Here's BMW's latest niche within a niche: the new BMW M6 Gran Coupe. The hot four-door coupe was seen loitering in the shadows at a Nurburging-based BMW event last night by CAR's Ben Oliver, who sent over his cameraphone shots of the car.
This looks to be a fully production-ready M6 Gran Coupe, on schedule for a UK launch in summer 2013.
What clues mark this Gran Coupe out as the M6?
The M6 bootlid badge is something of a giveaway, but there are other M6 cues inside and out. The front and rear bumpers are lifted straight from the M6 coupe and convertible, as are the 20-inch 'diamond-cut' alloy wheels.
Lurking behind them are gold brake callipers, denoting that this car is wearing carbon ceramic discs.
The carbon discs are a whopping £7395 option on a two-door M6, but should stand up well to the abuse of hauling the hefty Gran Coupe to a standstill. With the coupe weighing in 1850kg, it's expected the addition of two extra doors and the slightly longer, taller body will push the weight closer to two tonnes.
Is the mechanical package standard BMW M6 fare?
To shift all that weight, we expect the M6 Gran Coupe to get a straightforward transplant of the M6 drivetrain. Providing the oomph is a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, developing 552bhp and 502lb ft. Power will be transmitted to the rear tyres through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with a manual paddleshift mode (the lever as seen in the pictures is the same item as CAR's long-termer M5).
Top speed will of course be limited to the usual 155mph, and though the 0-62mph sprint will likely be slightly blunted from the coupe's 4.2sec run, it's still odds-on to dip below 4.5sec.
How much will this new BMW niche cost?
At a projected £96-98k, the M6 Gran Coupe will be second only to the BMW 760i in the family price list. Add on a few choice options like our M5's £5445 'Silverstone Merrino' extra-lux leather, extra driver-assistance systems and the sporty brakes and alloys and you'll be staring down the barrel of a £120k BMW M6 GC - smack in the middle of Porsche Panamera Turbo S territory.
The M6 Gran Coupe will go on sale in summer 2013, following BMW's official unveiling in December 2012, and its in-the-metal debut at the Detroit motor show in January 2013.