After a two-year absence, the BMW M6 coupe and convertible are returning to the German automaker’s lineup, with the hardtop scheduled to be unveiled at the Geneva auto show next month. The drop-top variant arrives at the New York auto show about a month later.
Powered by a 560-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine, which is coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the M6 won’t lack for off-the-line performance. By BMW’s stopwatch, the coupe needs 4.2 seconds, and the convertible 4.3 seconds, to accelerate from zero to 62 miles an hour.
The enhanced power and speed can be enjoyed by four fully formed adults, another attribute of the M6, which would compete against hardcore grand tourers like the eventual AMG variant of the redesigned Mercedes-Benz SL.
Though fuel efficiency may not typically feature on the checklists of M customers or engineers, BMW has made a point to emphasize the new M car’s relative thrift. Its V-8, which is shared with the 2012 M5, is more powerful than the V-10 that motivated each M car’s predecessor, yet carbon-dioxide emissions and fuel consumption have dropped by roughly 30 percent, BMW says.
That said, the achievement bar was set rather low. The previous-generation M6 managed a dismal E.P.A.-certified economy rating of 12 miles per gallon in urban driving and 18 m.p.g. on the highway. For comparison, a 2012 Cadillac Escalade S.U.V. is rated at 14 m.p.g. in town and 18 m.p.g. in highway driving. Fuel-economy ratings from the E.P.A. will be released closer to the car’s sale date in June.
M6 shoppers, however, may be more likely to be interested in the 19 seconds it takes to lower the convertible’s top, or in the fact that the disappearing act can be accomplished at speeds up to 25 miles an hour.
The M6 coupe and convertible feature the same clean-cut exterior found on the recently updated 6 Series. The M cars’ edgier aesthetic is reflected in the widened front air intakes, the M6 badge on the twin-kidney grille and chromed gills above the front fenders. Flared wheel arches and a track width stretched by 1.2 inches heightens the differentiation. Lightweight materials also make an appearance. The hood and doors are fashioned from aluminum, and the front fenders are molded from a thermoplastic composite. The roof of the coupe is carbon fiber.
Drivers can customize the M6’s performance parameters using the M Drive management system, accessed with buttons on the steering wheel. The aggressiveness of shifts, throttle response and steering feel can be tweaked and the preferences stored to suit the driver’s whim. M purists may opt to keep the car calibrated for track performance, but with the system disengaged, the default posture of the M6 is “efficiency and ride comfort,” according to BMW.
Prices will be released closer to June. The 2010 models easily topped $100,000.