Full 2014 BMW M6 Review
What's New for 2014
A six-speed manual transmission is now available on the 2014 BMW M6 alongside the plenty capable seven-speed automated manual. Besides that, satellite radio and soft-close automatic doors are now standard.
It's a rare event when a car comes along with as much grand touring potential as the 2014 BMW M6. It is equally adept at blissfully transporting you on an epic road trip as it is at getting your pulse pounding with stunning performance. Furthering its appeal is the availability of either coupe or convertible body styles, both of which benefit from ultrasleek yet understated styling. This year, BMW is even trying to appease driving enthusiasts who cling to clutch pedals and hand-rowed gears with the addition of a traditional six-speed manual transmission option.
Much of the M6's overarching versatility is thanks to the myriad electronic systems that transform this car from luxury touring car to fire-breathing beast at the touch of a button. Drivers can select their preferred ride quality, be it comfortably smooth or racecar stiff, along with throttle response and shift aggression. Although, with 560 horsepower at your disposal from the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, a certain amount of aggression is guaranteed in any mode.
Just like the 6 Series on which it's based, the 2014 BMW M6 has a wealth of high-tech features that are surrounded by sumptuous interior materials. These include night vision with pedestrian detection, a head-up display, LED headlights, massaging seats and a host of cameras that will even peer around corners. Of course, BMW's reputation for solid construction and smart design are evident throughout, too.
So if you're one of those rare drivers who find the already-capable BMW 6 Series lacking in performance, and you're OK with paying tens of thousands of dollars more for this sort of breathtaking power, the 2014 BMW M6 is right up your alley. So, too, are the likes of the 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, 2014 Audi R8 and 2014 Porsche 911. All offer convertible versions and a similar range of comfort and performance, and you're not going to go wrong with any of them. But if you want luxury and performance in equal measure from your grand touring machine, the BMW M6 could very well be the way to go.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 BMW M6 is available as either a coupe or convertible, both of which are offered in a single, very well-appointed trim level. A four-door M6 Gran Coupe sedan is also available, and it's covered in a separate review.
Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, automatic adaptive xenon headlights, heated and power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors and automatic soft-close doors. Coupe models come with either a carbon-fiber roof or sunroof at no extra charge, while the convertible features a power-operated fabric top and a glass rear window that can be raised independently of the top to serve as a wind blocker.
On the inside you get dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery (sun-reflective leather seats for the convertible), 16-way power heated front seats (with four-way lumbar support), front seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, carbon-fiber interior trim and interior ambient lighting.
Electronic features include Bluetooth phone and streaming audio; BMW's iDrive interface with a 10.2-inch display; a rearview camera; a navigation system with voice commands; smartphone app integration; and a 16-speaker surround-sound audio system (12 speakers for the convertible) with a CD player, satellite and HD radio and USB/iPod integration. Also included are driver-adjustable settings for the suspension, transmission, steering and engine in varying degrees, from comfort to all-out performance.
An optional Executive package includes LED headlights with automatic high beams, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a head-up display, massage functionality for the front seats and a power rear sunshade. The Driver Assistance package can be added to the Executive package, and includes automatic high-beam control, a lane-departure warning system, a blind-spot monitor and a camera system with top-down and around-the-corner views.
Major stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, a premium 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, extended leather upholstery and a night vision system with pedestrian detection.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 BMW M6 is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces an impressive 560 hp and 500 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission with shift paddles is standard, and new for this year, a traditional six-speed manual is available as an option. An automatic stop-start engine function to conserve fuel at stoplights is also included.
In Edmunds performance testing, a convertible M6 with the auto-manual transmission sprinted to 60 mph in a mere 4.2 seconds. We expect the lighter coupe to be marginally quicker.
The EPA estimates fuel economy for both the coupe and convertible at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg in combined driving for the automatic, and 15/22/17 for the manual transmission.
Standard safety features for all 2014 BMW M6 models include antilock disc brakes with advanced standby and drying features, hill-hold control, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, knee airbags and active front-seat head restraints. Convertibles receive added rollover protection.
Standard on both the convertible and coupe is a rearview camera integrated into the 10.2-inch touchscreen display. The optional Driver Assistance package includes a lane-departure warning system, a blind-spot monitor and a camera system with top-down and around-the-corner views. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system (provides automatic crash notification and on-demand roadside assistance) and BMW Remote Services (adds stolen-vehicle recovery and remote door unlocking).
In Edmunds brake testing, a convertible M6 came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet, an average distance for this class of car on summer tires.
Interior Design and Special Features
Expectations are high for a six-figure BMW's interior, and the 2014 M6 easily fulfills the promise of a top-shelf luxury experience with high-performance elements here and there. Rich materials adorn every interior surface and expert craftsmanship is evident throughout. The front seats feature an abundance of power adjustments to ensure either a comfortable fit or racecar-like lateral support for those moments when you're driving the M6 hard. Rear seat passengers will not fare nearly as well, as the cramped space is suitable only for small children, though just about every other competing coupe or convertible is similarly confining in back.
BMW's classic analog gauges are easy to read at a glance, while the tech-heavy iDrive electronics interface has a straightforward menu structure, crisp graphics and quick processing times, which helps minimize the amount of time you spend looking away from the road. That said, new owners should sit down and familiarize themselves with iDrive before hitting the road, because it's still a complex system and you can't master everything while the car's in motion.
Unlike some other convertibles in this range, the drop-top M6 won't require much in the way of functional compromises. With the top up, the well-insulated cloth roof is free from any whistles or leaks at highway speed. With the top down, the glass rear window can be raised to provide an effective wind blocker, permitting civilized conversations and preventing a bad hair day. Also noteworthy is the useful trunk, which measures 12.4 cubic feet (10.6 cubic feet with the top retracted). The coupe's trunk holds 13 cubic feet.
It's a fair assumption that the 2014 BMW M6 will bring a smile to the face of the most power-hungry of motorists. What we've found surprising, however, is that the M6 is a joy to drive whether you're just leisurely cruising down the highway or stomping on the throttle with commitment. Thanks to adjustable settings for the suspension, steering, transmission and throttle response, the M6 can adapt to your every mood.
In its sharpest performance settings, this car is a fire-breathing beast that snorts and snarls with uncommon aggression. Yet the acceleration won't terrify you, as it's accompanied by a refined stability control system that modulates power delivery without shutting down all of the fun.
Even so, this M6 is a heavy, grand-touring-oriented machine. Once you add the poor sight lines over the long nose from the driver seat, it becomes clear that this car is at its best when the road is fast and open. This is a very fast grand touring car, not a sports car.