The Act And The Exclamation

2013 BMW M6

The 2013 BMW M6 is a rolling obscenity – one that begins with the capital letter "F." It is both the act and the exclamation, the curse and the encouragement. It courts no logic. It is all want and no need, and it is unbecoming of the BMW roundel. Whereas the brand's products once strove to unite man and machine in a duet of blissful performance, the M6 seems built solely to stand between the driver and the road. You are very clearly in its way every second you're behind the wheel, slowing it down and generally being the Monday morning to its two-day trance festival. It's clear this car is very fast, but it has no interest in making you fast in the way that the M3 or even the M5 are wont to do.

But somehow, all that doesn't stop the car from stoking every last lick of lust in your gut. A 560-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 will do that for you.

Driving Notes
  • I think this may very well be the most beautiful machine in the BMW stable right now. The fascia, wheels and carbon fiber roof of the M line all help sharpen the standard 6 Series nicely, turning the car from an awkward bubble into a lithe and purposeful grand tourer. It snatches eyeballs like a cleptomaniac Doctor Frankenstein at the optometrist's office: with both purpose and glee.
  • The real magic of this car is at its heart: a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 with 560 horsepower 500 pound-feet of torque. The thrust out of this engine is fiendish in its delivery, and you can't help but get the sense that the only thing keeping this powerplant from leaping out of the coupe's nose and terrorizing the countryside is you. The car strains against the brake pedal at every stop light, and the exhaust burbles and pops in some of our favorite anti-social tones. It is the rolling embodiment of Skynet.
  • Our tester came with a seven-speed double-clutch transmission. The logic can be switched between "sane" and "why am I in the next county?" There is no middle ground, but the paddle shifters feel great. The shift lever, meanwhile, might as well have been imported from another planet. In the future. In an alternate dimension. It's that counterintuitive.
  • Speaking of switches, there are independent controls for the shift logic, dampers and steering. You can save your presets by plowing through the iDrive system or by pressing and holding a button on the steering wheel, but it all feels like an unnecessary added step. The M6 doesn't simply remember which settings the driver preferred from one jaunt to the next. The result is a car that's in your way more often than not. It's either the best or worst first world problem in the history of our species.
  • BMW didn't hold back with the carbon fiber on this machine. Our tester came with a composite roof and carbon-fiber trim indoors. It originally wore the optional carbon ceramic brakes as well, but some yokel had already roasted the rotors off of the car. BMW went back with steel. At $8,700 for the option, we don't blame them.
  • This all sounds like a lot of bellyaching, but don't misunderstand. There are only a handful of cars out there that can evoke the sort of emotion this one does, and most of them carry price tags more than double the $123,345 of our tester. That's not saying it's worth the coin, but the car has its place.
UPDATE: BMW informs us the carbon-ceramic brake option was removed due to the fact that that this particular model was manufactured in 2012. The carbon-ceramic rotors were only available on models built in 2013. While the vehicle's monroney showed the option at $8,700, BMW says the brakes are available for $9,250, but are covered under the company's four-year, 50,000 mile maintenance program.
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