Of all the cars styled under the supervision of Chris Bangle, now the director of BMW Group design, this high-performance variation on the 6 Series coupe is the standout. Befitting the car’s ferocious 500-horsepower V-10 engine, the M6 has an aggressive appearance that is hulking but handsome.
if you put the M6 on a country road with challenging curves, its all-conquering ultra-performance character starts to make sense. The seats have supportive bolsters and the dashboard layout is straightforward. The car sticks to the road like tar and quickly exceeds legal speeds. Taking curves at three times the numbers posted on warning signs poses so little challenge you quickly lose interest in the exercise.
While you are dashing about, be sure you don’t stray far from a gas station. While the car carries a federal rating of 12 m.p.g. in town and 18 on the highway (and a gas guzzler tax of $3,000), this leadfoot’s mileage never topped 9.2 m.p.g. On premium.
Without question, the M6 is a high-speed luxury touring machine that will gobble up extreme distances with no fuss. And if BMW would only make it with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a conventional automatic, I’d say the car was worth every penny of its sticker, as was the delightful $82,440 650i coupe I drove later with a six-speed manual.
As it stands, the M6 is a brilliant exercise in chassis and engine design and an eye-catching demonstration of how striking BMW styling can be. But if you want to shift effortlessly, tune your radio or take a cup of coffee with you without having to think twice, there are cars costing a quarter as much that do a far better job.