Tuesday, August 26, 2014

News Cars - 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe review notes

By on 6:15 PM

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: This 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe starts at $115,225. A Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, which is arguable among the closest competitors, starts at $99,500. First points go to Mercedes. Let’s check the Audi S7 shall we? According to Audi’s site, an S7 is $82,500, while the RS 7 base is $106,500, so the RS basically splits the difference between the AMG and this M6 Gran Coupe. I’ve gone on long enough about how I think BMW has lost its mind on pricing. Even I’m getting tired of me talking about it. But seriously, the AMG is $16K less? That’s a no brainer…


With all that aside there are things I like about this car and things I don’t. One, it looks better than your garden-variety 5-series though not as good in my opinion as the Audi or Benz. I do like the BMW’s outstanding grip, the ride doesn’t seem too harsh, and the engine is terrific -- more than enough power, applied smoothly and it sounds good, too.

The car drives so much like I remember M5s driving; I wonder what the point is, other than BMW tacking on another $23,000 over the M5 base price. The M6 is a little high effort and ponderous around town, but really comes into its own on the freeway, where it’s a joy to pilot. Straight-line stability is outstanding.

The gearbox is a pain. The car doesn’t launch smoothly (and yes, I tried all the modes). That probably has something to do with why I don’t love it around town…

The cockpit bugs me a bit, too. It’s well built, but tight and cramped. Granted, I’m fat, but I’m not tall. Why do I feel like there’s not enough room for me?

DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a number of long-time automotive journos, and whenever the conversation turns to legendary supercars of yore -- the Hemi ‘Cudas and Ford Mustang Boss 429s and big-block Corvettes -- those who tested them when they were new tell a similar story: The cars were blisteringly fast when racing but most were miserable daily drivers. Overheating, fouled plugs and general fussiness were their nature when they weren't being hammered at 9/10ths on a track.


It wasn’t really the cars’ fault: After all, they excelled at what they were designed for; if someone subjected them to rush-hour traffic all bets were off.

The more I drive the latest BMW M cars, the more I’m reminded of those old stories. Obviously, fouled plugs and overheating are things of the past, but first our long-term BMW M3 and now this M6 Gran Coupe have proven to be downright unpleasant daily commuters. The dual-clutch gearbox makes smooth launches virtually impossible -- the accelerator pedal becomes an on-off switch at a stop -- and the carbon ceramic brakes howl like a clapped-out school bus whenever approaching stops.

Jet up a freeway on-ramp and slide into fast-moving traffic, though, and the M6 suddenly begins to get into its element. It’ll do 70 without batting an eye, but one suspects it is happiest closer to 140. All the controls lighten up, throttle response is instant and the formerly burdensome transmission flicks between gears flawlessly. Then, brake lights ahead; slow down to 20 and the whole experience falls apart again.

If I lived on a racetrack, the M3 would be near the top of my wish list. If I lived on an Autobahn the M6 might make that list, too. Unfortunately, I live in a suburb just outside a major American city, and daily driving an M6 is about as much fun as commuting in a Hemi ‘Cuda.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR RORY CARROLL: This 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe is the first BMW I’ve driven in quite a while that I liked. It’s not pretty, but it’s less emphatically goofy than other M-cars. The pedestrian crash standard-inspired snout is probably the least attractive part of the design, but I’m holding out hope that BMW will get it figured out in future iterations of the M6.

I should also mention that the idea of a “Gran Coupe” as chopped and restyled sedan is silly -- especially when the M5 sedan is somewhat better looking -- but you’ve probably heard that before, so other than this brief pause to register my indignation, I won’t spend more time on it.


With a curb weight that would place it among the lightest Ford F-150s of model year 2006, the M6 isn’t exactly an obvious pick as a track car. That makes the addition of carbon-ceramic disc-brakes a little bit of a head-scratcher, until you consider their price, $9,250 -- well-sold. The handling is impressive; actually, when you consider what must go into making a car this size turn and stop safely, the handling is far more than impressive, maybe miraculous.

The interior of the last M6 I drove was somewhat shoddy, or at least it had been shoddily repaired. It seems they’ve figured it out though; this one was above-average as far as quality and comfort.

So, I’m not crazy about the looks and I’m puzzled by the form factor. What I do like is the drivetrain. The first smirk crept across my face when I steered across a broken yellow line in northern Michigan and matted the accelerator. I’d expected a burst of speed, a second to get my wits, and a dab of the brakes on my way back down to a respectable speed. What I got felt like being whipped around the moon and hurtled back toward Earth, Apollo 13-style.

EDITORIAL INTERN SAM THETARD: As the Autoweek intern, my seat time in our rides is considerably less than my editorial superiors. However, after several trips in the M6 amounting to no more than 30 or 40 minutes of drive time I felt compelled to say something about this car.

BMW is more so than ever a head-scratcher of a company. Must they fill every product niche they see? The 6-series is logical enough, I suppose, and I’ve always felt that it’s a reasonably attractive car. The 6-series Gran Coupe undoubtedly exists to compete with the Audi A7 and Mercedes CLS-class (which Wes mentioned), arguably the two more successful “four-door coupe” variants, and the M variant exists to compete with its RS and AMG counterparts, but to what end?

I must confess that I think the M6 Gran Coupe is rather attractive. I imagine it’s what the M5 looked like in sketch form, before BMW engineers realized that they had to put people in it, which is my first issue with the M6. Tall belt lines and slammed roofs look great from the street. If I was behind a Gran Coupe on the highway, I would try my hardest to keep up with it, just to ogle its forms, of which there are some truly fresh ones to behold. However, from inside the M6, I felt like I was in a cave. An Alcantara and carbon fiber-wrapped cave. The sight lines out of this thing are miserable, and for the sake of what? Styling?

Confession number two: over the last year I’ve learned how to drive manual, and driving the M6 reminded me of the herky-jerky early days of manual life. Like Andy and Wes mentioned, launches in the M6 are impossible to get right. At some point I tried to curb the problem by keeping it in manual mode and doing the shifting myself, which seemed to help a little.

Gearbox aside, the M5-derived motor is an absolute hauler. Merging on the highway is a hoot. Getting up to speed isn’t the problem, so much as getting back down when you realize you’ve hit 70 mph several seconds ago. That whole slowing down thing leads me to my next issue: the Bimmer’s carbon ceramic. I was bestowed a 2002 PT Cruiser in college, and those breaks squealed, but that car was free, and cheap. One of my minimum requirements for a $100K car is that I don’t cringe every time I come to a stop light, which means I would pass on the carbon ceramic brake option.

Here then is a car that presents its self with a cavalcade of “buts.” But if I were at the track, but if I did a lot of highway driving, but if drove it on the autobahn. The M6 offers a lot for a lot, but I think I’ll have something else.

SENIOR MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: Similar to one of Andy’s entries in the log for Autoweek’s long-term M3, I read the above notes and I can’t help but chuckle a fair amount. The comments and analyses crisscross the map like a vagabond caravan.

For instance: Some continue to bash BMW’s dual-clutch gearbox, which I don’t understand whatsoever other than agreeing that it takes a while to master smooth starts from a dead stop, but it can be done. Oh, I can hear it now: “But Morrison, you shouldn’t have to figure out how to perform smooth starts.” OK, but note that no doubt some of the voices who might say such are also easy to imagine complaining that modern cars don’t have any quirks to them -- the same “quirks” that they view through blood-red, let alone rose-colored, glasses when waxing on about some vintage Porsche 911 or BMW or some utterly obscure Cold War-era Eastern European creation that only nine other people have even heard of. I’m just sayin …

Anyway, maybe I haven’t spent enough time driving the M3 or this M6 Gran Coupe in automatic mode. In my experience, using the shift paddles, anyone who says this transmission is jerky must be driving an entirely different car than I am, because it’s outstandingly smooth unless you start banging downshifts at a point in the rev range that drops it into a lower gear right at said gear’s upper reaches. But on upshifts? It’s perfectly smooth. To the former point, I was surprised on more than one occasion to discover how eager the software is to allow you to downshift into first gear, a jolting experience in some cases and one that had me cringing in mechanical sympathy. Yes, I’m the one who pulled the downshift paddle, but I was curious to see how the gearbox behaved. I can imagine someone on a racetrack or even in spirited driving on public roads going into a brake zone, getting enthusiastic with their downshifts, losing track of what gear they are in and accidentally banging into first earlier than is ideal.

Of course we also have the ubiquitous contrary views about styling, which frankly is subjective. I don’t care how many design degrees you’ve earned, it’s still subjective. And in my case here, I like the M6 Gran Coupe’s lines; I agree with Rory somewhat about the front end, but overall I find this to be one of the more pleasing BMW designs in quite some time. The interior is nicer, or at least racier, than what I remember from an earlier M6, helped out by a good amount of carbon fiber trim.

I enjoyed driving the Gran Coupe, whether in traffic or out for a solitary drive through some curves. The engine delivers you to a waypoint down the road almost before you’ve even decided you want to get there, and despite the high curb weight, handling on the street impressed me with its eager dartiness. I would not be surprised to find a big helping of understeer as you approach the chassis’ limits on a racetrack. Doubting that many M6 Gran Coupe owners track this car regularly, or ever, the carbon ceramic brakes, as well as being noisy, are simply overkill, sort of like purchasing a rocket launcher and dragging it to your local gun range when you know you’ll never be allowed to use it. But maybe some egos are fed by pointing at your giant rotors and calipers and mocking your M6-driving neighbor for not ticking that box on the options list.

Even on ill-maintained sections of roads the ride is pleasant, with a well-damped suspension never wallowing but likewise never making me uncomfortable. No, nothing about the Gran Coupe shouts “practical” or “logical,” and it’s certainly more high-strung in overall character than a comparable Audi or Mercedes-Benz. And no, Wes, it’s not cheap. But if you don’t need a cavernous backseat area for long trips with passengers but do appreciate having back seats at all, and if like me you admire this M6’s lines, you are foolish to dismiss this BMW out of hand as a car you might be interested in.

Judul: News Cars - 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe review notes
Review oleh: Tukang Coding |
Update pada: 6:15 PM | Rating: 4.5

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