One of the hill’s hairpin bends seems a good spot to stop and grab some motion shots of the BMW Club UAE touring past, an invitation which naturally brings out the drift enthusiast in pretty much everyone. Several times I suck air through my teeth as one M3 or another gets very sideways around the hairpin, the canyon walls achingly close to removing a layer of paint. Fortunately the sound of metal on stone is absent from our day’s activities, and it’s not long before we’re back on the road again, chasing down the group. This is easily done courtesy of one thing.
The power. Sweet lord, the power! Hit the loud pedal from standstill in the M6 Gran Coupe and you’ll feel the acceleration build steadily rather than abruptly in the lower revs. Then you’ll hit the high numbers, which brings with it a hit from the turbocharger. Select second and the response is phenomenal, the force of the power uptake pushing you back into the leather with insistence, and doing so as you make your way through the gears until things start to calm down a little in fifth. It’s addictive, no other word for it. The gear changes too, when in their most ferocious setting are like snapping off rounds from a rifle, each beautifully sharp and accompanied by a little ‘bmpf’ from the exhaust. The noise that brings this performance to a head though almost steals the San Marino blue ribbon from the engine, a throaty bass note that you just won’t get tired of: appropriate too that the sound is similar to ‘whooooooooooaaaaaa’, since – between laughter – I’m making almost exactly the same noise.
It’s with the widest of smiles and slightly slick foreheads that we reconvene with the rest of the group at the top of the hill, the Gran Coupe once again the subject of camera flashes. Go-pro footage is being rewound and played back, backs being slapped and laughter ensuing as everyone runs through their run: were I not busy wondering if that burning smell in the M6’s wheel arch is normal, I’d probably be doing likewise. There’s plenty of time to savour the atmosphere though and nab the obligatory group shot as the Beemer collection – now parked diagonally fender to fender – ticks itself cool. It’s not long before everyone is ready to make their way down the hill again.
I had been thoroughly convinced that a drive in the M6 Gran Coupe on Jebel Jais would be a little disappointing, the weight and luxurious interior knocking the performance slightly. I was wrong. Yes the weight does play its hand, feel for the front end is questionable and visibility can be questionable at times. But the M6 Gran Coupe is exactly what it should be: it’s a lunatic at speed and the abrupt pick-up is given a nudge by a playful back end and ‘look at me’ soundtrack. It also, as we found out on the way home, can traverse flooded roads with ease, though we’re keen to avoid these impromptu water tests in the future.
The M6 Gran Coupe makes an impression, begs others to notice it, and encourages you to push just that little bit harder to really get the feeling of excitement. Just as a BMW M car should do. Fortunately we make it to the bottom without stacking the BMW M6 Gran Coupe into the wall. I didn’t fancy filling in another waiver form.
|M6 Gran Coupe
|V8 / M TwinPower Turbo / 4395cc
|502lb ft @ 1500-5750rpm
|Seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic
|Double track control arm with M-specific elastokinematics / small negative steering roll radius/ anti-dive
|Integral-V multi-arm axle with M-specific elastokinematics / spatial suspension with anti-squat and anti-dive
|Six-piston fixed-calliper compound disc brake 400 x 36mm (front) / Single-piston floating-calliper compound disc brakes 396 x 24mm (rear)
|9.5J x 20-in (front) / 10.5J x 20 (rear) / light-alloy
|265/35 R20 102Y (front) / 295/30 R20 104Y (rear)
|250kph (electronically limited)