Reviews

2013 BMW M6 Walk Around

The 2013 BMW M6 convertible is totally eye-catching, with big sumptuous lines, whether conspicuously topless or covered by its top, especially in black which makes the soft-top roofline stand out. Our test car was white, the pristine color adding to the allure and statement of the convertible, the feeling of freedom.

From the backside, the car makes the statement of power, with its wide track, fat rear tires and four exhaust tips coming out of the diffuser integrated into the lower rear fascia.

The M6 has an athletic aura, with powerfully taut surfaces, elegant lines, and precise contours. The front wheels fill wide flared arches, while the fascia is filled by big black eggcrate intakes, rimmed by fins and flaps to flow the air into them. Smooth slanted trapezoidal headlamps glare down upon the BMW kidney grille with black ribs, too bad about the chrome rim around it. An LED accent light cuts across the tops of the standard adaptive Xenon headlamps like a glittery eyebrow. LED headlamps are available, so even in the dark, they'll know your car is something special.

On the sides, functional gills that could look distinctive are instead heavily chrome-plated, a design touch worthy of a Buick. A sharp crease drops down and back from the gill, matched by another at the line of the door handle, while a steep edge streaks straight back above each M6-badged sill. High-gloss Shadow Line trim surrounds the coupe's side windows or underlines the convertible's waistline. We're not crazy about either the 19-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels, touched in black with wide spaces to expose the 15.6-inch rotors and six-piston calipers painted blue metallic standard. Black is available.

BMW calls the shape of the soft top, “flying buttress architecture,” which makes the M6 convertible sound like a cargo plane, which it's definitely not. “Projecting into the rear section, the buttresses accentuate the car's dynamically sweeping silhouette,” which they definitely do. The heated, vertical glass rear window retracts with the top up. The top can be lowered or raised at 25 mph, good for sudden summer rainstorms, 19 seconds to open and 24 seconds to close. You can do it with the key fob, before or after you get in or out. It comes in black, beige, or optional Anthracite Silver. We only saw black, as it should be.

The coupe's top is cool carbon fiber, its light weight lowering the center of gravity. The trunk lid for both the coupe and convertible are also a composite material.

Interior

The standard Merino leather upholstery is the same leather that's an expensive option for the other BMW 6 Series models. The seats, specific to the M6, adjust every way imaginable, including lumbar and thigh support and adjustable headrest. They have added bolstering, but still not enough for the hard cornering that the M6 is capable of. BMW boasts that the M6 is ready and popular for track days, but seat-sliding happens. It's nice that the dead pedal the driver needs for support has an M badge on it.

The instrumentation is clean and beautiful, with silver-rimmed analog gauges befitting of such a high-performance car. The 200-mph speedometer is optimistic only in the sense that top speed is electronically limited to 155. Coincidentally or not, 100 mph is located on top, so your eye can watch the red needle at high noon. The red needle on the M-badged 8000-rpm tach climbs so fast it's a blur. The M6 accelerates so quickly your eyes need to be on the road, so to keep up with the 7-speed gearbox without watching the tach there should be a shift light, like the Mercedes SLS AMG has.

Actually, there is a shift light, but only with the optional Head-up Display, which displays the rpms among other programmable things. This HUD is so good, and so important, that it's really must-have equipment with the M6 if not every car. BMW's display brilliantly uses color, and it's excellent for the navigation directions that can be displayed.

There's a small horizontal window under the speedo and tach, that's easy to read and scroll through. It provides great information, including feedback from all the drive and chassis settings that the driver can select.

The center stack is relatively tidy and angled toward the driver. The navigation is displayed on a beautifully wide 10.2-inch screen with a big eave and special treatment so it can be read in the sunlight. We drove with the top down in sunny California, and it works, a great relief because many information screens can't be seen, Jaguar at the top of the list. And with that width, you can get radio information and navigation on the screen at the same time.

Since most of the functions are controlled by the iDrive dial on the console and the display screen, the function needs to be effortless; and with the simplified and improved iDrive, it's easy now. Especially tuning the satellite radio, without struggling or dangerous distraction. The BMW now is one of the easiest, better than most Chrysler cars! In the audio mode, it gives you all the XM information you need, including artist and song title.

The trunk is small for the size of the car, at 11 cubic feet. And as for the rear seat, forget it. If you want room for your backseat passengers' legs, buy a Fiat 500. We're only half-joking. The Fiat has 32.2 inches, the M6 30.5 inches, which gives you some idea. At least with the M6 convertible, you can put the top down to make it easier for your passengers to squeeze in. Not the case with the coupe.

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