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Road Test: 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupé
After our duo test with the BMW M6 Coupé and the BMW M6 Convertible it was finally time to test BMW’s latest M-model, the BMW M6 Gran Coupé. With the Gran Coupé, BMW has followed Mercedes and Audi in a particularly important market niche. With the M-model, BMW can compete with the Mercedes CLS63 AMG, Porsche Panamera Turbo and the brand new Audi RS7, which we have also tested recently.
The M6 Gran Coupé rides, just like the normal 6-series Coupé on a 2.97 meters wheelbase, which is about 114 mm longer than the two-door 6-series but about four inches longer than the 5-series sedan. This extra length has been used to enhance seating comfort for the rear passenger. Expect more rear legroom but less headroom in the back because of the roof. Compared to the two-door coupé, the Gran Coupe is 113mm longer and the roofline is 23mm higher.
The Engine, Gearbox & Drivetrain
In the front we have the 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, similar to the power plant of the M5. It produces 680 Nm available from 1,500 rpm to 5,750 rpm. The violence of the 560hp stops at 7,200 rpm when the redline arrives. The engine features direct fuel injection, Valvetronic variable valve timing and Double VANOS continuously variable camshaft control, all of which help it to rev to 7,200 rpm.
The engine forms an excellent team with the seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic. The M-DCT gives you perfect fast changes when in manual mode but also offers comfort automatic shifting while cruising. The M6 Gran Coupe is fitted with an extremely capable chassis, which includes an active limited-slip differential, electronically controlled shock absorbers and a fixed rear sub frame which provides excellent balance between the rear wheels. The active limited-slip differential reduces under steer, provides better high-speed stability and improves cornering performance. But this car isn’t for quick cornering and small roads, this car is for high speed cruising. At any speed the car just keeps accelerating. While driving on the insert lane of the highway, high speeds are reached even before entering it.
Arranged around the gearshift lever on the centre console of the BMW M6 Gran Coupé are the buttons used to configure all the adjustable power train and chassis functions to personal tastes. The DSC mode, engine performance characteristics, Dynamic Damper Control mapping, M Servotronic responses and M DCT Drivelogic shift program can be selected independently of each other. All of which means the driver can put together a detailed personal set-up and store those settings on one of the two M Drive buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. When changing the settings, for example the DSC to Sport or Sport+ the traction control will help you less when needed. When changing the engine performance characteristics(the button with the biggest changes in our opinion) to Sport or even Sport+, the M6 Gran Coupe will stay in the higher rev ranges, while getting a lot better throttle responses and a better exhaust sound. This setting is great when pushing the car when there is enough space.
The M6 Gran Coupé sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 4,2 seconds. That’s as quick as the M6 coupé and 0.3 seconds quicker than the lighter M5. The top speed is limited at 250 km/h but it can be raised to 305 km/h with the addition of the M Drivers package.
Our test car was fitted with the M carbon ceramic brakes. The brakes weigh 50% less than the M compound brake disc and thanks to their exceptionally resistant’s to corrosion, the M carbon ceramic brake have a much longer life. You have to get used to these brakes because the feel and behaviour is a little different compared to the compound brake disc. Especially when they are wet and cold there is not much braking power and the brakes have to be pushed hard.
The Sport and Sport+ settings of the Dynamic Damper Control are slightly felt when driving in a straight line but the settings are really a different when it comes to cornering. The dampers are not so kind anymore and keeping the car steadier than ever. The car will say no to bumps and unevenness in roads, where it is a yes in comfort.
To enjoy a bit of both, comfort and sport, we kept this setting mostly in Sport. Next we have the Steering set-up. This also can be changed to Sport and Sport +. Changing this setting, will change the steering weight. It will let the car listen very carefully to your steering movements. The steering gets a little bit heavy but the faster you are driving, the lighter and more useful it will get. The car steers perfectly and really direct wherever you want. This is really handy when driving at high speeds or while pushing the car because the sensitivity of the steering gives you more confidence.
We already knew the M design front and rear bumper with the four exhaust tips from the M6 Coupé and Convertible but the Gran Coupé model is the one which is, in our opinion, the best looking 6-series. The M6 version is also recognizable by the M badges in the front grill, on the side and on the back.
The exterior design has a sort of elegance. In combination with the strong lines it looks quite unique especially with Frozen Silver metallic paint. The matte is a matter of love it or hate it and we love it! In combination with the design of the 6-series Gran Coupé, the carbon roof and the carbon diffusor , it’s really eye catching. Besides the braking performance the ceramic brakes have a stunning look with the matte gold callipers. Around the brakes, BMW fitted 20″ M Double-spoke light-alloy wheels, exclusively for the BMW M6 Gran Coupé. The rims are available in two different versions.
The driving position is quite the same as the 6-series coupé, it feels lower than the M5. Other things you will notice are the many options fitted to our test car. First of all, the Head-Up display. The display projects the speed, navigation direction and Check Control data into the driver’s view into the front window. Pressing a button activates the M-specific indicator. In addition to the speed, the Head-Up Display also displays the SMG gear currently selected via the variable rev counter with shift lights. First you have to get used to the projection but after a while it isn’t annoying anymore but very useful instead. Furthermore the car was fitted with every option you can imagine.
A small enumeration: Soft Close Automatic doors, 4 zone automatic air-conditioning, electric sun screen, surround view, Park Distance Control, active M Multi functional seats with ventilation and many more. Highlights were the Bang & Olufsen High End Surround Sound system which made you experience music like you were live at a concert. The Night Vision option was cool and also useful at some points. It recognizes pedestrians when you are driving in a complete dark street. But it can also be used while driving on the Autobahn in the middle of the night.
Next to all the technical options our test car was provided with dark brown BMW Individual Leather upholstery and BMW Individual Piano Black inlay trim. BMW Individual can make your BMW unique and more exclusive when you want more than just the normal options.
During our test drive of two days we drove about 700km across almost every road you can imagine. Through the city, the country side and of course the highway. We tested a various of settings in different circumstances. We left everything in comfort while driving in the city. While driving through the city at low speeds it feels like a normal Gran Coupé. Not uncomfortable, not aggressive but just easy and light to drive.
We also drove a short route through the country side. It doesn’t feel much bigger than the Coupé but it feels big on small roads. For example when cornering you feel that the car is heavy, especially in the front what causes a little bit of under steer. On the German autobahn the BMW M6 Gran Coupe is perfectly in its element. Always enough power under your right foot and no compromise in comfort.
How does it compare to the BMW M5?
As we said in the beginning of this review the M5 is slightly shorter which causes more leg room in the M6 Gran Coupé. On the other hand the head room in the Gran Coupé is less because of the roof lining. Our test driver of 1.83m had no problem but our 5cm taller passenger had difficulties with head during our city drive which included some speed bumps.
The BMW M5 is lighter but the difference is not noticeable. The biggest difference between the M5 and the M6 Gran Coupé is of course the design but also the price… The M6 Gran Coupé costs you 25,000 Euro more than the BMW M5. And the second hand M5’s are even cheaper if you do not specifically want a brand new car. So you have to think, is the BMW M6 Gran Coupé worth the extra money?
What to spec?
Our test car was fitted with options worth more than 40,000 Euro (in The Netherlands). The matte paint, ceramic brakes, B&O sound system and the Individual Full Leather Upholstery were the most expensive options. But also the most personal choices.
If we could spec the BMW M6 Gran Coupé it would probably be fitted with those options. The exterior and interior combinations are a stunning match. These options in combination with the Alcantara headliner is one of the most perfect combination you can think of.
So why would you buy the BMW M6 Gran Coupé? We love its design and coupe looks and it has plenty of style. But its much more expensive than the M5, especially when you are not specifically looking for a brand new car…
Then we have the competition from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. The BMW is the best looking and together with the Porsche, the sportiest one. It is not the fastest in a straight line because of the limited grip of the rear wheels with a standing start but that makes it one of the most fun compared to the rest.