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2018 BMW M6: New Car Review

The 2018 BMW M6 is winding down. This high-performance sport tourer is going to be replaced next year by the all-new 8 Series. In the meantime, the M6 has serious amounts of power, which it delivers in an eerily effortless way, and lots of luxury equipment.

BMW’s M cars are always aimed at enthusiasts, but this one — based on the regular 6 Series — has more of a relaxed touring character than that of an ultra-responsive sports machine. This is partly by design, but also a result of the car’s hefty curb weight (4,515 pounds with the automatic transmission).

This might lead some people to question whether an M6 is a better buy than the non-M 650i. They both have a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, and only speed freaks would find the less-expensive 650i’s acceleration inadequate. One is not necessarily better than the other, however. Just different. The M6’s engine has been tuned to produce 552 horsepower, 115 hp more than the 650i. And the handling is a clear improvement in terms of outright capability. At this level, the talent is there in abundance — it’s just a question of personal taste.

The M6 Gran Coupe is reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2018?

The only 2-door M6 this year is the convertible version, which carries over with no changes.

What We Like

Incredible acceleration; capable handling; top-notch interior; plenty of technology

What We Don’t

Feels big in tight corners; unaccommodating rear seats; no Android Auto option; no coupe version; the 650i’s acceleration is already incredible, and it costs less

How Much?

$123,295

Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive M6 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that makes 552 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque in its regular form. A 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is standard, although a 6-speed conventional manual is a no-cost option for traditionalists.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the M6 with the automated manual returns 14 miles per gallon in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in combined driving. The stick shift yields a slightly better 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 BMW M6 comes as one well-equipped trim level in soft-top convertible form.

The M6 Convertible ($123,295) comes standard with a powered soft-top, a heated glass rear window that can be raised and lowered independently, staggered-width 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear limited-slip differential, adaptive LED headlamps, LED fog lights/taillights, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive dampers with selectable driving modes, keyless entry/ignition, 16-way multicontour heated sport seats with memory settings, special sun-reflecting leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering column, soft-closing doors, front and rear parking sensors, iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, BMW Apps smartphone integration, wireless smartphone charging, Wi-Fi, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and the iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-in widescreen display, digital music storage, navigation and a rearview camera.

The Competition package adds a sport exhaust with black chrome tailpipes, 48 extra horsepower, 14 lb-ft more torque, lighter alloy wheels and sportier calibrations to the suspension, steering tuning, stability control system and rear limited-slip differential.

The Executive package brings ventilated active front seats with massage functions, a heated steering wheel, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and a head-up display.

The Driver Assistance Plus package adds blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking, a driver-drowsiness monitor, speed-limit information and side- and top-view cameras.

The new M Driver’s package means a higher top speed (190 mph) and a day’s high-performance driving instruction at a BMW Performance Center.

Individual options include 20-in wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and a night-vision system with pedestrian detection.

Trunk space is a respectable 12 cu ft. with the roof up, or 10.6 cu ft. with the top down.

Safety

The M6 Convertible comes with stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints and four airbags (front and front-side), plus extra protection in the event of a rollover.

BMW Assist, which includes four years of enhanced roadside assistance, stolen-vehicle recovery and more, is also standard.

The M6 hasn’t been crash-tested by any agencies within the United States, but not many high-end vehicles are. That shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, however, since the car’s safety equipment is comprehensive.

Behind the Wheel

While the M6 borrows heavily from the previous-generation 7 Series executive sedan under the skin, its cabin is intimate and sporty. The seats are mounted low, but it isn’t difficult to get in and out. The multicontour front seats are outstanding, with robust lateral and lumbar support complemented by adjustable thigh support and many tilt/recline increments. Interior materials are top-quality, and the rakish dashboard is defined by a bold character line that swoops from the passenger door all the way down to the driver’s seat.

Sadly, the back seat is virtually useless except as a parcel shelf, which is surprising in such a large car. Folks in front can slide their seats forward to accommodate rear passengers, but even then headroom will be limited when the vinyl roof is in place. On that subject, the roof operates rapidly and with minimal fuss. But it’s naturally not as secure or as versatile as a retractable hardtop.

At full throttle, the M6 is incredibly fast, and its modified V8 has a more authoritative bark than the nearly silent V8 in the 650i. Low-end and midrange torque is fierce, although the turbocharged engine loses a bit of energy near the red zone. While it’s great that BMW offers a manual transmission, the automated manual seems better-suited to this car (except for its inferior fuel economy), zipping off rev-matched downshifts with the best of them while remaining civilized during normal operation.

In corners, cars of this size shouldn’t be able to do what the M6 does, remaining remarkably free of body roll and getting sideways with the precision of a custom-built drift car. The adjustable steering rack with three effort levels adds to the sense of control, yet hardcore BMW fans might find this system lacking in genuine feedback.

This car can handle practically everything thrown at it, especially if the optional fade-free carbon-ceramic brakes are specified. For cruising, the adjustable dampers and a fundamentally supple suspension provide a luxury-grade ride.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Porsche 911 Turbo — Sportier than the M6, but this current generation is the largest and most luxurious 911 that’s ever been.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — That a Corvette should even be in the running shows how good this current model is. There are no rear seats, but that’s hardly a problem. In 650-hp Z06 form, it’s an epic ride to remember.

Used Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG — The fact that we’re looking at a pre-owned model makes a new M6 seem more like a bargain. The SL 63 is the best of both worlds, though, with its retractable hardtop. It’s a 2-seater only.

Autotrader’s Advice

Now’s the last chance to act if a brand-new M6 Convertible is on your wish list. Find a BMW M6 for sale

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