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BMW Muscles Up with New M6

Maker offering both coupe and convertible models.

by on Mar.07, 2012

BMW tech chief Klaus Draeger reveals the new M6 (l) and Grand Coupe

There was a time when BMW’s vaunted M products were in short supply, European performance fans sometimes having to wait a year or more for one of the exclusive models as they came and went from production.

Not anymore.  While individual products might have brief gaps between  model changeovers the overall M line-up is growing fast – even faster if you include the new M Performance line-up, such as the maker’s new M550d triple-turbo diesel-powered rocket ship that is on display at the Geneva Motor Show.

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The formal introduction of that brand-within-a-brand was one of several big announcements at Geneva’s PALExpo Convention Center this week, but the big news was clearly the unveiling of the next-generation BMW M6.

Based on the 6-Series Cabriolet that came to market early last year, and the Coupe that followed soon after, it is the most-powerful two-door BMW has ever offered, with its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 making 560 horsepower – a full 20 hp more than the same engine currently churns out under the hood of the BMW M5.

The new M6 migrates to a twin-turbo V-8 shared with the latest BMW M5.

The new BMW M6 might disappoint a few purists, however, as the Bavarian maker has decided to stick with a double-clutch transmission rather than also offering a manual gearbox. But considering the way the double-clutch performs on the M5, complains are likely to be limited.

The sleek sedan makes good use of the power surging through its rear wheels, launching from 0 to 100 kmh (62.5 mph) in just 4.2 seconds – nudging into what’s considered supercar territory these days.

To help get all that power to the pavement, the new Active M Differential uses an electronic data link to the new BMW M6’s Dynamic Stability Control system, meanwhile, to smoothly shift power to the driven wheels to maintain maximum traction at all times.

Surprisingly, BMW has achieved the once seemingly impossible, reporting that the new M6 will deliver about 30% better fuel economy than before.  That’s in the European test cycle, however, and it remains to be seen if it can match that number in the States. Nonetheless, there’s likely to be a double-digit improvement once the EPA testing is completed.

The new BMW M550d diesel anchors the new BMW M Performance series.

Visually, the new BMW M6 is distinguished by bigger wheels – with 20-inch rubber available – the massive front air scoops and other classic M series detailing.

To scrub off speed, both versions of the M6 will be offered with 15.7 inches brakes up front and 15.6 inches at the rear. The M6 will be the first M models to offer optional carbon fiber brakes.

The M Drive system can adjust six different key performance parameters: the engine management, the response of the Servotronic steering system, the M DCT shift program, the DSC mode, the responses of DDC and the information in the Head-Up Display. The desired settings can be configured in any combination via the iDrive menu or by using the M Drive select buttons on the center console.

Look for the BMW M6 Coupe and M6 Convertible to start reaching showrooms by mid-year.

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