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2007 BMW M6 Coupe Review

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2007 BMW M6 Coupe

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for BMW


ENGINE: 5-liter DOHC V10
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 500 hp @ 7750 rpm/383 lb.-ft. @ 6100 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed sequential manual gearbox
WHEELBASE: 109.4 in.
LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT: 190.2 x 73.0 x 54.1 in.
TIRES: 255/40 ZR19 (front)/285/35 ZR 19 (rear)
CARGO VOLUME: 13.0 cu. ft.
FUEL ECONOMY: 12 m pg city/18 mpg highway
STICKER: $106,690 (includes $695 destination and delivery charge and $3,000 gas guzzler tax)

Assets: Beautiful automobile with great gobs of power and the handling to go along with it.

Debits: The price, unfortunately. The trunk could be larger.

Several manufacturers have their “skunk works” where they develop high-performance versions of their standard road cars. Mercedes-Benz has AMG, Cadillac has the v-versions of some of its sportier cars, and even Chevrolet has “SS” badged versions of just about every car it markets.

Likewise, BMW offers M versions of some of its cars. The M designation means the car has been tuned to create a higher-performance engine, with a sportier suspension and often a different transmission. In some cases, there are engines available in the M cars that you can’t get in the non-M versions of the same car.

Such is the situation with the M6 Coupe, the hotted-up version of BMW’s stunning 6-Series Coupe. The M6 is powered by a V10 engine that develops 500 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, much more than the standard car. All this comes at a price, of course, but even the “normal” 6-Series is far from bottom-of-the-line.

I’m one of those people who thinks the BMW 6-Series is one of the more beautiful automobiles that esteemed company has built. It, like most coupes, has great proportions and is, to me, the epitome of what a BMW should look like. Sure, the more prosaic 3- and 5-Series must be practical because they are the bread-and-butter cars, but the 6 is to be loved and adored.

With that in mind, I salivated when they handed me the keys to my own M6. Technically, of course, it wasn’t my own. I also had to share it with another journalist in the rolling hills north of Milwaukee, but it was worth the sharing.

The 500 hp V10 engine purred, no matter how hard we flogged it. Fortunately, the gendarmes weren’t in force that day, because we pushed the big round speedometer into triple digits on roads that had half that as a speed limit. I’ll confess I was speeding, but in a car like the M6 that isn’t driving dangerously. The car is solid and has a suspension designed to keep the driver and passengers safe, no matter what kind of road is encountered.

We proved this further later in our test day when we hit the track at Road America, one of the country’s premier road-racing facilities. My instructor/co-driver for my “hot laps” kept complimenting me on how smoothly I was driving and how well I was hitting the apexes of the corners. Heck, it wasn’t me; it was the M6. It’s the kind of car that can make anyone look like an experienced race driver.

But the M6 isn’t just about breaking speed limits or driving on a race track. It’s a solid coupe that can take you from point A to point B in style and comfort. While the standard 6-Series coupe or convertible can also perform this relatively simple act with equal style and panache, the M6 does it with the underlying feeling that, if you want to, you can be very naughty.

The seats in the M6 are leather-faced and offer excellent side support. Again, a good part of the reason for being able to drive on the track with such assurance is the fact that the M6 molds to your body so well. You grip a fat leather-covered steering wheel that keeps you in control of the car with great ease. I loved BMW’s new progressive steering. I kept my hands at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions for the entire ride, and never had to shuffle them around when I came to tighter corners. On the track, of course, with higher speeds and tighter corners there was a need to shift my hands, but not often and not by much.

The M6 is definitely a driver’s car.

There are some unfortunate compromises with the M6, compromises that you run into with most coupes. The trunk is tiny at 13 cubic feet. Sure, it’s about right for a compact car, but when you’re headed out for a trip of any length in a car like this, your wife will most certainly want to take along all her best clothes and shoes. So a larger trunk would be helpful. And it is simply too small for golf clubs. It’d be great if there was room for two sets, so you could impress your partner, but cramming one bag back there is tough.

But I’m carping. If you aren’t scared by the over-$100,000 sticker, and if you’re interested in a high-performance car that won’t set you back by 50 percent more than that, then the M6 might be the vehicle for you. It has a limited audience, but that audience can also consider itself very lucky.

Very lucky.

2006 The Auto Page Syndicate