft or light about any of the M6's controls, and the electro-hydraulic steering system has incredible feel. We generally preferred the mid-level Sport settings during spirited driving; the heavier Sport Plus settings are best left for track day.
That said, sticking to the Efficiency/Comfort settings helps to maximize fuel economy, which is pretty awful at an EPA-rated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway for the 6-speed manual and 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with the 7-speed automatic.
The standard brakes, however, are outstanding. Those interested in hitting the track may find the $9,250 M Carbon Ceramic Brakes option worth it, but they are by no means necessary around town.
Cheaper Than Buying a Separate Race Car
If, like most M Car owners, you occasionally participate in motorsport activities, know that the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe is one of the fastest and most track-friendly 4-doors. And however expensive it is, it may be cheaper than buying a luxury sedan and race car separately.