► BMW M6 Convertible tested
► Twin-turbo V8 pumps out 552bhp
► 0-62mph in 4.3sec, list price of £98k
A 552bhp V8 convertible sounds like the ideal candidate for a European road trip in the height of summer, right? You could be forgiven for thinking that, and the updated BMW M6 Convertible certainly has much in its favour to justify that mindset – if you can find the right roads, that is.
First, a bit of background. BMW updated its 6 Series range in 2015, and the M6 received the same upgrades – slightly revised styling with full LED lights, more equipment and a few performance tweaks.
Our test route resulted in us taking the BMW from Munich, deep into the Italian Dolomites via the Austrian Brenner Pass. The German autobahns went by in a flash thanks to the M6’s storming twin-turbo V8 engine, and the BMW proved capable of effortlessly covering ground at an alarming rate. It was even pretty refined at high cruising speeds in Comfort mode, too.
What about the other driving modes?
You’ve got three to choose from – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, but you can configure the M6’s settings to any combination you wish. By no means is it as complicated as the first-gen M6, but you’ll need to spend quite a bit of time behind the wheel to really hone your perfect set-up.
For the tight, twisting alpine roads, the overly heavy steering in Sport and Sport Plus can become tiring and make the car feel cumbersome – so the lighter Comfort setting is the one to go for. It doesn’t serve up as much feedback, but its lighter nature makes it easier to chuck the M6 into tight corners and makes you feel less like you’re wrestling with the car.
The suspension and engine can be tweaked in the same way. Even in its stiffest set-up, the M6 is surprisingly compliant over harsh surfaces. The roads we were driving on were smooth for the most part, but there were some broken surfaces like we’ve got here in the UK – and the M6 wasn’t upset by them.
The engine is particularly ferocious in Sport and Sport Plus modes. Plant your foot to the floor and you’re pinned back in your seat as the force-fed V8 roars, the exhaust crackles and bangs on upshifts, and a chest-flattening 552lb ft hits home from just 1500rpm.
Has lopping the roof off ruined its dynamics?
In isolation, the M6 is an impressive machine. Acceleration is relentless and there’s impressive amounts of front-end grip, but turning the M6 into a cabriolet has pushed its kerb weight over two tonnes.
In tight, twisting bends – and during heavy braking – the M6 feels as hefty as the figures suggest. You really have to stand on the brakes as you barrel towards tight hairpins and you’re also acutely aware of its width when you’re in between a rock and a sheer drop. Spend some time in the settings menus, however, and you can reach a more preferable balance that grants the M6 a more reassuring, responsive manner. We found both Sport and Sport Plus settings for the engine and suspension to be just right, while we left the steering in its lightest – and most easily managed – Comfort mode.
Put your foot down out of a corner and the traction control steps in, but you can switch this off if you’re feeling confident in your driving skills – in which case the tail will happily step out and be a bit more playful. Opting for the soft-top version of the M6 grants also adds another degree of theatre to the proceedings, as you’re far better set to hear that boosted eight and those tortured tyres.
What if I don’t want to be a hooligan?
Then the M6 is should prove a good companion, provided you don’t regularly travel along winding roads. That’s because the M6’s inherent talent is its ability to cover long distances at a rapid rate; while it’s agile for its size, it’s not one for throwing around tight bends. Ideally you’d get an M2 for that, which is cheaper and more fun in these conditions.
But for long-distance autobahn blasting and fast, sweeping roads, the M6 is a rewarding and gratifying option. It doesn’t quite get under your skin to the same extent as its smaller M brethren, but it sounds fantastic and you won’t get bored of the roar from all around.
Should I spend £98k on one?
It depends. If you’re considering this sort of car, you probably won’t be concerned about its claimed 27.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 239g/km, so that’s the boring stuff dealt with.
If you’re looking for something agile and fleet-footed, your money is better spent a bit further down the M range – on something like the M2 or M4. But if you want something that offers ferocious, refined performance for long journeys and sweeping roads, then the M6 could be just the ticket.
The convertible roof adds another level of glamour, and the M6 is as luxurious as you’d expect from a near-£100k BMW – it now comes with the latest iDrive infotainment system from the 7-series, to boot. There’s even just about room for four.
Want to spend even more money? Then you can dive into the options list or even tick the box for the £7300 Competition Package, which adds more power, more torque and even more drama. Not that, in any case, this car is devoid of any of those three as it stands...
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