Get used to that blinking yellowish-orange traction control light, because you’ll be seeing a lot of it in this heavyweight 2016 BMW M6 convertible. All the power in the world don’t mean a thing if you can put it down to the pavement.
The first M6 came to the states in the ‘80s, a play on the M635CSi sold overseas. We like our names a little simpler in this part of the world. At that point it was praised for its shark nose styling, a top speed of 158 mph and 256 hp, which was impressive at the time. In fairness to the time, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” was also considered “impressive.” This new M6--generation three—with 560 hp, would lap the old car several times over
But in today’s world of we-gotta-have-it-all, buyers want the biggest coupe, with the fastest engine and a convertible top, AND the automatic transmission. Boy you guys are needy. Thankfully this M6 does have it all, as long as you’re not looking for an enthusiast car.
The M6 convertible is like grand tourer with a little extra sport thrown in the mix. In its softest setting, the M6 is just barely soft enough for long journeys. Only the biggest potholes bang on the suspension, but even in that case, the convertible body alleviates some of the jarring hits. That’s unlike the M3, where even its softest setting is too stiff for all but the hardcore.
Like we said, power is hard to get to the pavement from a stop, but once you’re cruising this car will hit triple digits in no time, and with a surprisingly little amount of noise. Getting on to the expressway aggressively got me there quickly, I actually had to scrub some speed before the end of the ramp. As far as high horsepower applications go, this seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is one of the best. Shifts are literally imperceptible at medium speeds. It’s just a bit clunky at slow speeds, but I don’t think anyone has totally figured that out yet.
There aren’t many competitors for this car at this price point. The upcoming S-Class cabriolet falls in close but is more expensive, the Bentley Continental GTC is way more and Audi doesn’t really have a car in that segment. Maybe that’s a good thing for Bimmer? Who knows. Sales are down about 7 points from last year, but that’s over the full 6-Series range.
As an enthusiast, I wouldn’t buy the convertible. I’m also not sure a convertible buyer would spring for the M version of the 6, considering the 650i is cheaper, less taxing to operate and still pretty quick on the draw.
“It drives heavy too. I frankly expected more giddyup from the 4.4-liter, especially in the lower revs. Once up above, oh, 3,500 rpm or so it’s interesting, but below that, meh. Sure doesn’t feel like 560 hp to me. Not feelin’ the clunky trans either.”
- Wes Raynal, editor
“The result is a car that’s not really a smooth, cosseting luxury cruiser, but far from a track weapon. And that’s where I get lost.”
- Graham Kozak, associate editor
“Why are we all so perplexed by this car? Because we’re not dentists from Miami or cosmetic surgeons from Los Angeles, that’s why. They understand it perfectly. It’s not simply a portly, super-powered boulevard cruiser with a chassis for the track; it’s the most expensive convertible you can buy from BMW. Nobody’s buying a track day car here, what they’re buying is a big, comfortable cruiser with a convertible top and enough grunt to win the occasional stop-light drag and make ripping through a highway tunnel with the top down fun. It also alerts people to the fact that you make a very good living. That’s it, and that’s not entirely bad even if it isn’t my cup of tea.”
- Rory Carroll, content director
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