Can there ever be too many BMWs? Yes, evidenced by the ActiveHybrid X6 crossover that fell flat in the U.S. But can there ever be too many M cars? Nay, we say.
While BMW M cars used to be an exclusive club of homologated race cars made ready for street use, the brand has evolved into more of a top-tier ultra-sporty version of BMW’s sports sedans, coupes, and crossovers. It more or less becomes an exponent of sport, exaggerating what any normal vehicle ought to be able to do. The last M car we drove was the 2013 BMW M5, which was fantastic. But we have also driven the M6 convertible and found the experience to be just as thrilling. How on Earth is BMW expected to improve upon those?
Perhaps by fusing the practicality of a sedan with the style of a coupe. And, perhaps, that’s why the 2013 BMW M6 Gran Coupe exists.
Now having been on sale since early summer, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe basically has the underpinnings of the 5 Series sedan on top of a body that’s designed in a more stylish, coupe-like profile. The 6 Series Gran Coupe has frameless windows and seats with belts attached to them instead of the car’s pillars–borrowed from the 6 Series coupe–and a general bespoke demeanor, unlike most other BMWs.
And the M6 Gran Coupe only further solidifies that with more luxury, a far more powerful engine, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and the ability to embarrass most cars out there in a race despite its more than two-ton weight. It now sits atop the 6 Series Gran Coupe lineup, joining the six-cylinder 640i Gran Coupe and twin-turbocharged, V-8-powered 650i Gran Coupe.
Engine and Drivetrain
In the North American BMW M5 sedan, we’re lucky enough to have the exclusive option of a six-speed manual transmission in addition to the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Alas, that’s not to be. But if it makes a difference, the seven-speed makes the car quicker anyway.
Coupled to a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, the M6 Gran Coupe produces 560 horsepower, the same as the M5 and M6. Unlike other 6 Series models, the M6 Gran Coupe is only available in rear-wheel drive. But owing to BMW’s Active M Differential, it is able to channel all that power to the ground with authority: BMW estimates an acceleration time to 60 mph in a conservative 4.1 seconds on its way up to electronically limited 155 mph. All of it is controllable in various performance modes that can be controlled through steering wheel buttons and iDrive inputs.
Where most cars have rubber bushings between their rear suspension and the body itself to isolate vibration, the M6 Gran Coupe’s subframe is bolted directly to its body. That gives the car an elevated amount of feel, and BMW says it’s engineered the car well enough to cast out unwanted jitters. Seeing as how we thought the similarly set-up M5 and M6 were fine, we’d be inclined to agree.
Altogether, there’s not very much of the 2013 BMW M6 Gran Coupe that’s all new. It still has available carbon ceramic brakes for enhanced performance, standard extended Merino leather that drenches the interior in some of the softest leather out there, a head-up display that’s exclusive to the M car, and a standard carbon fiber roof. It still has more power and torque that you could ever really use outside of a racetrack. It still has more technology than a space shuttle.
It’s an appliance of speed.
But now it has some soulful looks to go with the seriousness often portended by Nurburgring-tuned performance numbers; it has a softer side when you’re not trying to elevate your heart rate. There’s finally a version of the Gran Coupe that’s better than the best, making the 650i’s 445 horsepower seem meager by comparison.
We like it. It’s a great car; believe us, it deserves much higher praise than that. And we look forward to checking it out in more detail when it arrives for the Detroit Auto Show. But in the U.S., unless you’re schtick is simply buying the fastest, most expensive version of the 6 Series Gran Coupe, we’re not sure we see a point to it.
At least it’s not an ActiveHybrid X6.