BMW M6 (2008) review

Published:31 December 2008

BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

It might be hard to imagine, but back when the BMW M6 was launched in 2005, CAR Online wasn’t actually around. Hence the BMW M6 not being previously reviewed on this site. But in the name of being comprehensive – and for the sake of driving what’s sure to be an epic car – we thought we’d right that wrong.

The BMW M6 is just a two-door M5, isn’t it?

Yes and no. ‘Yes’ because the M6 employs the same brilliant 5.0-litre V10 engine and still delivers 500bhp and 383lb ft to the rear wheels via a sequential manual seven-speeder. ‘No’ because there are some important changes. The M6, for instance, boasts a costly carbonfibre roof, all-new dash architecture and is 80kg lighter than its saloon-based stablemate, 1785kg playing the M5’s 1855kg. There’s also a sizeable price hike – at £82,685, it’s over £18k more expensive than the M5. It'd better be good...

Does it feel faster than the M5, then?

No. The on-paper stats tell you it is (M6 beats M5 to 62mph by just 0.1sec at 4.6sec), but in reality you’ll be hard pushed to feel the benefit of lugging 80 fewer kilos around.

What do you notice? Well, the steering wheel offers the same three-spoke chunkiness as the M5, but it feels lighter, twirling with less of the M5’s manly resistance. The suspension – still three-way driver adjustable – is slightly firmer too, while the seven-speed semi-auto’s shift programme has been noticeably recalibrated.

As ever you can pick from five shift settings, ranging from ultra-docile to massive attack – the majority being unnecessary. The M6’s fifth mode is far more aggressive than the equivalent M5 setting, sending a whacking great, Lambo-esque thump through the transmission.

>> Click 'Next' below to read more of our BMW M6 first drive

How does it handle?

Remarkably well. The grip generated by the M6 is hugely impressive – it takes real effort to unstick it on dry roads – and it’s fun too. Disappointingly, however, we did feel the front end become disconcertingly light under heavy acceleration at high speed. This was definitely not something that afflicted the M5.

Is it really a four-seater?

Only just. As a six-footer sitting behind another, legroom isn’t terrible, but headroom is cramped and the transmission tunnel noticeably eats into the space available. Best stick to the comfortable, supportive front seats, or buy an M5 if you regularly need the space.

Verdict

It’s a great car, the M6, but hard to justify. It’s more expensive than the M5, less practical, has no more power and is no better to drive (we marginally preferred the M5’s steering, its ride and its high-speed, full throttle stability).

Maybe you prefer the looks, but that’s a large premium for a sleeker bodyshell. As a car in its own right, then, the M6 still scores a very respectable four stars. But judged back-to-back with the M5, four-door saloon beats coupe hands down.

>> Agree with us? Would you take an M5 over the M6? Click 'Add your comment' below and have your say

Specs

Price when new: £82,685
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 4999cc V10, 500bhp @ 7750rpm, 383lb ft @ 6100rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed auto gearbox, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.6sec 0-60mph, 155mph (limited), 19.8mpg, 342g/km
Weight / material: 1785kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4871/1855/1372

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  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review
  • BMW M6 (2008) CAR review

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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