BMW’s M6 Gran Coupe fills yet another little niche in the BMW line up. We head to Malaysia to try it.[Not a valid template]
This is a bit of an unusual test drive. It’s not a launch event exactly, rather what BMW called a Racetrack Workshop, held at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia. But it’s here that I get my first taste of the new M6 Gran Coupe.
As BMW aims to completely fill all possible niches in the automotive world, the M6 GC is a new model squeezed somewhere between the M6 saloon, M6 coupe, and the 760Li. If you find the M5 too saloony and the M6 lacking in rear doors, but the 7 Series is too darn big, then this coule well be the power four-door for you.
There’s no on-road driving here in Sepang, but a wealth of on-track activities, including some chase-me pace car lapping, drifting on a wet surface and cone-dodging. Not enough to give a definitive verdict, but plenty for an informed first opinion.
Firstly, the looks. As the name suggests, it resembles a M6 outfitted with extra portals in the back. And that’s no bad thing. It’s got a slick, low-slung profile and a very tasty carbon-fibre roof. The front end is a bit generic-BMW but then these days, what isn’t? The best view is from the rear three-quarters, taking in sculpted new rims and some bling courtesy of the gold-coloured calipers. Overall, it’s a better looking machine than the likes of the Mercedes E63 AMG and the Audi RS6, and better proportioned than the likes of a Porsche Panamera. It’ll be these that I’m judging the M6 GC against, having not driven the Jaguar XF or CLS63 AMG.
Inside, the atmosphere is more conservative and subdued than the exterior, or compared to rivals, but I happen to like that. The materials feel good, and the design isn’t as fussy as a Panamera. Less should be more in my book.
BMW has used a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 for the M6 GC, eschewing the V10 of M cars past. The result is a deep but not overly loud growl, not as vocal as the V10. But the delivery is worth the change – there’s plenty of low-end torque and no let up as you hammer through the gears thanks to the superb double-clutch gearbox. There’s 552bhp heading to the rear wheels, and the result is serious pace.
But it’s not hardcore. This remains a usable car, a monster in a silky smooth coat. You still feel the car talking under your rear, but there’s no harshness to the experience. It’s a BMW, remember.
The GranCoupe’s low centre of gravity and long, wide wheelbase make for superb handling, and it’s more forgiving on the limit than an M5. It’s also quicker around the track. The active rear diff is incredible, shifting power from side to side by up to 100 percent and flattering the average driver. You can start the car sliding and simply floor the gas, and it’ll keep the thing in line with no sudden interruptions in power. MDM mode slackens the electronic reins to play with the back end some more, or you can turn off the traction control entirely for full hooligan mode.
The brakes are immense, especially the available carbon-cermic numbers. There’s no fade for lap after lap, and the feel is as good as ceramics can be.
After careful consideration, and as an M5 owner, I think I have a new favourite in the sector. As mentioned, there are a couple that I’ve not driven, but the M6 Gran Coupe does feel quite special. It’s a modern day muscle car, but has superb driving dynamics with business class luxury.