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Published: 04/25/2013 - by Michael Taylor, Correspondent
According to BMW, there are sport sedan buyers who think the BMW M5 doesn't suit them. BMW doesn't say why, but in a bout of unashamed honesty, the company insists it happens.
To combat the unexplained disdain for the powerful 5 Series, BMW has essentially rebodied it. In place of the 5 Series-based sheet metal of the 2013 BMW M5, there now sits the sleeker shape of the 6 Series Gran Coupe. The result is the equally powerful, yet slightly more luxurious 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe.
The four-door "coupe" has the same wheelbase, engine, suspension, transmission and rear-wheel-drive configuration as the M5. Despite this, BMW says the two models won't compete against each other. So one minute BMW is being brutally honest, and the next it ignores the obvious. Go figure.
The Luxurious Side of M
Every word we heard from BMW at the launch of the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe mentioned the word "luxury" before the word "power." That's partly because the M6 is positioned slightly above the M5 and partly because it actually is luxurious.
The driver seat is a particularly pleasant place to be, with the long, curving strip of leather-clad dashboard joining to the center console to create the driver-focused interior that the M5 lacks. There are beautiful touches of trimming throughout, including a leather strip that runs the length of the carbon-fiber roof.
As in all cut-down sedans like the Gran Coupe, the rear seat is a little tight. In this case, it's not claustrophobic like the 2012 Aston Martin Rapide, but it's not nearly as spacious as the rear quarters of the 2013 Porsche Panamera.
There's Power Aplenty
So the luxury is definitely there, but so is the power. The 4.4-liter V8 has its pair of twin-scroll turbochargers snuggled inside the engine's vee and uses both variable valve timing and variable valve lift, along with direct fuel injection.
This helps it to crank out 500 pound-feet of torque from just 1,500 rpm, and it holds that figure until 5,750 rpm. By then, the 560-hp power peak is set to take over the headlines, and it does that happily at 6,000 rpm. All of that power runs through a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and on to 20-inch rear wheels.
Part of the reason it needs that much power is that it's not particularly light, with 4,134 pounds spread 50:50 between the front and rear axles. A pair of 15.7-inch rotors up front gives the six-piston fixed calipers plenty of bite to quickly bring the big sedan to a stop.
More Than Numbers
Once you're behind the wheel of the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe you quickly forget the numbers. Actually, you quickly forget most things, because the V8 is working hard to make anything in front of you get big in a hurry.
This is a monster motor, and its claimed 0-62-mph time of 4.2 seconds backs it up. There are competitors that are faster on paper, yet it's hard to imagine them feeling faster than this sedan. Its in-gear acceleration is phenomenal, with an exhaust note demonstrably louder and more brutal than the Audi RS 6 and an equally dramatic treatment of the off-throttle and gearchange theatre.
Leave it in gear (any gear) and it will revel in a torque curve that stiffens at 1,500 rpm before it delivers another 5,500 rpm of punishment on top of that. Our M6 Gran Coupe had the higher, 190-mph speed limiter that the U.S. cars won't get and the car hit it, hard and quickly. And all the time the big sedan was streaming across Germany, it sat there, rock solid even in the presence of the occasionally wandering hatchback. Its only wobble came in the sudden transition from full throttle at vMax to full braking, and then it was only a little trace of instability as the changing stance altered the aero angle of attack.
A Big List of Competitors
Perhaps the biggest problem facing the M6 Gran Coupe is the sheer number of equally competent competitors that already reside in the category. There's the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG in both rear- and all-wheel-drive guise, and soon it will be joined by the CLS63 AMG. We won't get the incredible twin-turbo V8 Audi RS 6 wagon, but it forms the basis of the upcoming Audi RS 7 that will make its way to the States.
The odd thing is that the AMGs, Quattros and Ms are all within a scattered handful of horsepower of each other. If anything separates them, it's the fact that the Audi and Mercedes sedans have the advantage of putting their power down through all four wheels. Makes us wonder when BMW will just get on the bandwagon.
Until then, the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe will likely do just fine. Its shape is one of the most elegant in the business right now, and anyone who doesn't feel like 560 hp is enough has other issues. All-wheel drive or not, this M6 puts its power down just fine, and even if it's not the most nimble sedan around tight bends, it dispatches more direct stretches of road with the kind of ease that makes it a flawless grand tourer.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
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